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Can Ducks Change Gender? (All You Need to Know)

As a duck lover, you might notice some interesting facts about your duck. If you take care of the ducks for years, you will get some interesting stories about them. Ducks have some unique characteristics that you will not find in any other birds.

Today, we are going to show you some weird yet interesting facts about the duck, including their male and female characteristics and gender. Keep on reading to know more about your duck, and be ready to get surprised.

Can ducks change gender?

Ducks can change gender from female to male. Female ducks have one functional ovary. When female ducks lose it for infection or damage, then their gender starts to change. Before that, they go through a transition period where they face both hormonal and physical changes.

Changing the gender is not an overnight job for any duck. It takes time. Also, it’s not the duck’s will to change the gender. Only if a female duck gets injured and loses its ovary, then there is a chance to change the gender.

Losing an ovary is the first and foremost condition for a female duck to change its gender. But it is not good news for a duck. In most cases, ducks lose their ovaries due to some severe infection. That can lead to life loss as well.

After losing the ovary, the duck will go through a transitioning period to face two changes. Hormonal Change comes first. And then comes the Physical Change.

Due to hormonal change, a female duck starts to behave like a male one. And then the physical change helps a duck to act and look like drakes (A male duck is called Drake)

Why do ducks change gender?

Ducks change gender only when they get infected and lose the significant ovary. In general, ducks have one functional ovary and an oviduct. Functional ovary is the place where the female ducks put all their eggs. And the oviduct is an extra part. It doesn’t work at all.

Sometimes the functional ovary gets damaged and loses its functionality. Then the transition period starts, and the female duck turns into a male one eventually.

Ducks are usually born with the male gender. Z and W are the gender chromosomes for the birds as well as the ducks. So the presence of W chromosomes makes a duck female. But whether it is a male or female, it must contain the Z chromosomes. Therefore, it will be ZZ for a male duck. In general, ducks are born with default male chromosomes.

Do Pekin ducks and Mallard ducks change gender?

Pekin ducks and Mallard ducks can change their genders. Only the female can change their gender into a male. But Mallard ducks are found to change their gender more frequently than Pekin ducks.

Any species of duck has the ability to change gender from female to male. But it’s not a routine task for them. They cannot change their genders at their will.

If the female ducks face ovary infection and lose the functional ovary, only then the gender starts to change through a transitioning period.

Can ducks change gender from male to female?

No, ducks cannot change gender from male to female. Only the female ducks can do it with one functional ovary that bears all the eggs. If it faces any injury or is infected through a virus, the female duck loses the functional ovary. Eventually, it turns toward a drake.

Male ducks cannot change their genders. As they don’t have any functional ovary to produce eggs and Z chromosomes, male ducks cannot change their genders from male to female. They will get hurt if they face any injury, but there is no way to convert a drake to a female duck.

How to tell your ducklings’ gender?

To tell your duckling’s gender, you need to observe some physical structure and behavior of your ducks. Here the sound makes the thing easier.

By listening to your duckling’s voice, you can quickly identify the gender. Keep reading to know how you can tell your duckling’s gender for a Pekin and Mallard duck.

Mallard duckling:

Mallard is the cutest duck species that is also known as the dabbling duck. The term dabbling refers to their eating habit. Basically, at the time of floating on the water, Mallard ducks feed. Also, they grab the insects from the underwater.

You can identify their gender by their eyeline. For females, the eyeline will be less prominent. And it becomes sharp black for the male. Thus you can locate your Mallard duckling’s gender.

Pekin Ducklings:

Pekin is an American domestic duck. Most of the time, people raise them for meat. However, identifying the gender of your Pekin is not a difficult task.

By hearing the sound of your Pekin duck, you can tell your Pekin gender.

In general, the female voice and quack are louder than the male ones. Female Pekin has a loud honk, whereas the male comes with a quieter quack. Also, the male drake comes with a curled feather tail.

Are female or male ducks bigger?

Mostly, the male ducks are slightly more significant than the female ducks. You rarely find the female ducks heavier than the male ducks.

First of all, the head and neck of a male duck are more extensive and heavier. At the same time, a male duck comes with an extended organ.

On the other hand, the female duck has a cone-shaped organ lighter than the male organ. It is the main reason why the female duck comes with less weight than the male.

Are male or female ducks better pets?

Male ducks are better pets. Male ducks are better in terms of the noise. Usually, female ducks produce louder quacks than males. If you love the duck quacks, you can go for a female duck as well.

Keep in mind that ducks love to live together. If you plan to get a duck as your pet, make sure you get both male and female ducks and make a pair of them. They will be your best pet as well.

Do female ducks always lay eggs?

Female ducks always lay eggs without mating the males. Ducks are better than a hen in egg-laying.

You will get your duck’s egg every day through the winter too. But the female ducks will not hatch the eggs. They need their male to mate, and then they will hatch the eggs sitting on them.

Female ducks are well known for year-round egg layers. They don’t stop laying eggs unless they get hurt or injured. You need to take care of them if they are sick.

You can get some medicines as well. If you find your ducks don’t lay eggs for a couple of days, check their health. Be sure they are not affected by any virus or get injured.

Can male ducks or drakes lay eggs?

Male ducks cannot lay eggs. They are born with a single ovary, while the female duck has one functional ovary and an oviduct. The functional ovary is the place where the ducks put their eggs and bear them. 

An interesting fact is that the female ducks don’t need the male ducks to lay eggs. Birds have the natural power to lay eggs without mating with their male partner.

How many ducks should live together?

2 ducks should live together at a minimum. Ducks need a partner to live happily. It would be best if you made a pair of them. And allow them to spend quality time. 

You might want to spend your day with your pet duck, but you are a human being, and a duck is a bird.

However, you can keep more than two ducks. And it’s easy to keep them together. They are friendly and love to live together.

How many female ducks should you have per male duck?

You should have 4 female ducks per male duck. If you are planning to have many ducks, you can keep 4-6 female ducks for every male duck. 

On the other hand, if you look to have ducks as a pet, you can have one drake and one female duck. They will live happily. Just avoid having a single duck; ducks love to live with their pairs.

Apart from that, ducks can lay eggs without their male partner. So, if you are planning to have eggs, you don’t want to have male ducks. Your female ducks can do the job perfectly.

Final Thoughts

Ducks have the natural ability to change their gender from female to male. Female ducks need to go through both hormonal and physical changes to be male ones. At first, the female ducks must lose their functional ovary. Then they go through a transition period. Thus, they change their gender.