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Do Ducks Make Good Pets?

Ducks can make very good pets as long as you understand a couple of important things about them.Hello!

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 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.

Three ducklings isolated on white 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. Excessive chasing of ducks can also lead to leg injuries.Ducklings drinking from the lake

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.



12 responses to “Do Ducks Make Good Pets?”

  1. Laura M. says:

    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,

  2. Meghan says:

    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

  3. Janice says:

    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.

  4. 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!

  5. Ivy says:

    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?

  6. Shannon Mock says:

    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!

  7. Shannon Mock says:

    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

  8. Luke Kaiser says:

    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

  9. Anna Pattermann says:

    Luke,
    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!
    ~Anna

  10. Jim Amos says:

    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

  11. I like this – Gulvafslibning | Kurt Gulvmand , enjoyed this one appreciate it for posting keep update – Gulvafslibning | Kurt Gulvmand.

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