A frequent question we get from newcomers considering keeping ducks is what drake to duck ratio can you have in a flock of ducks so that there aren’t too many squabbles amongst drakes or too much ‘attention’ given to the ducks during the breeding season.
Keeping too many drakes in a flock of ducks will cause too much competition over the females. During the breeding season, this can lead to squabbling amongst the drakes and over-mating with the ducks. This is a problem because as well as losing feathers from the backs of their necks (a good sign that over-mating is occurring), the ducks can be hurt by repeated mating, which can cause them injury or even death in extreme cases.
What drake to duck ratio should you have in your flock?
A ratio of 1 drake to every 5 ducks is about right for light breeds; however you can keep 1 drake with 1 duck, it should not hurt, keep an eye on the duck to make sure she isn’t losing too many feathers on the back of her neck/head when the drake grabs her to hold on during mating. It’s when there is more than one drake in a flock that over-mating and squabbling occurs.
If you have too many drakes and don’t want to reduce numbers, then it is better to keep a pen of drakes on their own during the breeding season from February through to September to be on the safe side.
During the winter
During the winter months, outside of the breeding season, the drake to duck ratio isn’t so important. They are generally easier to keep as a large mixed flock, and this can make life easier for you, too, during the cold weather. Drakes should get along and won’t be mating with the ducks outside of the breeding season.
When you are rearing ducklings, you don’t need to worry about the number of drakes; they should all get on fairly well. It’s only when the breeding season arrives and they start to squabble amongst themselves and pay attention to the ducks sexually.
There are more articles on raising ducks in the Keeping Ducks category.