Mon 14 Jan, 2019 01:20 am
I don't really know much about ducks in general and Groucho Marx isn't available, so I thought I'd ask here. Probably some of you have more experience on farms or with animals unfamiliar to me.
Tonks the big white Muscovy duck has been living with us for some time now. He landed on our front steps about 2 years ago, and waddled down the steps to the level below the road (I followed the white duck poo every few steps all the way down and around the house to our backyard). We are built on a steep bank on the top of which is the road, level with the living quarters of our home. We have a karate dojo and a large lounge on the bottom (ground) level, one level below the road level.
Anyway, he made his home in the bamboo thicket adjacent to our home. Every day he waddles out to eat uncooked oatmeal I leave for him in a bowl in a screened area of the yard, next to a huge basin of water that holds about 40 gallons of fresh water, which I change daily. He eats happily, drinking water between bites, then after about 20 or 30 minutes he goes "home", deep within the bamboo forest. I never went to find his "home", as it might upset the balance of his life and make him leave (if he feels unsafe).
This past week, he's been behaving strangely...
He comes out of the thicket to eat every day, but as soon as he's free of the thicket, he flies to the food area, postures and preens, bobs his head up and down, marches back and forth around the food bowl and basin, extends and flaps his wings fairly often, wiggles his tail quite often, then stops and stares for minutes at a time at nothing in particular. He used to bathe in the basin (it's quite big and deep enough) maybe twice a week, but now it's 2 or 3 times each time he's there for food.
He eats OK, then suddenly jumps like he's been touched or startled, then flaps his wings again (really beautiful display of pure white feathers and powerful muscles), then struts around again, then finally he settles down as if sitting on a nest, and just ... nothing. Occasionally preens a feather or two, but mostly just sits on the ground, and looks (waits?).
This whole performance takes place over the space of about 3 or 4 hours now. He just hangs out in his feeding area.
He makes no noise other than splashing water or the sound of his wings flapping, so he's not sending any audible messages.
The cats stay FAR away from him. They's seen his wingspan and while it fascinates them to watch (from a distance), it quite frightens them away. Plus he's way too big. they just accept that he's part of the daily landscape and leave it at that.
So I wonder -- I read that Muscovy females are smaller than the male, and I wonder if Tonks might be a female -- the the male must be huge, like a swan or a goose...! But if Tonks is male, is he doing a mating-attraction dance, having (maybe) just reached full maturity?
I have never seen another duck anywhere near the house... Who might the be trying to attract?
Do I need to take my duck to see a (quack) psychiatrist...?
I'm going with mating display, even if you don't see the lucky lady.
Stay away from quacks. I'm betting he will not be receptive.
flip it over and bend the tail toward its head, the anal vent will contain a visible penis as you spread it. If you dont feel comforatble doing this, DONT, you can hurt the duck .
Most male ducks are bigger in the feet and in th head . We only briefly had muscovies and guinea fowl (they would fly up and sit in the trees and rain **** down . So vee ate zem!!! Weve had India running ducks (they look like black bowling pins that are always late for a meeting). mallards, some mergansers (these are soma the coolst looking ducks). Weve had geese peacocks an many blck swans in the ponds, but if you hve kids, geese think the kids are lower on their pecking order and they often will size you up. Geese can be men bastards . So can swans with lil cygnets, I really believe a swan can kill ya if youre a stranger getting too close to thir kids.
MAle ducks,(xcovies, geese, mergansers, blues) by being bigger, usually have neater wattles> The color is often iridescent and I think they have kinda Barry White quacks, kinda soft and soulful.
Females make rckets , quack quack quack quack. Wont shut up. Wed never eat a drake , never.
Heres a small herd of Inja Running Ducks. Dont they look like bowling pins?
If I get the chance, I'll give it a pass.
It would be difficult to get that close, let alone that "friendly"... He's still rather wild and I can't get closer than a 2 or 3 meters from him (or her). It took 2 years just to be able to go out and fill his food bowl while he moves away and watches me suspiciously from a distance. It is an improvement, he used to just hurriedly leave the yard for the rest of the day if he even saw a human.
To compare whether his head and feet are bigger than the female, I would have to see a female. We have seen no other ducks here.
I guess we'll just wait and see how things develop.
To be honest, when I first saw this new behavior I thought he might be ill. My concerns were "How do I get him to a vet if I can't get near him, without trapping and frightening him to death?"
And second, "Where do I find a vet that will see to a duck...?"
But now I see that he's healthy, just ... acting weird. Like a teenager with a mirror and a great deal of imagination...
Preening, posturing, dancing alone, taking lots of cold baths, and sticking close to a food source...
Why not ask?
Though he may duck the answer. Check the quack.
that's enuff of that. Im trying to enjoy a post prandial beverage here.
It's been two weeks since I've seen Tonks. I'm pretty sure he hasn't been around because only the pigeons are eating the oatmeal, and his water basin has been clean for two weeks (I usually find some oatmeal and a few feathers in it from his bath, and have to clean the basin every day).
If he is a he, he may have found a mate and been lured to some safer nesting area away from the cats. If he is a she, she may have mated and is busy tending the eggs. Or a neighbor may have had a free duck dinner recently, not knowing that Tonks is sort of a "pet"...
I'll post if there is any change.