While most ducks of the mallard variety are very peaceful, many duck owners have had to deal with an aggressive Muscovy drake. These ducks are large, and the males are sometimes not as friendly as other breeds. When you do encounter a territorial drake, it’s important to teach him how to behave.
My wife recently had to deal with our largest Muscovy drake, Donald. He’s easily 15 lbs (7 kg) and a mean one at that. We do love him. He’s a great protector of his ladies, and we want to keep him for joy and breeding ducklings. But we also don’t want him to act aggressively towards people.
When looking for solutions, online and in books, there are many suggestions of dealing with an aggressive suck, including giving them more space in their home or handing out treats. These are good things to do, but they don’t solve the central issue of the drakes’ aggression.
In general, it’s important to show confidence and mimic how ducks dominate each other. If a duck gets too aggressive or starts trying to hurt you, pin them down and hold them down until they stop struggling before letting them go again.
In this article, I will explain this one simple thing that has worked for us. It’s easy to implement and can be done in just a few minutes.
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Why Do Some Drakes Act Aggressive?
Drakes are vehement about protecting their females and territory. If they feel that you pose a threat, they may become aggressive, but that is probably not why they act aggressively towards their caretakers. They know you don’t pose a threat because you probably never hurt them.
Your drake is most likely acting aggressively towards you because he thinks you pose a threat to his position in the hierarchy. And he wants to dominate you to maintain that position.
No matter how much space and how many treats you give him, he will not stop acting aggressively. It may keep him occupied elsewhere, but it won’t fix the underlying issue until he understands and accept that you are higher up in the hierarchy. But how do you do this?
1. Stand Your Ground
Always show the drake that you are not intimidated by his behavior. He will test you, so see if you show submission by running off. And every time he tries to dominate you, you continue doing what you were doing in a calm and confident manner.
If the drake doesn’t move and still shows aggressive behavior, push him with your feet. Don’t kick, just a firm push to make him move. It usually won’t take long for him to understand that you’re not going to put up with his behavior.
He may try to test you by trying to look bigger and hissing at you. If you are undeterred, he will most likely waddle out of your way. After a few times of this, he will stop trying to intimidate you.
2. Pin Him Down
If your duck still doesn’t move and continues the aggressive behavior, do what drakes do to each other: Pin him down. “Sit” lightly on him and hold his head to the ground. Then let go after about a minute.
Did the aggression stop?
If not, do the same again, now for a longer time.
This is what my wife did after she had observed male ducks dominating each other. She had to do it a few times before he got the point, but he did learn. He almost looked embarrassed about being dominated, and then he stopped the aggression towards her.
While this does work very effectively, it only comes to that if you have already shown fear. And that brings us to the next part.
3. Be The Boss
Showing confidence is key to dealing with drakes. If you show submission, he will only be encouraged.
While our drake could scare my wife away, he would always get out of the way of my youngest son. This 3-year old boy shows no fear – he just approaches the hissing duck, who then turns around and angrily waddles away. Of course, I always stay nearby but never had to interfere.
The thing is, my son shows no fear at all. And while he’s just over 3 feet tall and weighs about the same and the drake, to a duck, he’s still a giant that you don’t want to mess with.
Remember That You Are Much Larger
An angry duck may seem scary because that’s exactly why they are trying to do. But they are not dangerous.
An angry duck is not like an angry rooster. They don’t have spores, they can’t jump on you, and they can’t even peck you very hard. They are basically harmless.
Okay, you don’t want to kneel next to him and expose your face, and you may want to wear long pants, but within reason, you are pretty much invincible against a duck.
As long as you don’t let them intimidate you, you will both be fine.