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Ducklings enjoying the sun
Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels.

Is there any way you can keep ducks as pets? 

I thought the same too during childhood. Most of us grew up surrounded by funny duck cartoons and real ones waddling in the local pond or park water. 

Every movement they made seemed to captivate us further. They were content to live in the park. Unfortunately for us, we couldn’t have one at home – no matter how insistent we were.

Ducks are cute and often make good pets if you have enough space and a convenient environment to keep them.

If your childhood dream of owning a pet duck is still alive or perhaps your child’s constant “can I have a pet duck, pleeease” has worn you down. Whatever the reason might be, we’ll go over the pros and cons of keeping ducks so you can make an informed decision.

Pros of Keeping Ducks.

Ducklings waddling through grass

Personality.

Ducks are naturally calm, intelligent, and emotional creatures that can be trained to give kisses, play with toys, perform tricks, and play games if you take the time to train them. 

Socializing them is quite easy if they’re frequently and gently handled by humans from an early age. They may even learn to hold still and enjoy a good stroke on the back of the head.

You know what the best part is? The more you interact and play with them, the quicker you’ll bond with each other. And you’ll quickly learn what type of activities and interactions that your pet enjoys. 

Good for your gardens.

Ducks produce a shit ton of manure – literally. This is fantastic if you have a garden or pot plants. Unlike chickens, ducks cause less damage to your yard and they consume lots of insects as they waddle around. Sounds great, right?

Keep in mind that they produce LOTS of manure. So, they are great pets if you have a garden. They are also less damaging to your yard and landscaping than chickens are. And, they consume lots of insects in the process!

Delicious eggs.

You know what’s better than a plate of fresh eggs in the morning? 

Another one the next day!

Depending on the breed, a duck will lay from 70-320 delicious eggs every year. That’s one thing goldfish, dogs, and cats cannot do. 

Ducks even lay more eggs in a year than your regular hen. And unlike hens, the eggs that ducks lay are larger. So you better start pinning as many egg recipes as you can find on Pinterest because you’re going to need them.

However, if you don’t like eggs much or you’ve had enough of them, you could sell the eggs to your neighbors. 

A little extra income on the side never hurts anybody, does it? Eggzactly!

Entertainment value.

Heads down, then up. Stare at the sky for a bit, tail wagging nonstop. 

It’s pretty amusing to watch a team of ducks messing around on the water.

Ducks are fun to watch, more so when you want time to pass quickly. They are very social animals that use their bodies and vocal language to constantly communicate with each other. 

You are invited to decipher the message behind all that quacking. But, I must warn you, time will fly right over your head without you noticing. 

If you want to be entertained, provide them opportunities to play – sprinklers, puddles, pools, and ponds then sit back and enjoy.  

They’re very cute. 

There’s no arguing that ducklings are super cute creatures.

“most baby animals are eye-candy, snap out of it” You’re right. 

However, even with those oversized flappy feet of theirs, ducklings easily turn into tender fuzz balls that fit into your palms like they belong there. It’s extremely difficult not to rank them among the top cute animals – it feels like cheating.

It’s easy to fall in love with them at first sight, especially when they’re hatchlings.

Cons of keeping ducks as pets.

Adult duck sitting on lawn
Photo by Brandon Riley on Unsplash.

Messy Ducks.

You know how you get something that seems so… awesome. Then a couple of encounters later you’re like “meh! Not so awesome.”

Sadly, that’s ducks for you.

The cuteness quickly wears off as you get to find out how messy they can be. Remember when I said they produce a shit ton of manure? I meant it.

Ducks poop like clockwork and you can’t train them to relieve themselves in a particular spot. They quickly create an ugly sight, especially when they’re confined to a small enclosure instead of roaming freely. 

They will drop their feces everywhere, step on it, and smear feces all over the place. And what’s more annoying, they have a weird way of looking at you like they’re saying “what are you gonna do?” 

If you offer them a clean pool or tub of water to swim in, you’ll only need to turn your head away for 10 minutes. When you return, the water becomes muddy and filled with all kinds of brown mess.

I know what you’re thinking, “I’ll just prevent them from getting into the pool then.” That’s not really the best idea to counter this issue. By denying them a body of water to swim in, you’re basically robbing them of instinctive behavior that they enjoy.

That means you just have to accept ducks for what they are. And take up the responsibility of keeping water sources and pens clean. It’s one of the perks of owning ducks – except of course you have a large, natural pond, then good for you.

Say ‘hi’ to noise pollution.

It’s not that ducks make louder noises than, say a dog that keeps barking all night.

The problem is that a duck quacks very often. Now multiply that by the number of ducks that you have and you’ll understand why they’re a nuisance. If you think the eggs that the lay makes up for the noise that they make, then think again! 

You may not be bothered by the noise but the same cannot be said for your neighbors. Remember, they’re not getting the benefits you are!

Ducks have a constant need to communicate with each other. So when they’re in a group everyone wants to be heard. It takes one quack from the group ‘admin’ to start a chain reaction where they are all chipping in.

The question now is, can you bear the noise? Think your neighbors will?

They grow overnight.

Yes, you know that animals don’t remain babies forever. However, it seems like ducks get bigger, less fluffy, and louder overnight. In just a couple weeks, the fuzzball that could fit in your hand will feel suffocated if you tried that again. 

Ducks can be aggressive.

If you thought it’s only cat owners that need to know how to deal with sudden unprovoked aggression, then get ready to be disappointed. 

Ducks can be very aggressive, especially the males during mating season. It’s just how social life works. Ducks use a ‘pecking order’ to determine who is the top male and who gets all the females. That pecking order is not determined by age, achievement, or status, as is the case with humans. No! They have to fight for who is the “boss”. 

Although both males and females have these fights from time to time, it’s usually far more serious in males. Plus, the stakes are higher. Check out this article to learn more about why ducks are aggressive and how to stop the behavior.

If all of these don’t sound scary or you know how to handle them, then here’s what you need to care for pet ducks.

Things you need to care for pet ducks.

Woman feeding ducks and chickens
Photo by Nicholas Githiri from Pexels.

Check your local laws.

Ducks can spread avian flu and salmonella to humans, and many local laws or homeowner associations prohibit raising poultry of any kind. 

So if you’re thinking of adopting pet ducks, then you should first check if they are permitted. Some areas permit chickens only. Others are more flexible and might have some simple requirements, such as a spacious yard, before giving you a permit. And others dictate a maximum number of birds that you can keep, or how long they can stay outside.  

Make sure you have the permit or raising ducks isn’t prohibited in your town before getting some. There’s nothing worse than adopting an animal, only to be forced to give them up after you’ve bonded with them. 

Enclosed yard.

Yes, ducks are territorial. However, they’ll keep going as long as they’re discovering small critters to feed on.

So make sure that you have a safe, enclosed space for your pet ducks to play and roam about. The best solution is a fenced-in yard. However, you’ll still need to supervise and protect them from predators. 

Duck coop.

In addition to a fenced-in yard, you’ll have to keep your ducks in an enclosed area that’s safe from predators. Someplace they can stay when you are not watching them. 

Ideally, this place should be weather-proof and safe from hawks. 

Height shouldn’t be an issue since ducks don’t fly and perch like chickens. However, you need to make the coop high enough to accommodate you when you need to access and clean the coop.

Since you’ll need to provide water for them inside the coop, it’s best to make the floor of the coop waterproof. Alternatively, you can use a chicken net for the floor of the coop so their feet stay above any mess they create.

Remember, ducks are not good jumpers, so make sure they don’t have to jump in or out of the coop. 

Swimming tub.

Ducks enjoy swimming, bathing, drinking, and slashing. It’s their nature, and for this, you’ll need to provide them a tub, the bigger the better. 

However, keep in mind that you’ll need to change the water frequently since they soil it with amazing speed. Be ready to do that several times each day. 

Ideally, you’ll have to look for a tub that is easy to clean and has enough room for the ducks to swim in. 

I recommend you get a foldable and easy-to-clean pool, like the Jasonwell Foldable Pet Bath Pool. The edge of the pool is high enough to hold much water. However, you’ll need a ramp beside the pool so the ducks can climb in and out without much assistance. Especially when the ducks are very young.

Duck food.

Many people assume that ducks can be fed chicken meals since both are technically poultry birds – I don’t recommend this.

There are meals specially formulated for waterfowls, such as ducks. These meals contain more niacin than regular chicken food. You wouldn’t feed your dog exclusively cat food or feed your cat dog food, will you?   

However, you’ll have to order duck food online because you may likely not find some in the local stores around you. I recommend Wild Things Swan and Duck food or Zupreem since most birds have no issues digesting it.

Ducks love treats too. Offer them mealworms and GRIT. Grit is simply small pieces of stones that birds need in their gizzards to aid digestion. It helps them grind food since they don’t have teeth to do so. I recommend Manna Pro Oyster shells since it’ll release the calcium required by your duck to form shells on all those delicious eggs. A single bag can last for a very long time depending on how many ducks you have.

Ducks will also eat leftover pasta, bread, oatmeal, corn, and vegetables that are cut into small pieces. So you don’t have to dump these food items in the trash anymore. 

Other Things to Consider.

Other than the occasional quacks that ducks make often – okay, round the clock – the next big issue is feces. Lots of feces. 

If you keep ducks as indoor pets without creating a mess, then you’ll have to get them chicken diapers. I don’t have one that I can recommend right now, however, I believe you’ll find something online.   

Ready for your pet ducks?

Cute ducklings in a basket
Photo by Kristi Evans from Pexels

So do ducks make good pets? 

I think you can have some amazing fun and interesting time with ducks. They’ll offer you lots of crazy and wild moments that no one would believe except there’s video proof. Heck, they can make you an internet sensation. 

However, it requires work for them to be good pets and even more work if you want them to be indoor pets. But the payback is substantial. 

Happy ducking!