How to Take Care of a Pet Duck

Becoming an owner of a duck or duckling isn’t for everyone. In reality, most people shouldn’t own one. A condo, apartment, or home with no outdoor space probably won’t make a good home for pet ducks. Ideally, the best location would be a home with a fenced yard or even better, a large farm where the ducks have the freedom to live their lives to the fullest. With all that said though, ducks can spend time indoors with the proper setup and training.

You won’t find ducks at the pet store but you can find hatcheries and farms that you can buy them from. One of the better options though is to adopt a rescue duck. Search for a rescue near you.

General Advice

Tips on Caring for a Duck:

  • Aim to get your ducks from a rescue group before searching commercially
  • Be cautious of existing dogs or cats in the family and how they react
  • Children in the house need to be supervised and train how to interact
  • Ducks need an outdoor habitat such as a fenced yard or farmland
  • Duck are at home on the water so providing a small pond is ideal
  • Provide shelter from the weather and safety from predators
  • Clean water and nutritious food need to be provided daily
  • Vegetables and trimmings from fruit are good sources of nutrients for your duck
  • Avoid feeding ducks foods harmful to their health or containing no nutritional value
  • Keep their living area cleaned and sanitized to promote good health
  • Locate veterinary services that have experience in treating ducks

two ducks in the water

Existing Pets in the Home

Dogs and cat owners may have difficulties introducing a pet duck into the home since these pets might see the duck as a new food source or play toy. It’s possible to have them all live in cohabitation but there’s always a chance for stress or injury. Getting these pets together as babies is the best option or at least getting one of the two as a baby. This way they can bond together as they mature. It’s not always the case but typically if pets grow up together they tend to feel more comfortable around each other, know they are not a food option and know how to safely interact with one another. With training, each of the family’s pets can learn to respect the other pets’ boundaries.

Training Children

Children will also likely need training and supervision around the new addition to the family. Teaching them the importance of caring for a duck is essential to success. It’s critical to make sure children in the home understand how to treat their new pet ducks and ducklings with love at all times. Ducks have fragile bones and body parts that can easily be injured. Safety rules need to be firmly explained and a local vet should be located before any accidents happen

Necessary Habitat Requirements

A large area free to roam without risk of injury or attack by predatory animals is essential for the ducks to be satisfied. Adequate food, water, attention, and love will ensure they thrive in a healthy environment.

The introduction of play toys will help ensure their happiness and entertain them. Make sure that they are safe for the duck to play with. Stuffed animals or balls can be good toys that they will play with after curiosity gets the better of them.

Having a duck in the home can be manageable with the correct essentials. Some companies are available online that design and sell diaper holder harnesses that can be adjusted to fit your pet duck snugly. Changing them often can run into substantial money if the duck eats more than it needs to thrive.

Another good idea is to make sure your new pet has his own place to sleep in the home. A portable dog shelter in a corner of a room can be an ideal spot for him. Once he has been trained to associate that area as his sleeping quarters, the duck will begin to do that.

Whatever you decide to do about housing your pet duck, make sure he is fed adequately with good nutrition. Pellet mash, fruit trimmings, vegetables, and water will help keep your unique pet happy and thriving in his new environment.

pair of ducks

How to Keep Your Ducks Secure and Safe

Keeping your ducks safe from harm is important as a pet owner. Providing them shelter from the weather and safety from predators is part of a pet owner’s responsibility. A small fenced-in area with a roof to shield the ducks from rain can be adequate to protect them as pets. Make sure that the fencing material is small enough to avoid strangulation.

A shelter can have a small pool for the ducks to swim in. Include a feeding bin and water access for them inside the shelter. Large storage containers can be made into houses for the ducks to sleep in as extra security during night hours. Plywood and framing can be quickly designed into a small house inside the fenced area to allow your ducks extra safety from the weather and predators.

group of cute ducklings

The shelter should provide safety, security, heat, and cold relief from weather conditions. Outdoor lights installed in the shelter can add warmth on cold nights. Adding plastic around the fencing area with openings for air circulation can certainly provide additional warmth from cold weather. Daily cleaning of the shelter is a must for sanitary purposes to avoid disease.

Allowing ducks to live on enclosed patios or porches can help them survive during extremely cold weather. You can always move them back to their shelter after the cold snap has ended.

Caring for Eggs & Ducklings

Advice on Building a Duck Pond

Ducks do love swimming in water so why not provide them an area to enjoy what they love to do? A simple children’s pool can provide a great source to hold enough water for them to enjoy. Installing it inside a shelter can help them stay active and healthy. Make sure to add steps to one side for them to walk up to the pool to dive in.

Build a simple in-ground small pond by digging out an area of the property. Pool measurements could be 6 x 9 ft long with a depth of 2 ft. Add a vinyl pond liner and fill it with water. Pebble rock can be added to the bottom to make it more realistic. Make sure the area surrounding the small pond is fenced to keep the ducks safe from other animals.

duck with babies in a pond

The pond can be an addition next to the enclosed duck shelter so owners can do all cleaning maintenance in one area. This will allow the ducks to walk from the main area to the pool area without leaving the safety of their home.

Further Reading:

Building a Pond: Step by Step

Garden Pond Essentials

Advice on Feeding Time

Nutrition is important for the health and vitality of pet ducks. A good supply of drinking water is essential to help soften the food that they consume. Non-medicated food should be provided for your pet duck. Medicated foods are given to chickens and hens in poultry farms to prevent disease. Commercially raised birds are provided the medicated feed in order to keep them from becoming sick and possibly causing disease in the entire flock.

Vegetables and trimmings from fruit are good sources of nutrients for your duck. All types of worms can be eaten which is a treat for a duck. Non-medicated pellet mash that can be purchased at pet stores and local farm supply centers is a must-have for any pet duck owner. It can be placed in a metal container next to a water bowl for the duck to eat outside around the property.

For property owners that have a small natural pond, ducks can be a wonderful addition to wildlife. Several or more pet ducks can freely roam the area surrounding the pond. Owners can feed them non-medicated pet mash or cracked corn along with what they find naturally to eat around the pond to maintain a healthy diet.
Avoid feeding ducks food items that can be harmful to their health or offer little nutritional value. Snack foods such as popcorn, nuts, sweets, and processed bread should be avoided. A farm supply center can outfit you with feeding devices to place outdoors to feed your new pets.

Health Checkups and Preventative Care

Locating a good animal veterinary service is essential to the health and happiness of your pet ducks. While sickness and disease are inevitable, owners can help their pets thrive by showing them love and affection.

Keeping their living area cleaned and sanitized is necessary to promote good health. Properly feeding them and ensuring they have a fresh water supply is essential for them to remain happy within their environment.

Diagnose & Treat Duck Health Issues

duckling in water

It isn’t necessary to carry ducks to a vet for annual checkups, but you should keep a watchful eye out for any signs of injury or sickness in the pets. Leg and wing injuries are common for ducks. Any signs of an injury that can’t be treated by you should be placed in the hands of your veterinarian.

Viruses and infections can occur in ducks. Owners of several or more ducks that have become sick could have the flock come down with the same symptoms. Consider having the vet or an assistant visit to see what the problem might be. If you have to take a duck in for treatment, the vet might place the remainder of the flock on the same antibiotic to eliminate the disease.
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1 thought on “How to Take Care of a Pet Duck”

  1. Hi i just adopted two ducks. i have alot of experiance with poultry been raising all kinds for decades but this one seemed to have chunk taken out of it. They were free ranging with 2 pigs, which in my experiance tend to nip or out and out eat poultry. i think there is some infection. i have a pic of the one. litterally just got them hours ago. i have them seperated from my birds. but i am wondering if you can tell me what to do. i did pick up a bottle of MicrocynAH. Any info would be great ty.


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