Duck Tape

This isn’t really about duck tape (not even duct tape). This is about duck rape. I just didn’t want to use that “r” word all over this blog post. I have a feeling search engines will allocate this blog post (or even the entire blog) into that category of No Return. So, when I talk about duck tape, you know what I mean. ūüėČ

ducktape1

One morning, while feeding the ducks, I saw this (above photo) under the house. On the left is a coconut tree stump that ducks use as a nest. Penny covered it with a sack and some pieces of wood for privacy. On the right is a dead duck hen.

I investigated the scene and made the conclusion that this duck hen — mother of 6 eggs in that stump — was a victim of duck tape. Judging from the flattened appearance of the duck hen, I’m not going to assume she was run over by a steamroller. She was run over by a mad drake.

ducktape2

 

The first time we encountered something like this was in early 2015. In Do Ducks Know How to Grieve, we actually saw a drake mating with a duck hen and it didn’t look very nice. We assumed it was alright but we were wrong. We culled the drake that killed the hen.

But this time, we ave absolutely no idea who the tapist was. There are two suspects: Daddy Duck and Daffy Duck.

Anyway, tape is supposedly not as common amongst Muscovies¬†as it is¬†amongst¬†mallards. With that, I consider ourselves¬†quite lucky to have only two fatalities in the two years we’ve been breeding ducks. We also cull drakes (they are large and meaty!) to avert violence.

To learn more about this, the following links are provided:

Female Ducks fight back
Some female ducks and geese have evolved complex genitalia to thwart unwelcome mating attempts, according to a new study.

Ducks Are After You
Ducks have a mating ritual scientifically known as “rape flight”, which can involve multiple drakes attacking a single lady-duck, often drowning or pecking her to death. Ducks are not nice.

Man Accused of Taping Duck
A man in Turkey is being accused by his in-laws of an ugly crime.

PS. We transferred the orphan  eggs to another nest and the amazing duck hen hatched out all 17 eggs!

Do Ducks Know How to Grieve?

Or as we humans define it, “feel intense sorrow”?

In early 2015, I saw the oldest drake in a group of about 15 ducks forcibly mating with a female duck of about the same age. I have read in various literature on ducks that the mating behaviour of ducks can be quite violent. So I assumed, despite the distressful appearance of the female duck, that what was happening was quite normal, just the way of nature. Besides, the ducks are free-range, so ducks can flee when they are threatened by other ducks.

deadduck

Unfortunately, in just a matter of minutes, I saw the female duck lying dead on the ground and the drake walking away. It was horrifying! I couldn’t believe it. I felt sorry and upset that I was wrong in thinking that the female duck would be alright.

A small group of ducks begin to gather near the dead one.
A small group of ducks begin to gather near the dead one.

Then some five minutes later, I saw a group of ducks converge near the dead duck. The female ducks were the first to gather, followed by the second (younger) drake. Soon, the ducks positioned themselves near the dead duck, looking on as if they were grieving.

A most curious behaviour of ducks gather near the dead duck, looking on, as if grieving.
A most curious behaviour of ducks gather near the dead duck, looking on, as if grieving.

This went on for about fifteen minutes until the older drake, the culprit, arrived. The other ducks looked at him.

The culprit arrives (encircled in the photo) and the others take notice.
The culprit arrives (encircled in the photo) and the others take notice.

Twenty minutes had passed when the young drake began to confront the older drake, causing the other ducks to slowly disperse.

The younger drake confronts the culprit and the group begins to disperse.
The younger drake confronts the culprit and the group begins to disperse.

That same day, I decided that we must cull the older drake. With him around, there had been constant fighting and forceful mating. Such behaviour not only distress the ducks but have also killed younger ducks that got caught in the fight. This decision to cull turned out to be a very good decision.

At the moment, we have two drakes that service some 10 female ducks. The two drakes also get along very well with each other, the older teaching the younger one about mating and looking after the females. It is necessary to cull in order to stop unnecessary stress in the duck population.