Ducks are some of the most impressive birds, and I love their quirky personalities! But – can you have a duck as a pet? What about domestic ducks?
We have a flock of 12 ducks, but I’m not sure I would call them pets. Our Indian Runner Ducks aren’t the friendliest creatures on the farm and are more likely to run away quacking in terror than they are to run into my arms for a cuddle.
That’s not to say ducks don’t make good pets, however. Ducks have tons of personality! They’re also amusing and adorable.
Ducks also boast (arguably) the finest of feathers compared to any other flying foul. For sure!
Look at the Australian woman who takes her duck surfing with her every day – proof that ducks are also one of the most lovable pets!
We also have to tell you about Forky. One of the most impressive pet ducks. Ever!
What Characteristics Make Ducks Great Pets?
When people ask me – can you have a duck as a pet – I always remind them that all ducks are different.
Some ducks are more domesticated than others. However, most ducks share a few traits that make them excellent homestead companions – and yes, even pets.
Ducks are entertaining, curious, and highly intelligent – and emotional creatures. If handled correctly and consistently from an early age, they can understand commands and play games, just like dogs.
As with dog breeds, some breeds of duck are friendlier and calmer than others. Indian Runner Ducks are, theoretically, one of the affectionate breeds, but ours are so skittish, I couldn’t imagine snuggling up with one.
The Muscovy ducks we had previously were much calmer and happy to approach humans if there was a tasty treat on offer. White Pekin ducks are also (usually) friendly and cheerful, while the Call duck is one of the most approachable.
Ducks are endlessly entertaining to watch, and there’s little cuter than a clutch of fluffy baby ducklings. Unfortunately, ducklings don’t stay small and fleecy for long – they grow shockingly fast!
Within just a few weeks, there will be no sign of that baby fluff on your mallard duckling who has suddenly transformed into an adult duck.
Pekin ducks are a large, hardy breed. They're a dual-purpose bird, well suit to meat and egg production. Pekins love to talk, they're great layers, and they're one of the friendliest breeds of duck, which makes them nice pets!
Hoover's Hatchery sells Pekin ducklings in quantities of 10 and they will be delivered to your local post office. Make sure you pick up your ducklings as soon as they arrive!
How to Take Proper Care of Domesticated Ducks
Ducks may mature quickly! But, when it comes to potty training, things are liable to get a little messy regardless of their age.
Unlike dogs and cats, ducks don’t have the physical anatomy required to hold in poop. In other words – they don’t wait to reach a litter tray or the outdoor world!
Ducks don’t have traditional sphincter muscles and are therefore incapable of controlling when, or where, they poop.
The result? Poop everywhere!
Put out a bowl of clean water and, five minutes later, your domestic ducks will have transformed it into a bowl of muddy sludge. Leave them in an enclosure for the afternoon, and it’ll look like armageddon by the time you return!
Of course, poop isn’t the only thing that comes out of the back end of an adult duck! Depending on the breed, duck hens could provide you with a seemingly endless supply of delicious duck eggs.
However, your results may vary. Our Runner ducks aren’t the most prolific layers – even though they have reputations as fertile producers. I guess no one ever told them that they’re supposed to lay up to 150 eggs per year!
If your ducks are laying regularly, you could end up with an excess, especially if you’re not that keen on the rich creaminess of the duck egg. If that’s the case, you might find that a drake is a better option for a pet duck.
Drakes are generally friendlier than duck hens and won’t drop eggs all over the place.
Keeping Your Pet Duck Indoors
Even if you manage to potty train your duck, keeping it indoors is far from ideal.
Although a baby duckling will imprint on a human and dedicate the rest of their lives to following in that human’s footsteps, they prefer feeling the wind ruffling their feathers rather than air-conditioning.
Even if your duck is living with you for some of the days, they still need an outdoor environment so they can stretch, swim, and splash. Try a duck house about the same size as a standard dog kennel for a small flock of three or four ducks.
Social Nature of Ducks
You may have entertained fantasies about owning a single duck that’s devoted to you, but this isn’t fair on the duck.
Domesticated ducks are social animals that don’t enjoy a solitary existence so, the minimum number of ducks anyone should own is two!
Although, the story of Zaida Pugh and Forky proves that a human-duck bond can make up for the absence of other ducks in some instances.
Duck Pond – or Duck Pool!
Ducks are also water-loving creatures and will take to any water source like, well, a duck to water.
While ducks don’t necessarily need a large body of water to swim in, they do need freshwater that’s deep enough to stick their whole heads into – but make no mistake – the more water, the better!
A duck should never be left without clean water to bathe in and drink for more than eight hours, and even this length of time could negatively impact their health.
Duck Food and Duck Treats!
In addition to water, ducks also need access to food. Although feeding ducks bread has always been a popular pastime for humans, this isn’t their primary source of nutrition.
Wild ducks never pop down to the supermarket for a loaf of bread, preferring to forage for insects, worms, snails, and frogs and serving them with a side salad of pondweed, seeds, and grasses.
There are commercial feeds for ducks that provide all their nutritional needs. You can also supplement their diet with fresh greens, like lettuce and spinach, weeds from your vegetable patch, oats, and rice.
A top-quality feed for your backyard flock! Suitable for chickens, roosters, ducks, geese, turkeys, pheasants, and quail from 8 weeks old. It includes prebiotics, probiotics, and essential amino acids for complete and balanced nutrition.
Don’t Duck Out of These Important Duck-Related Questions!
We can’t stop thinking about keeping ducks as pets! We also know that many of our friends have questions about how to raise ducks properly.
These duck-raising FAQs should help!
Are Ducks Good Indoor Pets?
No! Not for the inside of your home. Ducks need access to a clean, dry area so they can relax and preen their feathers – but we don’t recommend keeping ducks inside of your primary residence.
Ducks are messy creatures who, because they lack normal sphincter muscles, have no control over their poop. As a result, they’ll go whenever and wherever they get the urge.
Duck diapers can help control the mess, but they won’t do anything to make your duck happier with an indoor existence.
Also – if you decide to keep them in your house (which we recommend against), make sure they get a few hours outside every day to forage and explore!
Do Pet Ducks Like to Be Petted?
Maybe. It depends on the duck!
Some domesticated ducks seem to enjoy being stroked and cuddled, whereas others merely tolerate it. Many will enjoy a gentle scratch or rub under their lower mandible, while others prefer back and neck massages.
I think it depends on the relationship you have with your ducks – and the personality of the duck. Some are more approachable than others.
Also – some ducks are much shyer than others and prefer to keep a safe distance. Respect their wishes – regardless of the duck’s personality.
Do Pet Ducks Poop Everywhere?
Yes! Ducks are messy (yet adorable) creatures.
Even domesticated ducks will poop everywhere because they lack the physical anatomy to control it.
Some pet duck owners get around this problem by using duck diapers that way – they can keep their ducks inside the house at night without worrying about them making a mess.
These adorable duck diapers are a lifesaver if you need to bring your duck indoors due to inclement weather - or if you're inviting your ducks indoors to meet and greet the family!
The duck diapers are also multi-use and washable. Perfect.
Nobody ever said raising a pet duck was glamorous work. But, these diapers will make things less messy. For sure!
Do Pet Ducks Cuddle?
Ducks that have been well-socialized and have imprinted on humans are often keen for a cuddle. Some may even climb into your arms for a quick snooze or snuggle up to you, looking for affection.
Ducks are intelligent and social animals, so it is possible to train them to cuddle or even give you a loving kiss on the cheek.
Can You Potty Train a Duck?
It’s virtually impossible to potty train a duck as they can’t control their need to poop in the same way as a cat or dog can!
Ducks aren’t apt to indoor life – and if you decide you want to share your house with them, you should either invest in some duck diapers or prepare yourself for some serious messiness!
It’s possible to create a commercial house for your domestic ducks – but doing so runs a lot of cash – even for wealthy industrial duck farmers.
Do Pet Ducks Need a Pond?
While ducks can survive without access to swimming water, they can’t survive without water altogether. They need fresh drinking water and somewhere to clean themselves.
A water container is perfectly adequate, provided it’s deep enough that the duck can get its whole head underwater and give itself a full body wash.
But – if you want happy, healthy ducks, then they need full access to a body of water big enough for them to dip, dive, splash and swim unfettered.
Let your ducks run (and swim) wild!
If you don't have a natural body of water for your pet duck, then I'm sure they'll love every second they spend in this pet pool.
Now your pet ducks can splish, splash, and wet their beaks without leaving your homestead.
The pool's also light, easy to install, and tremendously portable. Set it up nearly anywhere as a pool or pond for your pet ducks. Perfect!
Here’s Why We Love Ducks as Pets – and for Cuddles!
So – can you have a duck as a pet? The answer is an astounding yes!
Ducks make excellent pets, as long as you don’t expect them to become the consummate lap dog and spend their days lounging about on the sofa.
Ducks are surprisingly curious and social animals and need a suitable environment in which to thrive. Their unique nature means providing them with other ducks for company and plenty of water for drinking, bathing, and occasionally swimming.
Indoor ducks won’t be happy, and nor will you if you spend your entire day cleaning up after them, so make sure you have a suitable outdoor environment for ducks before selecting your next best friend.
With proper care and attention, ducks make entertaining and affectionate pets that require a lot less training than a dog, less servility than a cat, and less food than a horse! What more could you want?
If you want to stay in good graces with your pet ducks, then these larva treats will do the trick! They make for the perfect duck snack.
I bet your ducks come waddling over in a frenzied panic as they watch you toss a fresh scoop of fly grubs over your lawn - and they'll thank you for the kind gesture.
The fly grubs also come in a big sturdy box that seals - so your duck treats stay fresh.