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Do Ducks Carry Fleas? (What to do about it)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

People are often very vigilant when it comes to cats and dogs.

Those pets are very prone to bringing bugs, insects, and carcasses inside the house.

But do ducks carry fleas? Yes, they can. Ducks can carry fleas, mites, and other diseases on their bodies if you’re not attentive. While these infectious parasites may not be fatal to you, they can put your pet through a lot of misery.

To make sure your ducks are safe and healthy, you must know everything you can about these parasite problems, where they come from, and how to get rid of them.

Here’s everything you need to know to make sure your bird is safe and healthy. 

Do Ducks Carry Diseases?

Do Ducks Carry Fleas
Photo by Egor Kamelev on

Ducks are delightful, clean birds.

However, all types of poultry have the tendency to carry a certain kind of bacteria, called Salmonella.

If you come in direct contact with an infected duck’s droppings, you might catch the infection as well.

Even their beaks, feet, and feathers can be infected by salmonella germs.

And don’t be fooled by the bird’s appearance and color because they might look clean from the outside.

These germs aren’t visible to the naked eye, so you can never tell if the bird is infected.

This fact just makes the disease-causing agent even more dangerous. 

The risk is significantly higher if you just brought the pet home and have not washed it yet.

Avoid kissing or hugging the duck until you’ve given them a good wash and cleaned them yourself. 

Related: Here is an article I wrote showing you “how to tell if ducks have worms

What Kind of Bugs Live On Ducks?

Certain bugs are attracted to ducks, just like you are.

Just as you want to bring the birds home; bugs also wish to make them their home.

So, it’s kind of like a tug war between you and the insects.

Mites and lice are common findings, especially if the bird’s environment isn’t clean or regulated.  

The northern fowl mites spend a lot of their time on the bird.

They can last for about seven days to 3 weeks.

Chicken mites are nocturnal, which means they drink from the bird at night and hide during the day.

They usually find spots to hide under dirt clods and chicken coop.   

How Do I Know If My Duck Has Mites?

Infected ducks can look perfectly fine on the outside.

So, it’s tough to detect whether your bird has fleas or mites.

Some apparent symptoms do occur once they’ve been there for a while.

They include ragged, discolored feathers, scabs, scaly skin, and feathers falling out.

Check the scales and notice their pattern.

If they are not tight and flat against the bird’s feet, it might have scaly leg mites. 

The discoloration is often hard to find if the feathers are already colored.

You may have to do thorough checkups regularly to ensure that the colors are not changing or feeding anywhere.

Other than that, if your duck seems continuously irritated and ruffles his feathers all day long, give it a good check; there might be something hiding under the feathers. 

Do Ducks Carry Lice?

Absolutely! Ducks usually get feather lice, tiny parasites that invade the bird and live within its feathers.

Soon after the infection, ducks start to become irritated and stop eating properly.

Their sleep cycle is disturbed, and they don’t rest either.

As a result, your pet gets weaker day by day.

Once they have inhabited the duck, lice typically go through their complete life cycle on the bird.

How Do I Prevent Bugs From Infecting My Ducks?

It’s hard to keep animals and birds away from bugs and infections because they cannot be kept in a small space the entire time.

They like to move around freely, which exposes them to dirt, germs, and insects.

However, there are some things that you can do to lower the risk significantly: 

1. Keep the Ducks Clean

Make sure you bathe the ducks regularly with fresh, clean water and scrub once a week.

Ensure there are no buildups of dirt anywhere in the crevices or under the feathers. 

2. Clean and isolate their resting space 

Ensure no droppings are accumulating anywhere and the sand or dirt is fresh, without visible bugs.

Plus, limit the entry of other ducks and animals as much as you can. 

3. Immunize your birds

Get your ducks immunized against major infectious diseases.

Also, make sure that only immunized and vaccinated animals are around your duck. 

4. Take Care of their Food 

Before you feed them, make sure the food is fresh and clean.

Certain food items can also have infectious germs on them, so it’s always a good idea to check the food packet beforehand. 

Can Duck Lice Live on Humans? 

Lucky for you, lice from poultry do not infect humans.

They feed on poultry skin and feathers only, so they might transfer to chickens, but humans are relatively safe.

However, it is still not recommended that you touch, hug, and kiss the duck if it’s known to have lice.

Even if you’re not going to catch the infection, they’re still harmful exposure. 

They can cause frustrating problems like red marks that are itchy and very annoying.

So, while they may not be lethal, but they can take a toll on your comfort and overall health.

If the itching and redness aggravate, get yourself checked by a doctor and take appropriate medication until the lice leave you alone. 

Are Duck Fleas Harmful to Humans? 

Duck fleas usually don’t target humans; they are very particular and only attack ducks in the water!

However, that doesn’t mean humans can never catch these parasites. 

Suppose you’re swimming with your duck. Fleas or parasites in the water can mistakenly attack your body, thinking that you are a duck.

This way, humans can get infected accidentally.

However, the parasite cannot survive on you for long, so there’s not much to worry about. 

How Do I Get Rid of Duck Fleas? 

If you accidentally got the infection, or you think you might have, here is what you should do: 

Just get out of the water as soon as you can and take a shower immediately.

Wash those fleas right off!

This is also why most beaches have showers nearby.

In case there are any fleas or parasites in the water, it’s recommended that you wash before leaving for home.

Take a towel and dry yourself using brisk rubbing motions.

Doing this helps prevent the parasites from penetrating through your skin and rubs them off your body. 


Ducks do carry fleas.

In fact, these birds have the potential to carry mites and lice as well.

While these nasty infections are inevitable sometimes, you can take necessary precautions to keep them away.

If your birds still catch a bug, don’t fret.

Wash them, clean them, and get them checked by a professional.

They’ll let you know if your bird needs vaccination, medication, or anything else. 

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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