It is often hard to tell the difference between male and female ducks. This may seem obvious, but before you can determine if it’s a male or female duck, you need to know what characteristics make each gender different from one another. In this blog post I will talk about the best methods how to sex ducklings and adult ducks.
Sexing Ducklings in the First Couple of Days
It is very important to find out if the ducklings are males or females when they are first born, in the first couple of days.
There are two ways of determining the sex of a day old duckling. The first one is by vent sexing and the second one is sexing by color.
Method 1: Vent Sexing Ducklings
The best way to identify what sex your duckling is, is by using vent sexing technique. However, you will need the right equipment for this.
Don’t worry you probably already have it at your home. It is light and magnifying glass.
Now, If you look carefully at the vent of a day old duckling, you should be able to see if it’s male or female.
Try to expose it gently and if something pops up it is a male (a male duckling will have a small bump at the end of its vent, that is its pen*s). On the other hand, if you are holding a female duckling, nothing will pops up.
So, if you find yourself trying to sex ducklings in their first few days of life, you should examine these parts first and then draw your conclusion on whether it is a boy or girl.
Warning: If you are not doing it properly, you risk putting stress on their organs when venting ducklings!
If you are sexing 50 ducklings today using this method and at the end you come up with 7 males and 43 females, you are probably doing it wrong. But don’t worry, learning how to sex a-day-old ducklings needs some time.
Once you are getting around 50% of your ducklings as males, then you can be sure that you are doing it right.
It can be very difficult to sex turkey poults for example, but soon you will realize that compared to turkeys, sexing ducklings is much easier.
Method 2: Sexing Ducklings Using Color Patterns
If you are trying to find out if your ducklings are males or females by using this method, then you will need to dive in and learn more about your duck breed.
Search thru the internet and visit various hatcheries online, you will find pictures of adult ducks of the breed of ducklings you have. You will get the idea what would be the difference between a male and a female duck once they are adults.
This way you can try to identify the coloring patterns of the plumage in the ducklings, once you know how they look like as adults. That is a very good indicator, however it is not 100% accurate as the vent sexing.
5 Methods How to Sex Adult Ducks
If the ducklings are almost identical in color and if you aren’t comfortable to sex ducklings using vent sexing technique, wait until the ducks turn 6-8 weeks of age.
Method 1: Identifying coloration
The easiest way to tell the difference between male and female ducks is determining their coloration. Younger ducklings are sometimes difficult to sex because they do not have a lot of markings yet.
Ducks can be identified as male or female by their coloring alone, but not every marking will differentiate them from one another.
Male ducks famously develop bright coloration in their feathers during mating season. However after the mating season these bright feathers will fall of.
Female ducks lack the vibrant markings that male ducks have, but they are not entirely bland. You can tell a female duck by her coloring and also her plump body frame.
Method 2: Look at the duck’s size
Another way to tell male vs female duck is by looking at their size. Most ducks breed males will most likely be larger than a female duck from the same breed.
It is very difficult to determine the gender of any bird or animal based solely on their size. However in the case of ducks, males and females have different body frames.
Male ducks have bigger and ticker legs between 6 and 8 weeks of age.
Method 3: Look at their sex feathers
Another way to tell the difference between male and female ducks is by taking a close look at their feathers. A good method you can use for this is looking at the tail feathers.
In male ducks you will notice that some of the tail feathers have curled ends on them. These special curls are called sex feathers and they are visible only after male ducks reach sexual maturity. This is between 2 and 4 months of age.
In ducklings that have not reached at least 2 months, you will not be able to see the sex feathers on their tails.
Method 4: Observe behavior in female ducks
One way to tell the difference between male and female ducks is by observing their behavior towards other animals or objects.
Male ducks will be attracted to any object that is considered pretty in their eyes. An example of this would be a shiny ornament or an open car door, especially if there is a spotlight shining on it.
Female ducks are much more subdued than males and they tend to act shy more often as well.
Method 5: Listen to a duck’s quack.
When you listen to the quacks of a male vs female duck, you will notice that male ducks make soft and rough calls. The pitch in their note is lower than with a male duck.
Male ducks tend to use shorter more rough notes, whereas female ducks talk (quack) longer and faster. Do I see similarities to human language patterns? 🙂
People often go to stores and buy a duckling without knowing how to tell if it’s a male or female. I have shown you how to figure out the sex of a duckling. The next time you are in your local hatchery use these tips to find out!
It is often said that one can get more eggs from the females than from the males 🙂
If you want only eggs, then do not keep any male ducks as flock members. If you want to have ducklings, you will need a male drake.
Read also: How to sex guineafowls