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 Post subject: Ducks changing sex!
PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 4:23 pm 
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Hi,
I have a flock of 22 ducks and drakes.Various breeds including Khaki Campbell, Appleyard, Indian runners and Swedish.I know I have too many drakes, but once they hatch and get names they are just too hard to sell. I had 12 ducks and 10 drakes.

Last year one of my ducks decided to change sex (at 5 years of age). She developed a tail curl and developed drake colouring. Her quack has even changed. I KNOW this duck is a girl because I have 2 of her daughters.

The problem is one of her daughters (now 4 years old) has decided to change as well. She has developed a tail curl and is taking on drake plumage.

Can anyone tell my why????

I am wondering if it is because I have too many drakes and the girls are getting sick of the boys constantly annoying them?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Thanks,
JB.


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 Post subject: Re: Ducks changing sex!
PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:49 am 
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Golden Kingfisher
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Hi JB,

Female birds can take on the characteristics of a male - male behaviour and male appearance and perhaps stopping laying. They don't actually become sexually male, in that they don't become able to 'father' offspring.

In search of the explanation I did some Googling and apparently it's all to do with which ovary is active. Here is a quote from a newspaper article (in The Guardian):

"But have they undergone an actual sexual transformation, or are they just hens in cocks' clothing? "The crude mechanics of it are that every hen bird has two ovaries, one is big and functional and the other is benign, and the benign one develops testosterone," explains Taylor. Accordingly, the hen acquires the physical characteristics of a cockerel. The British Poultry Council says the same change can also occur if the active ovary is damaged and the hen begins to rely on her reserve ovary. "This can either be due to an imbalance in oestrogen or something that has promoted testosterone. But, although a hen may take on the secondary sexual characteristics of a cockerel, it will not develop the primary sexual organs."




Here is the link to the article http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,1757089,00.html

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 Post subject: Re: Ducks changing sex!
PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:55 am 
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Golden Kingfisher
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And, to complicate matters, here is another article on the determination of sex in poultry : http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100310/full/news.2010.114.html

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 Post subject: Re: Ducks changing sex!
PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:29 am 
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Discerning Duck
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Quote:
I am wondering if it is because I have too many drakes and the girls are getting sick of the boys constantly annoying them?


I'm afraid I can't give any more advice toward why your ducks are changing. I couldn't help but think that means you basically have 10 drakes to 10 ducks now. I definitely think your ducks would be living a harrassed and stressed life with this many drakes. Generally the recommended ratio is at least 3 ducks for each drake because they can be quite hard on ducks.

It the same problem everyone has, we all love everything which hatches, but sometimes for the good of your poultry you have to make a decision on which find new homes and which stay. It's hard for us but benefits them. They are forced to live whatever life we choose for them, and I think we have a responsibility to make it as stress free as we can. Sorry if that sounds too harsh.

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A mixed bag of lovely backyard ducks and chooks.


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 Post subject: Re: Ducks changing sex!
PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:35 am 
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Wise Wyandotte
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It happens fairly often and has been described to me a though they go through menopause.

The strain of black east indians my birds came from do it frequently, including some that have not laid.

Honk

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 Post subject: Re: Ducks changing sex!
PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:06 am 
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Thanks for the advice - a very interesting article Rach!

I will need to adjust my girl/boy ratio, which I was aware of, but asked the question because I wondered if anyone else had experienced this.

And yes, I now consider my flock at 10 boys, 10 girls and 2 confused! Funny enough when I locked up the girls into the laying area last night, the 2 confused stayed out with the boys!

JB


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 Post subject: Re: Ducks changing sex!
PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:30 am 
I
Roova wrote:
Quote:
I


I'm afraid I can't give any more advice toward why your ducks are changing. I couldn't help but think that means you basically have 10 drakes to 10 ducks now. I definitely think your ducks would be living a harrassed and stressed life with this many drakes. Generally the recommended ratio is at least 3 ducks for each drake because they can be quite hard on ducks.

It the same problem everyone has, we all love everything which hatches, but sometimes for the good of your poultry you have to make a decision on which find new homes and which stay. It's hard for us but benefits them. They are forced to live whatever life we choose for them, and I think we have a responsibility to make it as stress free as we can. Sorry if that sounds too harsh.



i m with Roova on this one :claps:


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 Post subject: Re: Ducks changing sex!
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2019 5:32 pm 
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Hatchling
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Location: Healesville, Victoria
The hormone thing is reversed in ducks. Something about a Z and W chromosome.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-40016817

Researched this after seeing my two girls, who have grown up together, getting it together! :shock: They're going to be two this year. Meatball likes to float around in the pond very passively with her neck outstreched and repeats a monotonous monotonal low sound kinda like an emu... then after a minute Regina hops on like Meatballs a surfboard etc. It's a bit Mills and Boonish :duck2
They're both happy and healthy, spoilt girls, so I am happy for the both of them, too! Seeing as they're different breeds and are my only ducks, and findin their distinct eggs in their nest last laying season, makes you wonder what mysteries of nature have yet to be revealed!


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