Contrary to popular belief, raising ducks as pets and snuggly friends is possible and not always for their eggs and meat. These cute birds are incredibly friendly, intelligent, low care, and fun to have around.
If you’ve ever contemplated raising one for the company but don’t know where to start, this guide is for you. We offer insight into adequately raising and caring for ducks as pets to make your moments together more fun and engaging.
Duck-raising Quick Facts
- Ducks are incredibly sociable and thrive in twos or more.
- Ducks aren’t fit for the indoors since they love to explore. Besides, they have no control over their bowels, so please keep them outside!
- Ducks are hardy and adaptable to every weather condition.
- Ducks may not necessarily need a pond to swim, but having one for them is more prudent.
- Ducks have no nagging smell like chicken, so don’t worry about foul odors at home.
Getting A Pet Duck: The Best Duck Breeds To Go For
Before getting a duck for a pet, please remember that not all ducks are friendly, but only a few find it fun being in the company of humans. Most wild duck breeds are a no-no for domestication, and despite picking them from the wild at a tender age, their aggressive instincts will eventually show up. Some can be too loud to live near humans, and others can even flee your property when they feel threatened, never to be seen again.
Before getting a duck, you might want to hover over to shelters to find any that need your much-needed care. If not, please get one on purchase. A few tamable breeds exist, and some make the best pets, including the following:
These ducks are believed to be native to North America, although that’s entirely unverifiable so far. However, they’re docile and easy to keep as pets, incredibly hardy and flightless. They have black glossy feathers and a shinned green neck and can be perfect ornamental birds. Above all, they’re a breeze to keep as pets and savor every moment with you.
These ducks are also easy to domesticate and do well around humans. Better still, they can make the best pets and snuggly friends since they’re naturally friendly and gentle. They’re stunning with their white feathers and yellowy bills. But for the spoilers, this duck breed can be somewhat loud. So, if you don’t enjoy their loud, frequent quacking, please reconsider your options.
Seemingly more or less like the Pekin ducks, Call ducks are direct descendants of mallards and can be quacky. Their bills are shorter than Pekin ducks but have similar white feathers as the latter. However, other color variants exist, including apricot, silver, blue fawn, and magpie. These ducks warm up to humans and love getting patted and lifted, especially when young. So, no doubt they’ll make the best pets.
Other more tamable and friendly ducks with all the kicks of being ideal pets include Mallards, Rouen ducks and Muscovy ducks. Also, Indian Runner ducks are fit for pets and perhaps the most intelligent since they can even recognize their owner’s voices.
What to Know Before Getting Your Pet Duck
Ducks can make excellent pets since they’re fun-loving and have an active temperament to create tender moments. But, at least, a little reality check about these birds will offer insight on giving them better care and be able to deal with all unpleasant – or pleasant – surprises. Here’s everything you need to be aware of about raising ducks:
Ducks don’t find it bothering living with other pets in your home and won’t be startled by their existence. They peacefully coexist with virtually every animal as long as they aren’t aggressive or unruly. However, the only best way to integrate every new pet with the rest is to bring them in when young, so it ingrains in their little brains that they have a few partners at home.
Unlike other pets like cats and dogs, ducks have ZERO CONTROL of their bowels and can be messy. That’s why you shouldn’t keep them indoors, especially where you live. They can spot your floors with their droppings and cause an aggravating mess. So, if you figured them as indoor pets, please shrug that thought off since these birds are nothing close!
Behavior and Temperament
Ducks can be noisy, but not all breeds are. Duck breeds like Mallards and Pekin ducks can be too loud, especially during mating stages. Also, most female ducks are habitually noisy, can be unideal for urban homes, and likely bend your neighbors out of shape. You can, however, resort to keeping more docile and reserved breeds like Cayuga ducks, call ducks, and Rouen ducks, among others.
Ducks are sociable birds, and raising a single one can be daunting. They love the company of their kinds more, and pairing them can be ideal. You can keep a sizeable flock for companionship to help them thrive.
Caring for a Pet Duck
Ducks aren’t so demanding since they’re low care and won’t make you sweat. However, a few things should check out right if you want them to thrive. Here are the essential care requirements for your pet duck.
Ducks feed on almost anything edible to humans, and since they don’t possess taste buds, they’d hardly throw any tantrums due to particular food dislikes. However, you must avoid giving them starchy foods like bread, pizzas, and pasta since it messes with their digestive systems.
Ducklings thrive on starter feeds mainly containing niacin to improve their neurological health.
These birds usually like a bit of green like lettuces and kales and a bit of protein from tiny fish, snails, and slugs. Ducks feed on various grains, seeds, and fruits and aren’t so picky. You may also resort to giving them processed feeds and a few duck treats if you can put your hands on some.
Ducks thrive on clean drinking water, far from the widespread belief that dirty water is okay for them. Ducks can give you a good headache, especially if they wade in their water-drinking bowls with muddy feet. So, it’d help if you remained keener, replacing them frequently to keep their drinking water healthy and safe.
Treatment and Preventative Care
Unlike most pets, ducks are incredibly hardy and aren’t susceptible to diseases or ailments. Perhaps their immune systems may get a ride for their money and give in to diseases from time to time. However, these birds have an uncanny ability to wade them off and recover quickly.
Regardless, you should subscribe them to preventative vet care for ongoing assessments and eliminate any chance of falling ill.
While your home may feel secure for your birdy friends, you might need not overlook their safety. Especially so, ensure that the other pets at home, mainly your canines, don’t sneak on your ducklings and attack them. Therefore, always keep ducklings under your keen watch and secure them in their sheds even for the short whiles you aren’t around.
Far from common belief, ducks don’t necessarily need ponds to be happy. But given that it’s naturally built in their intuition, creating a few pools and ponds can be therapeutic and complement their lively temperaments. Ponds also help them groom and stay clean, so it won’t bite having a sizeable water pool with sufficient space.
Ducks are brilliant and can pick up commands and instructions. But ducks being birds, live their lives unrestricted. So don’t be surprised if they revert to trusting their instincts more than following your commands. Hand-trained Call ducks and Cayuga ducks can even recognize their owner’s voices, but that requires coaching from a tender age.
You’d probably hear that it’s possible to potty-train your duck, but that’s completely misguided. As mentioned, ducks have no total control of their bowels since they lack a sphincter. They just let their loads out as they please, and there’s no way to regulate that. That makes them unsuitable for the indoors since they’re bound to make a mess.
Ducks need more secure housing since they may freeze when attacked by predators if they don’t get the chance to fly away. That makes them easy prey, and the least you’d want is not to see your lovely birdy pet forever.
Besides, ducks don’t fancy direct sunlight nor enjoy tight spaces since they love to explore. Also, it’s prudent to avoid setting up their pens in the direct wind since that stresses them a lot. So, here’s what you should do as far as duck housing is concerned.
- Set up a sizeable pen with sufficient spaces measuring at least 2 by 3 feet. You may proportionally increase this size depending on the number of duck pets you’re keeping.
- Keep the shelter minimal. Let your ducks decide when to get out and in unconstrained.
- Bed the pen with clean wood shaving or straw. That gives them extra cushioning for their comfort.
- You may want to insulate the house. Insulation protects your pet ducks from the cold, keeping them comfortable.
- Keep the openings facing away from the winds. Ducks are sensitive to the cold, and sturdy winds can risk their health.
- If possible, fence the pen. You may fence the enclosure for extra protection from predators. Especially so, it protects the ducklings better since they don’t have a well-developed flight prowess.
Does Keeping Ducks as Pets Suit You?
Keeping ducks for pets isn’t challenging, and you can raise them if you’re comfortable with their company. Ducks are low care and won’t dent your pockets with the extra costs in feeds or take much of your time tending to them. If you can guarantee their safety and a little attention, please include them in your home.
An essential reason for keeping a pet at home is to add an extra spark around, and if ducks seemingly offer precisely that, then please find one and give it the care it needs!
Do Pet Ducks Fly Away?
Pet ducks do fly away, but the good news is that not all will. Mallards are intuitively wild and can fly away if their instinct kicks in. They will most likely return. But, that’s better left to chance since a vast majority of them would settle elsewhere where the grass is greener.
How Long Do Pet Ducks Live?
A happy and well-cared-for pet duck can live up to 20 years. That means giving it the best foods, company, and healthcare. Poorly tended ducks can be sickly and prone to diseases, hence living a span shy of their average lifespan.
Do Ducks Get Attached to Their Keepers?
Ducks may get attached to their owners, but that’s only possible if you raise them from a young age. Some breeds like call ducks and Cayuga ducks are incredibly intelligent and have an uncanny ability to attach to their owners.
How Do You Tell a Female Duck From a Male?
Telling female ducks from males is easy since males tend to have far more crowned heads than females. Besides, males don’t quack but sound raspy, while females can do it pretty effortlessly. However, telling male ducklings from females can be challenging, perhaps until later when they near maturity.
Is Bird Diapering Good for Ducks?
Bird diapering may seem like a good idea but can be pretty cruel for your ducks. It constrains them and can be uncomfortable, disabling them from living their lives more expressively. For what’s worth, letting your duck pet stay outdoors for the most part, and poop outside is the best way to go.
Ducks are perfect pets to have at home since they’re low care and incredibly fun. However, not every breed is ideal for keeping as pets since some are aggressive while others aren’t tamable. If you want your duck pet to live happily and expressively, taking good care of them is your best chance of guaranteeing that.
Hopefully, this guide will acquaint you with the best duck pet care tips for a healthy and bouncing birdy friend.