How many male ducks is too many?

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6 years 1 month ago - 6 years 1 month ago #522051 by Farm_mama
Hi all, we have a few quick questions about males.... We have 6 muscovys (2 males), 6 pekins (3 males) and 6 female khakis.

The first question is - will the males interbreed with each other? For example, will the Muscovy males breed with the pekin females? Is this desirable or problematic since we have them all running free range together.

The second question is - do we have too high a male to female ratio if our goal is to breed up the flock for both egg and meat production?

Thanks in advance!
Last edit: 6 years 1 month ago by Farm_mama.

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6 years 1 month ago - 6 years 1 month ago #522055 by Stikkibeek
Muscovy drakes will mate with the pekins, but as they, (muscovy) are more goose than duck, they will not be likely to produce any crossbred offspring.
You may well get a fair bit of fighting though between all the males so if you are breeding for meat, then I suggest you start by reducing the male population. The females will thank you for it.
I don't know if khakis will cross with pekins, but they will cross with wild mallard which will make any off spring likely to fly away.

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S
Last edit: 6 years 1 month ago by Stikkibeek.

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6 years 1 month ago #522056 by Furball
Hello there.
First question - The males will not interbreed with "each other", being males, but they will mate with females not of their own species. So a male muscovy will mate with female pekins or khakis or other mallard-species-based breeds, and a male pekin will mate with female muscovies. The resultant offspring of both types of mating are sterile crosses, which may be OK if you are planning to raise them for meat, but the males of such crosses will not grow as large as a pure muscovy drake, so you will not get optimally large meat birds from such a cross.

Second question - Yes you have too many males.
-- One muscovy male is easily able to service 3-6 muscovy females and they can be very hard on the females, so there is no reason to have more than one. Two muscovy males will fight each other over females and mate your females into the ground.
-- Mallard-species males (the pekins) can gang-rape females, to their detriment, and pekins are bigger than khakis so will be harder on them than a khaki drake. 1-2 pekin males would be ample for your 6 khakis assuming the muscovy male is kept completely excluded from them. However, I am not sure why you have pekin males? If you are breeding to replace your egglayers you should get a khaki male for the khaki females. The ducklings would be pure khaki, which would be much better egglayers than pekin/khaki crosses. If you're not breeding laying replacements then the khaki ducks will lay just fine without any drakes around at all. So you could get rid of all the males except for 1 muscovy and do just fine. This would also reduce your feed bill : - )

Note that muscovies are rubbish egglayers in terms of productivity, but the eggs do taste nicer (to my mind).
Hope this helps.

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6 years 1 month ago #522063 by Farm_mama
Thanks for the replies guys, this might be an obvious question - but if we have 3 different breeds of ducks and don't want to cross breed would it be better to seperate them or does it not make a difference?

Thanks!

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6 years 1 month ago #522067 by Furball
If you don't want crossbreeding to occur, set up 3 pens, one with all your muscovies in, one with all your pekins in and one with all your khakis in. Make 100% sure that ducks and drakes can neither get in or out, and then you can be confident you will be getting the right offspring.
Muscovies in particular can be very ingenious in pursuit of love - I have seen wing-clipped ones go up and over quite high mesh netting fences using their beak and feet alone, like a climbing parrot, so don't assume your pens are escape-proof until you've seen so for yourself.

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