A Broody Duck Turns Mean

Our newly broody Muscovy, Coraline, has always been a friendly, sweet-tempered duck. She’s the first to eat from your hand, and will just come by and hang around, even when she knows there are no treats to be had. We’ve never seen her pick on another of duck (unlike Pru), and she just seems to get along with everyone.

That is, until last night. After we got all the chickens into the coop – the teens seem to be getting the hang of it, but two roos were breaking curfew and had to be encouraged to go inside – we herded the ducks into their enclosure, per the standard procedure. We were not expecting a ruffled-up, hissing Coraline to rush out of the coop in attack mode. She chased the other ducks around, grabbing and pulling feathers. Panicked honking by her victims and general mayhem ensued. Even Ty ran away from her. Mother duck on the warpath!

Since she had taken over the coop and wasn’t letting any of the other ducks near her eggs (and they were only trying to go in for the night), we had to quickly figure out what to do. The ducks could not stay outside – too many predators – so we put them in the chicken coop for the night.

The ducks have been in the chicken coop on occasion to lay in the roomy nest boxes, so the adult chickens had seen them in there before – we weren’t sure how the teens would react, though. In the morning, the chickens all burst forth from the coop like they usually do, and the ducks calmly exited afterward. Aside from an extra-large duck splat on the ramp inside the coop, you wouldn’t have known ducks had been in there.

The ducks will be squatting in the chicken coop for the next couple of days until the new “broody” coop arrives. We ordered another recycled plastic one because they can be hosed out periodically – and the larger one has held up pretty well. Since Coraline is a mellow gal, we plan to relocate her and her nest into the smaller coop and bring the rest of the gang back to the main duck house at night. Sounds good in theory, but we’ll see how it works out.

Lesson learned: a broody duck will be incredibly territorial, even early on and with her own group. Give a broody her space!

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