Do Ducks Make Good Pets?
Ducks can make very good pets as long as you understand a couple of important things about them.
First of all, ducks do not really like to be picked up in general. Over the years, I’ve known a few individuals that didn’t seem to mind, but the vast majority of ducks just don’t feel comfortable being lifted up. Ducks do like being around you and watching what you’re doing though. They like to sun themselves on a sunny hillside in your yard, and they love it when you refill their wading pool.
Some breeds of duck are friendlier than others. If you are looking for a very friendly pet duck breed, focus on the larger domestic ducks rather than more wild ducks species. The large domestic ducks don’t fly, which makes keeping them very simple and easy. They are also used to being a part of a farm or homestead and so they adapt well to a backyard flock.
Ducks should live outdoors and have access to grassy areas and water in which they can swim and clean themselves.
In my current flock, my favorite duck-friends are my Anconas, Cayugas, and Rouens. The leader of my flock is a female Rouen, who I call ‘Double Tuft’ because she has two little pompom like tufts on the back of her head. She walks right up to people and loudly quacks away, voicing all her thoughts. Rouens originated in France and are beautiful ducks. They look like traditional mallards but are about twice as big and very friendly. Males have bright green heads and dramatic silver and wine coloring, and females are brown with the fancy azure-blue stripe of color on their lower wings.
Cayugas are beautiful ducks too – pure black, but when the sunlight hits them at different angles the feathers sheen green and purple. They are also quite friendly, and Cayugas lay gray colored eggs which are a lot of fun.
Ancona Ducks are mostly white but with black splotches. Some people say these are the friendliest of the duck breeds. Because the black markings are different on each duck, the individual Anconas in your flock are easy to tell apart.
A big white duck with a bright orange bill and big orange feet is what usually comes to mind when one thinks of a pet duck – and that breed is a Pekin Duck. Pekins are large, pure white ducks and are also very friendly. Our head drake, or male duck, is a big six-year-old Pekin named Teddy. He tries to avoid allowing people to pick him up, but once you do manage to catch him; he does not mind sitting on your lap for a while. Teddy is heavy and has almost mind-blowing thick feathering.
The White or Black Crested Duck is another great pet duck option. They are big and have a funny, and yet also elegant, white crests on their heads – so much fun!
Perhaps these big domestic ducks are just too much duck for you though… In that case, perhaps you should consider Call Ducks. Call Ducks are the cutest of all the ducks. They are small, don’t eat as much as the larger ducks, and don’t need the space that the larger ducks require. They have stout little round bodies, with short necks and legs, round cheeks, and adorable little bills. Call Ducks come in a variety of colors/patterns. They have a long history of living with people and can make excellent pets.
In general ducks get along with one another and with other birds. One thing to note, you should not just have one duck. Ducks, like chickens, are social creatures and need the society of a flock. Ducks tend to form tighter bonds with one another than chickens do.
Be careful handling ducks and teach children to handle ducks carefully. Ducks being raised as pets are usually handled more, and it is important that the handling is gentle and positive for the ducks. If it is too rough or aggressive, your ducks may decide that they need to avoid people. Also, ducks have delicate legs and feet and heavy bodies; they are water creatures and are not made well for land. You cannot drop a duck like you could a chicken; a chicken can use its wings to land more softly, but a duck will get hurt if dropped from any height. Always place ducks slowly and directly onto the ground. The excessive chasing of ducks can also lead to leg injuries.
Ducks also should have some sort of pool or pond. A plastic wading pool works very well. It is a blast to watch them diving and splashing and preening in the pool.
If you can provide your ducks with what they need, Ducks can make great pets. They are sweet and fun birds and are truly a backyard joy.
Hi, can ducks and chickens live in the same coop? how long do they live? Would they eat the same feed as the chickens? I hear that there eggs at excellent,
Laura, They do have excellent eggs! Many people use them for baking. They can eat the same food as chickens, though a waterfowl feed is a better option because of the protein percentages. They do enjoy a bit of chicken scratch as well (but not too much, please see Angel Wing on our Duck and Goose Care Sheet ). Ducks can live more than 10 years. Ducks and chickens can live in the same yard and can be housed together, but ducks will not roost and will have to be herded into the building each night. Thank you for reading! ~Meghan
I had a Pekin Duck 🐥when I was about age 7 to 12. I named him or her Chiquita🐣A big duck🐤 I shared my duck at my Brownie troup meeting. What fun that was! When I was 13 my parents wanted me to give up Chiquita🐤 One of our parks had a duck🐥pond and I let my grown up duck go. It was a sad day for me, but I was growing up and so was Chiquita.
Janice, Thank you for sharing your story! I love Pekins! They are adorable. I am glad to hear that you found a good place for Chiquita to enjoy the rest of his/her life!
I love the calling ducks but worried about their size due to hawks and other predators. Is that a bigger issue with that breed versus others?
Thanks so much for your comment! We don’t find that there is difference between predation on standard ducks versus call ducklings. This certainly could be due to the environment or the care of the dudks themselves. Call ducklings are bred and used as bait and hunting trainers for dogs as well as being ornamental or more pet oriented so this, I”m sure factors in as well. I hope this has been helpful. Thanks again and have a wonderful day!
Donna! That video completely rocks!! As a duck person myself, I HAD to share it to our Social Media pages- I hope you don’t mind! This is just incredible and makes me happy watching it.. shared with my kids right away. Ha ha! Love it and Thanks so much for the share!-Shannon M
Thanks for all the help i wanted to get a duck but I still need to need more information but with your chat I have learned a lot
We are so glad to have been able to help! If you need anything at all, don’t hesitate to ask! Have a great day!
I live in del mar CA I have a pond in my back yard and lots of area in the back for a bird to roam around is this a good home for him plus when it gets cold should I keep the bird inside some times also is it legal
I like this – Gulvafslibning | Kurt Gulvmand , enjoyed this one appreciate it for posting keep update – Gulvafslibning | Kurt Gulvmand.
How big do ancona ducks get
Hi there, Marguerite! An ancoda duck will reach 7-8 lbs as an adult, which is medium sized for a duck. I hope this helps! ~Shannon M
I so so appreciated your article. It gave me a lot of insight into ducks. I’ve always wanted one or two for a pet and now I feel a lot more at ease about it. Please keep on sharing your wonderful insight into this most glorious bird
Hi Kim! I’m so glad you found this information useful! If you have questions about anything else, please don’t hesitate to reach out! We’re always here to help and looking for new informative content to share! We hope to hear from you soon when you are ready for your new babies!!! ~Anna
Do the Call Ducks fly? How much space would 2 of them need? How do you protect them if they are outside from predators? I live in a residential area with a 6 ft fence, but I have seen cats for sure climb fences. What do you with them in the winter (live in Colorado in the foothill area of the mountains)? Thank you!
We have a group or what looks like Rouen ducks in our backyard in Florida. They have a nice pond to swim in and I would like to start feeding them cracked corn 2x per week. Will they become aggressive or attack me if I walk through the group to put food out?
You are going to want about 8 square feet of floor for 2 call ducks. You are going to want at LEAST double that in the run. Even living in a residential area, your call ducks will be prone to predators and urban predators can be equally dangerous to rural predators. Local cats and dogs are not your call ducks friends.
Call ducks can fly. They tend to stay local, as they aren’t known to be migratory, but they can fly up and sometimes even away from their home. I would highly suggest a tall fully enclosed run for them if you do not intend to keep their wings clipped (It’s a simple procedure that knocks them off balance and renders them basically flightless until their next molt.).
As to your cold winters in Colorado, they can do very well despite the cold, ice, and snow. If you ensure their enclosure is properly insulated you should have no problems keeping them save in the cold weather. There should be little if any need for a heating unit (birds can withstand very cold weather overall as long as they have shelter to stay out of the worst of the elements) in their coop. You may even be lucky enough to have a call who loves the snow and be able to bundle up in the cold with a warm cuppa and watch them fly and frolic in the wintry white!
If you have any questions or concerns along the way, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re always here to help.
I certainly can’t promise they won’t grow aggressive at first since it seems they aren’t used to human interaction yet. I would encourage you to go slow. Throw a few handfuls out to them and see if you can draw them in. Over the next many weeks I’m sure you can win them over and have a few wonderful ducky friends to being some extra joy to your week! Have a great day!
How do I start raising ducks as pets
Hey Brian! Your first step is to check out our chick care guide here: This will have a listing of all the supplies you will need so you can educate yourself before you purchase the live ducklings. Next, get your ducklings in the mail and love them! I have lots of blog articles and information on raising ducklings, but you basically need a safe spot to keep them, feed, lots of water, and warmth until they have feathers. They do require their water to be cleaned out every day or so, lots of attention as babies to get them to be good pets, and likely a camera because you should share your experiences. I have ducks and to be honest, they are truly my favorite pet ever. SOOOO entertaining and they get to know you and they are easy to take care of and they give back with eggs and feathers, if you care to gather them. I hope this is helpful! Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you can think of anything additional that we can help with. ~Shannon M
Hi Paulette! Yes, Call ducks will “fly”, but not far. Enough that you will likely want to clip their wings, however, to keep them contained or add a top to their pen as an alternative. I protect mine by keeping them in the pen, closing them into a locked coop all night, and ensuring their coop itself is predator proof. Let me know if I can help you with that at all, I’d be happy to discuss your specific situation. Additionally, as long as they are full grown, neighboring cats shouldn’t bother them. They also do very well in the winters here in Wisconsin, but I confess I add a heat lamp to their coop and turn it on anytime the weather is below 0 degrees. I hope this helps!
We are planning on getting 4 chickens and one duck to act as the dominant. We have 4 kids ages 10-2yrs and I’m wondering what type of duck you suggest would be good for our family. We are planning on getting Rhode Island Reds and/or Buff Orpingtons. Thanks for your help!
Personally I would suggest a female pekin. A drake may try to mate with your hens and cause harm to them. Pekin are known to be one of the most docile and loving of the duck breeds we offer. If you have any questions or concerns along the way, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re always here to help. ~Anna
Eight months ago, my elderly parents brought home two domesticated muschovy ducks that needed a home (the first one was a female, then a couple weeks later, they brought the second duck, which was a male). The male duck eventually had his way with Roze (the female) and she had a huge family of 18 ducklings (too many, in my opinion, which I avowed would never happen again). She mothered them so eloquently and we were able to give most of the ducks away to happy homes. A couple of them learned to fly and left the coop, leaving a group of 4 males, 2 females, and Roze. My first concern was that Roze got beat up almost everyday by the male ducks who quickly grew huge within 4 months. Was there anything we could have done to avoid this behavior? They humped and pecked at her. Then Roze’s feathers started falling off and she seemed to grow smaller and frail. She grew weak. I noticed during the last week or so, the male ducks were trying to eat the bugs off her and stopped being so mean. Then she died today, I believe in her sleep, because her head was tucked in calmly and there was no sign that any fights or altercations had ensured. I thought maybe she got sick and caught something. My parents, being very sensitive as they are, thought she died of a broken heart because her original Master gave her away to us eight months ago. I told my parents to stop humanizing the duck and don’t be ridiculous–but they made me wonder if the duck had feelings. Yes, Roze had been more of a pet to the original owner (sometimes he let her in his house), but she had a beautiful yard at our house, shelter, was fed quality food, played and mothered all those babies, and had a clean pool to swim in everyday. What do you think could have happened to her? I know it’s probably hard to speculate, but I don’t want this to happen again with any of my other pet Muschovys. We estimated Roze to be around 5 years old. Any feedback or ideas would be appreciated. And was it normal for the boy ducks to be so aggressive with her as they got older? I live in Hawaii.
I live in cananda and it’s harsh winters, what do I do with the ducks in the winter?
Hi There and thanks for the question! Ducks are amazingly hardy in harsh winters, here in Wisconsin, my ducks do very well even in sub-zero temps. We offer a heat lamp or two when the weather drops below freezing, just to protect their toes should it be necessary, but stick with domestic ducks and offer deep bedding (try the deep litter method) for additional heat and make sure their coop is protected from harsh winds. If you do these things, your ducks should weather the winter very well.
I am a fairly new duck owner myself so I can tell you it’s an amazing experience and SOOOO worth it! I’ll try to give you a brief run-down of what’s worked for me. First off, you’ll need a container, I would say a large rubbermaid tote or something similar, that is large enough to give your babies about one square foot per bird. So, 6 birds = 6 square feet. Add a heat lamp on one side of this makeshift brooder, and a waterer on top of a screen and a dish on the other side. I put the waterer on top of a cooling rack that I had on top of the open side of a cake pan .. this allows the water to be caught in a dish instead of getting your bedding wet (no one wants to change bedding 3 times a day). Now, add some feed and a thermometer to ensure the temp is around 95 degrees, and add your ducklings to the warm box. Now, change out the bedding as it gets yucky and love your ducklings. Tips to remember, add Niacin to the water or feed for the first 8 weeks, NO swimming for the first two weeks as they don’t have the oils yet, and try to give them tepid, not cold, water when they first arrive and then take it away after ten minutes and give it back after another ten minutes .. just once.. to avoid them waterlogging themselves. I wish you the best of luck and I am excited to hear of another fellow duck lover! Congrats! ~Shannon M
I have been having a pet duck for approximately two years. I enjoyed reading your blog. It was very informative. Check out my blog
Here is what I have to say about having ducks as pets:
First thing is you must NEVER FORGET that ducks are a prey species. This means you must make certain your pet duck is kept in a secure enclosure at night. That enclosure has to be raccoon and fox and opossum-proof. You may even have Bobcats and coyotes in your area. Don’t get a duck unless you’re prepared to go the extra mile to construct a predator-proof enclosure.
Second thing is: ducks need a compost pile. Nothing makes them happier than being there when you turn the pile or even when you’re only lifting up the covering so they can get in there and munch on all the Sowbugs and worms and Earwigs.
Third thing is: ducks can become so tame that they will join you in your house, if you let them. I had a Muscovy female who would peck on my bedroom window at dawn and get into bed with me. She never pooped in the house. She never seemed to mind being carried anywhere, either, for that matter.
Fourth thing: female ducks may be a lot easier to have as pets. My male Muscovy got so cantankerous and bullying (testosterone) he was putting the Fear of God into my visitors. I had to give him to a friend who had a fenced in yard, because “Howie” (Howard the Duck) kept harassing his sister and chasing her out of my yard.
“Howie” would challenge whoever entered my friend’s yard, too, and with great ferocity. People were scared spitless of him. They thought he was a goose.
Fifth thing: If you do have only a small wash tub or plastic pond for your duck or ducks, be prepared to be working constantly to keep the water nice and clean.
I love ducks. I won’t ever have another one as a pet because my Pekin duck (“Webers”) was killed by a Raccoon (opened the enclosure hook lock). My beloved “Escargot,” the female Muscovy, was snatched away by a German shepherd. That damned dog traveled three miles from his house to grab her up and run off with her. I chased him down the street, but couldn’t catch him. Poor Esca. I had nightmares for years about how she died. (Friends found her body later.)
Thank you so much for sharing your insights! This is such great information to offer. I know you said you wouldn’t own a pet duck again, but when the time comes and you are ready to order, we’ll be here to help. Happy Holidays!!
Hi! I’m hoping somebody could help me out…I’ve got a few issues I’m trying to figure out. 15 yrs ago I got a baby Kacki Campbell as a pet for my 5month old Komondor(a Komondor is a livestock guardian dog that looks like a big white mop)…I knew nothing about ducks and I intended for her to live outside…she had other ideas…I had a doggie door and my Komondors would hold the door for her and I soon figured out that I needed to do something about it, and I found Nancy Townsend online and I bought her book(“Duck! There’s a goose in the house!”, which was very helpful and I also bought pants for her, so she can have diapers…The following year I got a Cayuga which was imprinted and that made a huge difference…
On August 1st 2017, my ex found a squirrel destryiong a nest at work(they have a big pond there) and rescued a baby Cayuga who had just hatched…
I went and got her and I raised her with my amazing Komondor, who was a saint with her…she would pester her a lot…but she loved her big sis and they were hanging out together all the time…I have no idea why, but my little 3lbs Cayuga female thinks she’s a guard, or attack duck…if I’m not there any any humans besides my ex, my son and I come in the yard, she is trying to beat them up…that’s kind of funny, but she’s also trying to beat up dogs…my son and his 40lbs Puli have been staying with me 90% of the time for the past 6months and she used to attack him every chance she got…he tried to get away from her…growled and snapped at her and she didn’t back down…that encounter ended with the Puli jumping in my son’s arms…that was pretty funny too, but she’s still going after him if he makes the mistake of coming within 3feet of her…On Nov.4th my Komondor died and we both miss her very much…
I was thinking on getting a baby Call Duck…also female, cause from what I’ve read the boys are more aggressive…and I don’t need any more attack ducks…
I am also planning on getting another Komondor…I’m hoping that Charlie(my female Cayuga) would accept the new Komondor since she would look a lot like her big sister…I’m not sure how to introduce the new Call Duck to her…cause we’ve taken her to my ex’s work so she could meet other ducks, but she won’t have anything to do with them…last summer a couple boys thought she was attractive and wanted to check her out and she ran to me like she had a pack of wolves on her tail…she would probably try to beat up the wolves though…
I was thinking that I should try to make her think it came out of her eggs…last summer she tried to hatch her eggs, so maybe if I would sneak her in her nest, maybe she’d buy it…
Any ideas…baby ducks are so tiny and although I’ve never had Call Ducks, I’m pretty sure that they’re even more tiny and fragile…I think it would be better to introduce them when the baby is a couple weeks old…and since she’s never had babies before I’m hoping that she wouldn’t know the difference…I really need to do this right, so they’ll love each other…cause I really don’t to have to break out fights…
Hi there, Mirela! I confess I’d never heard of a Komondor until your message and now I’m very interested in this beautiful breed! That said, I smile at the spunk of your little Cayuga female and am leaning in two different directions as far as advice. I’ll tell you my thougths here and hopefully we will find some kind of action plan to get you a little call duck. First of all, the call ducks here come in sets of 6, otherwise adult call ducks are avaiable in pairs. That being said, I would recommend waiting for the call duck to be fully feathered as she will be smaller .. then introduce them by placing the new bird into a wire enclosure of some sort that gives your Cayuga a view of her, but not access to her. Leave it like this for a few days and then let the little one go and watch them. Hopefully all goes well. I can’t say I have complete confidence in your little Cayuga make friends, but we can hope! Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you can think of anything additional that we can help with.
Thank u so much for ur advise. I found a Call Duck breaded about an hour away, so I was planning on driving there and picking her up…because I really didn’t want 6babies…keeping one in diapers is quite a bit of work …Charlie was growing so fast I had to make her new pants every 4-5 days…Although the diapers for tiny babies aren’t very effective, getting her used to wearing pants was definitely worth the trouble…
Yeah! I’m not sure she’ll make friends…no idea why she wants to beat up everybody…when she was the size of an egg she was “protecting” the bed from Seven…sometimes she would sleep with Seven in her kennel, and sometimes she would pester Seven until she would move and she had this huge kennel all to herself…whenever I groomed Seven she wouldn’t recognize her and she would peck at her…chase her through the house…she was jumping up to grab Seven’s face…after a while Seven would get tired of it and would growl and snap at her, but she knew that Seven would never hurt her, so she couldn’t care less…I wish I had that on video cause she was hilarious.
Komondors aren’t for everybody…they can be very aggressive, they are very dominant and although very, very smart, they’re not easy to train…that said, if ur a experienced dog person and have commitment to socialize them and train them well, they are the most amazing dogs…Seven was my assistance dog for 10 years…Koms are very gentle and protective of small animals…when I got her Lilo she was a huge 5month old tornado, but around Lilo she would lay down and crawl to her…would allow Lilo to walk inside her mouth…I can go on and on and on…since the first time I met a Komondor(Seven and Shilo’s father) I’ve been totally sold on this breed…
A wild dog just laid 2 eggs on my door and I have them in the incubator waiting to hats. I don’t know whether I should raise them and let them go into the wild or raised them and keep them they sound like wonderful pets but they come from a wild mother so will that be a problem…?
Duck not dog ..I’m sorry
And will they fly away when they get old enough
I would check with your local DNR to see what their regulations are for keeping wild ducks. From there it would be up to you if you wanted to keep them or raise them for release. If they grow up there and do migrate in the fall, it’s likely they would return again the following year as well. If you wanted to keep them home year-round, you would have to clip their wings and then provide them with food, a pen or shelter over the colder months as well.
No worries at all. I knew what you meant!
We found an abandoned mallard duck two days ago. We are debating whether to keep him/her but I’m concerned about the mess, as our yard is fairly large but not huge..but we enjoy the lush green grass for our small dog.
But my main concern is quality of life for this duck. I’m leaning towards taking the baby to our autobahn society to be released later and to be with other ducks prior to this. But we are very attached just after 24 hours!! Any thoughts?
That was very kind of you to take in the duck. I think the first step would be to contact your local DNR and ask if they have any regulations in place about keeping wild Mallards. If not, then you certainly could raise it and care for it similarly to how we would care for domestic ducklings. I would recommend looking for a friend for it in that case because they do better with at least one other duckling to buddy up with. You can certainly also take it to the Audubon Society in your area as well. They are usually experienced at rehabbing and releasing abandoned or injured ducks and other wild birds. Another thing to consider if this an older bird that is feathered out or a ducking? If you have a duckling, you’ll want to set up a brooder with a heat lamp for the first few weeks. You’ll also need a non-medicated chick starter, game bird starter, or waterfowl starter, depending on what’s available in your area. Any of those feed options will work, just avoid anything with Amprollium or that states it is a medicated feed. Ducks ingest more feed than chicks per feeding so that medicated feed can be deadly for them, because of that. If your bird seems lethargic too, I would also suggest adding a poultry electrolyte with Niacin (B6) to it’s drinking water for the first 2-3 weeks as well. If this is an older bird that you found and appears ill, I would suggest either taking it to an Avian Vet for their opinion or the Audobon society you mentioned as well if keeping it will not work out for you. With your yard, ducks can make a bit of a mess but with just one you could certainly set up a penned area where your dog would not have the same access to the yard as the duck. Another thing, if you do keep this duck is that he/she may decide to migrate for the winter come fall if you do not clip their wings. If you do clip, then you will have a year-round care commitment and need good winter housing for your bird too.
How can I increase the bond between myself and my 9 month old duck? I have a pekin and a swiss blue. Overerall it is going wel, they are more outgoingl but they are still quite nervous around us. I talk to them frequently. It has only been 2.5 weeks, will they ever bond with us? They live with our chickens and they have bonded nicely, the chickens are super friendly with us.
We love on a pond with other houses around it. Will the ducks come back to our house and know it is their home? Thanks!
Hi, I really like ducks and I have not been able to have other pets because everyone in my family is allergic. I also never really considered ducks because I did not think of them much as pets (and because I primarily live in an apartment in nyc). Despite that I also have a weekend house in a small town in Connecticut with a sizable back yard. My first question is, is my yard big enough? How big should my yard be to be a good home for 7ish ducks? My next question is will the ducks be safe if I have a chlorinated pool? It is fenced off from the rest of the yard but I would be worried that if somehow one of them got in would they be okay? I was also wondering how big of a shelter do they need and what type specifically? I’m sorry I have a lot of questions and I would really appreciate it if you answered. Regardless, I really enjoyed reading the article and it made my day.