Ducks are some of the most adorable and unique birds but can you keep a duck for a pet? Keep reading to learn more.
They are fun, comical, and talkative birds, most raised for egg and meat production. They are also good at pest control in the garden and do not damage plants like chickens.
Nowadays, people keep different kinds of animals as pets. While some prefer traditional options, such as cats and dogs, others tend to consider the less popular and unique options, like ducks.
But is it a good idea to raise them as pets? Do they make great pets? The short answer is Yes! You can keep a duck as a pet.
This article will discuss everything you need to know about keeping ducks as pets. Keep reading to learn more.
Can You Keep Ducks As Pets?
Ducks are adorable birds that can make excellent pets. However, not all duck breeds make great pets.
Some towns and residential places may also restrict the type of duck you can raise as a pet.
Therefore, you should check the laws in your location before bringing home a pet duck.
However, if you are looking for an affectionate pet, a duck may not be the right option for you.
While some duck breeds are friendlier, they will not interact with you as much as a cat or dog might.
Before spending your money on ducklings, you should consider several things, such as the right breed, space, time, commitment, and proper setup.
Since ducks are flock birds, you should not raise one alone. They will need the companionship of their type to live a healthy and happy life.
That is why professional breeders and agricultural supply stores like Rural King and Tractor Supply are not allowed by law in most states to sell a single duck to a customer.
In most states, you can only purchase a minimum of three or four ducklings at a time.
Feeding Pet Ducks
Ducks are omnivorous animals; thus, they eat a wide variety of things. You duck can eat seeds, grains, fruits, snails, small fish, or greens.
In addition, they enjoy treats like lettuce and greens torn into pieces and floating in the water.
A pelleted duck food is complete and balanced and should be the base of your duck’s diet. You should avoid feeding them starchy foods, such as bread, pasta, and pizza.
If you are raising ducklings, offer them chick crumble with extra niacin. It helps to improve their neurological health. You can find niacin in most supermarkets and pharmacies.
In addition to duck food, your ducks will also need plenty of fresh drinking water. You will also need to clean their water regularly and ensure it is full since ducks drink a lot of water.
Most pets, such as dogs, cats, and chickens, can be kept indoors without any trouble. However, this may not be the same for ducks as they are not suited to live indoors.
They like being outside, and most enjoy splashing around in the water. In addition, ducks like to forage for bugs and insects in the garden.
Therefore, it is not healthy for ducks to be kept solely as indoor pets. Although they are outdoor pets, they can still benefit from secure housing.
They will need plenty of space to roam and swim during the day, but at night, they will need a shelter to keep them safe from predators and extreme weather conditions.
Unlike chickens, ducks do not perch. Therefore, including perches in their house will not be necessary. You will only need to ensure they have clean bedding to lie on and walk on.
You can use either straw, wood shavings, or pine needles for the bedding. Since they produce a lot of feces, regular cleaning will be a must. Unclean bedding can lead to various health problems.
Normal Duck Behavior
As mentioned, ducks are sociable birds that prefer to be with their own kind. They rarely do well when kept alone.
You will often see them engage in tail wagging and head bobbing whenever they are happy. They also quack at each other for several minutes. In addition, they love to dabble in the mud.
Ducks need water as they use it to clean their feathers. They tend to spend a short time grooming themselves with the beak to spread the preen oil throughout their feathers.
The oil keeps them waterproof and ensures their feathers are in good condition.
Generally, ducks are noisy creatures. While they are personable and friendly, they are not pets in the same way chickens can be. You should not expect your duck to curl up on your lap and cuddle.
The intelligence level of ducks surpasses that of backyard chickens. They will follow their owners around and encircle them to have food or treats tossed.
Unlike most roosters, they are not mean and will hardly bite you out of anger.
Best Ducks For Pets
While most duck breeds are considered good pets, some breeds are easier to care for and friendlier than others. Here are some of the best duck breeds you can raise as pets.
The Magpie duck is one of the most popular breeds among backyard poultry keepers. The breed is considered beginner-friendly and is known for its gentle disposition and black-and-white plumage.
They are social birds that enjoy being around other ducks, children, and adults. Besides, they are very active and love to explore the environment.
This is one of the best breeds if you are looking for an adorable duck full of personality.
They love to hang out for the afternoon and fall people around. Their main appeal is that they love eating pests in the garden.
In addition to being good garden guards, they can lay three or four eggs a week. Their eggs can be white, green, or blue.
Cayuga ducks have black feathers with iridescent green heads. They are friendly and curious birds that make great pets for families with kids.
They are also good watchdogs that alert you whenever a stranger approaches your home.
They are easy to tame when hand-raised and given attention. They can be skittish when not hand-raised.
Since they love to forage and free range, you will need to provide them with plenty of space to roam.
The Cayuga duck is exceptionally cold, hardy, and tough. They can lay 2 to 4 black or white eggs per week. If you are looking for a beautiful and useful pet duck, look no further.
The Pekin duck is a favorite breed for most backyard duck keepers. They are dual-purpose ducks that weigh between 8 and 10 lbs when fully grown and lay 4 to 5 eggs a week.
This is one of the breeds to consider if you are looking for a calm duck with a quiet personality.
They are curious birds that love to swim. Their calm demeanor means they are great around kids.
They have beautiful white feathers and are exceptionally hardy birds. They are known for their iconic orange feet and beak.
While they do not need plenty of space, they will need access to water to swim and play in. Their diet should consist of greens and commercial duck food.
Also, you can offer them occasional treats, such as small pieces of fruit and worms.
Indian Runner Ducks
The Indian Runner duck is one of the best pet breed breeds. They have a very distinctive appearance. They are tall and have an upright carriage.
The breed comes in various colors, including rare variations like Cumberland Blue, Apricot Dusky, and Silver.
Indian Runners are good-natured and gentle ducks that make great family companions. They can be kept in a small space and are relatively easy to care for.
Under good care and proper nutrition, they can lay 120 to 200 eggs a year. This makes them a perfect choice for families looking for a pet duck that will provide them with plenty of fresh eggs throughout the year.
They are less aggressive than most other breeds on our list. In addition, they tend to become too attached to their handlers and will enjoy being near them most of the time.
Duck Health Care
Like backyard chickens, ducks are not prone to many health issues. However, they can easily become ill if not offered proper care.
The most common concern is parasites, such as mites and lice. You can deter them using a preventative spray and regularly cleaning the coop.
If you keep a duck as a pet, you will need to take it to your vet more often than you would for livestock. This will help keep them safe from future health concerns.
You are now answered if you have been asking whether you can keep ducks as pets. You can keep a duck as a pet, although not all breeds are great pets.
While ducks are not the most affectionate and cuddliest pets, keeping them as pets can still be fun. If you are looking for a pet duck, you can consider one of the breeds on our list.