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Ducks as Pets: Guidelines and General Tips

 
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. December 8, 2016
Ducks as Pets: Guidelines and General Tips

When we talk about ducks, we're actually referring to several species of birds that form part of the Anatidae family. This family also includes geese and swans, but it is correct to use the term "ducks" in a general sense, as most ducks have similar requirements and characteristics.

The requirements of a duck are perfectly compatible with living in a human home, although as you'll see later on ducks need to be given a space with some minimum requirements. While it might seem strange at first to talk about ducks as pets, we must remember that nowadays there is a wider range of animals that can be considered companions.

Are you wondering how it would be like to share your home with an adorable duck? Stay with us at AnimalWised and learn our guidelines and general tips to keep ducks as pets.

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What are ducks as pets like?

If we need to point out one aspect from the nature of ducks, it is their sociability. Ducks are very sociable animals, so its important to mention that it wouldn't be a good idea to keep a single duck as a pet because they need the company of their own species. Therefore, if you're mulling over the possibility of keeping a duck, you should know that it's much better to adopt a pair.

Does the sociability between ducks mean that we humans will be left as outsiders? If you keep several ducks in your home, they'll need to interact with you on a daily basis. Ducks can hear and respond to sound, so it is a good idea to name them and start communicating with them through speech. You can also give them toys and interact with them through these objects.

You might be surprised to hear that ducks are capable of performing simple tricks, and they can win you over by bringing the toy that you were playing with in your free time back to you.

Ducks as Pets: Guidelines and General Tips - What are ducks as pets like?

How much space do ducks need?

Before bringing any kind of animal into your home, you need to perform a deep responsibility exercise and understand that this means you will need to give your pet everything it needs to live happily. You must also consider that ducks tend to live for between 13 and 15 years.

If your house doesn't have a garden, you won't be able to keep several ducks. Ducks need the following resources in captivity:

  • Space to walk and play freely.
  • A chicken coop or hutch of suitable dimensions, so that they can take refuge in adverse weather conditions. This space is especially necessary if the ducks share a home with other pets or have the risk of being attacked by predatory animals.
  • Ducks enjoy water, and having access to it is essential for them. This means that you need to have an artificial pond in your garden, or anything that can emulate an artificial pond - and as wide as possible.
Ducks as Pets: Guidelines and General Tips - How much space do ducks need?

What to feed a pet duck

Ducks as pets need roughly between 170 and 200 grams of food per day. A duck's natural diet can be very varied and include foods such as vegetables, seeds, grains, insects and some fish. Of course, you can also find specific feeds for domestic ducks on the market, but these tend to be weight-gain feeds for farm animals, so you should give your pet duck a smaller amount if you opt for these commercial products.

Pet ducks should have free access to food throughout the day. The same goes for water, of course, which you should place in an appropriately deep water bowl. The water needs to always be clean and fresh, so you should replenish it on a daily basis.

Ask your vet what food they recommended for your new pet; this could change slightly from breed to breed, although it will usually be based on the same main elements.

Ducks as Pets: Guidelines and General Tips - What to feed a pet duck

Ducks need clean environments

For your pet duck to enjoy a full state of well-being, it needs to live in an environment with optimal hygienic conditions. This can be achieved by following these simple steps:

  • You should lay the floor of their hutch with sand, which will help you to regularly clean their feces.
  • It is important to also keep the pond water as clean as possible.
  • During the night, it is also recommended to take away the food that the ducks didn't eat during the day. This is done to avoid the food getting contaminated and to stop the duck consuming it in a bad condition.
Ducks as Pets: Guidelines and General Tips - Ducks need clean environments

Veterinary care for pet ducks

If we take the appropriate hygiene and dietary measures, ducks as pets won't require specific veterinary care. However, it's important to know about the most common symptoms of disease in ducks:

  • Nasal inflammation, redness or nasal secretions.
  • Abnormal depositions of a very hard or very soft consistency, or which show a yellowish, reddish or black color.
  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • Bristled, opaque or dirty-looking feathers.
  • Redness or eye discharge.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Changes in their normal behavior.

When you notice these symptoms it's important to go to the vet as quickly as possible, as your pet duck could be ill and require urgent treatment.

When the duck comes home...

If you bring a very young duck into your home, you should know that the duck chick should be kept in a warm and dry place for the first 4 or 5 weeks after it is born. For example, you could use a cardboard box laid with straw.

At this stage you can't let the duck go in water, as its plumage is not yet sufficiently developed and it could be dangerous.

You should keep the young duck inside your home until it is 2 months old. At this point, it should start going outside whenever the weather conditions are favorable. Progressively, the duck will begin to adapt to the habitat outside the home.

Ducks as Pets: Guidelines and General Tips - When the duck comes home...

Want to find out more about domestic birds?

If you want to read similar articles to Ducks as Pets: Guidelines and General Tips, we recommend you visit our What you need to know category.

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