The other day I was watching a documentary about ducks and I saw someone asking if ducks make for a good pet.
This got me thinking. So I had to do some research and see what was out there as regards ducks and if they are good pets.
Are ducks good pets? Ducks are not good pets simply because they are social animals and are not suited to an indoor lifestyle. These are animals that truly enjoy living outside and as social animals enjoy being in the company of other animals. By keeping them indoors in a cage or in a solitary lifestyle, you are being cruel to the duck and it may result in depression to the animal which is not good.
Now while ducks should not be kept indoors as pets, they are generally fun animals to have in your farm.
And there are some important factors and tips that you need to know about while raising a duck.
Do Ducks Enjoy Human Interaction?
Now I do not know about you but before I consider keeping a pet, I want to know whether it likes human interaction and if the animals actually enjoy human company
Think about it
There is no doubt that farm animals like dogs, cats, horses and others are good pets simply because they like human interaction.
But can you say the same about ducks?
So to find out – I did some research and digging into ducks and whether they like human interaction.
According to this article here, ducks are wonderful creatures and they know how to show affection and will bond with humans more than any other pets out there.
Now something that really got my attention is what is referred to as ducklings and imprinting.
What this means is that ducks have the unique ability to choose their de facto parent and this imprint will remain intact throughout the lifetime of the duck
So basically when a duck is hatched, the first form of life it sees – whether it’s biological mother or any other parent, it sticks to that person/thing forever.
This type of bond is unbreakable and leads to a lifetime of loving relationship between both parties.
Another point to note is that ducks are friendly creatures who will play and respect the imprinted parents for life.
This is why if you see a group of ducks that were raised together, they will bond with each other and play together.
This is another reason why I will not advise that you keep ducks as pets.
Keeping them alone will lead to depression among the ducks as they are social animals and enjoy the company of other animals.
Things to consider before getting ducks as pets – Pros and Cons of Ducks as Pets
- Ducks are very cute animals – I am guessing they rank in the top 5 cute pets of all time. Yes I said it. But seriously ducks are really cute birds and very adorable. With their perfectly sized fuzz balls that fit into the palms of your hand and those endearing feet, you can’t help but fall in love with them.
- All the eggs you need – Think about this for a moment. You have access to fresh eggs everyday for as long as the ducks are alive. I will definitely take that anytime. When compared with chickens, duck eggs are larger and are also more productive over the course of their lifetime.
- They are very entertaining – The other day I watched a group of ducks play around in the water and I can tell you it was a soothing sight. Like I mentioned earlier, they are social birds and they regularly communicate with each other through their body and vocal language. Try it out next time you see a flock of ducks.
Now here are some of the cons of keeping ducks as pets
- The cuteness is for a while – Yes all good things finally come to an end. The cute duckling with the fuzzy paws and feet will grow big and turn messy. Unfortunately this happens within a few weeks as they grow really fast.
Now I know I mentioned earlier that ducks are not good pets but for animals.
And I mentioned the reason above, but if you decide to have a duck as a pet, here are some factors to consider.
Keeping Ducks require a lot of preparation
Keeping ducks as pets like any other animal requires a lot of preparation.
First you need to consider their feeding and what they are going to eat.
Getting food supplies for ducks is not as easy as getting same supplies for chickens or other farm animals
So you need to consider what they are going to eat and how you are going to get them.
Well one good thing is that these days you can get anything online – so if it’s too much hassle to walk down to the local store and get supplies then you can always order online and get it delivered to you.
How Long Do Pet Ducks Live?
If you are going to be keeping ducks as pets then you definitely need to know their lifespan.
According to this Wikipedia article here, ducks can live for 5 to 10 years if they are properly taken care of.
This means that you can be sure that your ducks are going to stay with you for a very long time and give you that companionship that you want.
Do Pet Ducks Need Vaccinations?
Another thing you need to consider before taking ducks as pets is if they need vaccinations?
Unlike other animals where you need to schedule appointments with the veterinarian for vaccinations, for ducks you do not need to do so.
Ducks are generally healthy and hardy birds.
They do not need any vaccinations or annual shots and do not need preventive worming for them to be kept as pets.
Another thing to note is that they are also not susceptible to other parasites that attack most animals like ticks, lice or mites.
But there are a few things that affect ducks that you need to be aware of
- Angel Wings – This is simply a condition where the wings of the bed are not flat against the body. While it is not life threatening, it is caused by excessive feeding of high protein food which causes the wings to grow faster and not lap properly with the body. It can be treated by switching to a low protein feed for the birds.
- Aspergillosis – This is a situation whereby the birds have heavy and laboured breathing as a result of fungal spores. You can easily fix this by removing wet feed and any beddings ASAP.
- Bumblefoot – This is probably the most common affliction of ducks that I have come across. What happens is that when there are sharp objects or stones around the area where the ducks are kept, this might cause a black scab or swelling on the underside of the bird’s foot. It should be noticed and treated immediately to prevent infections from spreading. So basically you want to keep out sharp objects and stones from the area.
- Egg Binding – As the name sounds, this is a situation whereby the duck is unable to pass out an egg. It is not so common among birds and you can easily fix this by soaking the duck in a warm bath and then applying vegetable oil around the area so the muscles can relax and the egg comes out easily.
- Botulism – Finally you should be aware of something called botulism. This is a situation that occurs in decaying waste or pools of water. It is important that you keep water sources clean and free from bacteria. What you can do is to use vinegar and a brush and clean out the water sources weekly.
Are Ducks Loud Pets?
So ducks make a lot of noise?
Yes they do. Ducks are very loud birds and they make a lot of noise especially when they are in a group and they are all quacking together.
Now if you are not bothered by this then you should also consider your neighbors or family members as the noise can be insanely loud and disturbing.
While this is a good thing as they are social animals and this is their means of communication, all it takes is one trigger to set them off in a loud noise.
Can I Keep Ducks in my Backyard?
Yes you can.
In Fact ducks are the perfect addition to any backyard or urban farm, this is because they are very easy going, tolerant to diseases and external parasites and even the cold weather does not disturb them much.
One thing you need to know is that unlike chickens, ducks are not used to confinement very well
So make sure that they have enough space in your backyard to roam about free and socialize with other animals.
Also they must be provided with clean water to drink, swim eat in, bathe in and also for reproduction.