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Do Ducks Need a Pond?

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Have you ever seen ducks in places where there is no water? The answer is most likely no.

This is because ducks love water and are always happy where there is water.

And as someone who keeps ducks as pets and also farms them, I had this question initially.

Do ducks need a pond? Yes ducks need a pond of water to keep them happy but they love water. Ducks enjoy splashing around and having fun in water. Aside from using water to bath, they also use it for other important body functions like mating and keeping their mucous membranes moist.

Now here are a few misconceptions people have as regards ponds and the type of ponds they should get for their ducks.

  • First is that you need to have a large pond to be able to keep ducks in your backyard. This is absolutely not true. When I talk about ponds, in this article I do not mean the expensive type that most people use for raising fishes. A pond in this article simply means a small pool of water that your ducks can splash in and have fun. Nothing expensive and complicated to worry about.
  • The second one is that ducks do not need a pond at all. This is not true also and like I mentioned above, ducks enjoy splashing and playing in water and it also helps them perform some normal body functions.

Do ducks need to be in water?

Do Ducks Need a Pond?
Photo by Couleur on

Now we have answered that ducks definitely need a pond in your backyard, let us look at some of the reasons why.

1. It helps keep of parasites and mites

Ducks enjoy taking baths and splashing in water as a way to get rid of mites and parasites.

Ducks will keep themselves pest free and rid of all small rodents simply by taking clean baths all day.

So think about this the next time you wonder if ducks need a pond.

2. It is good for their oil gland

I found out from this article here that ducks have an oil gland at the base of their head that is activated whenever they splash water.

This gland helps them to distribute waterproofing oils over their feathers when preening their feathers 

It also helps them swim better and protects them from the cold

So you want to make sure that you provide them a pond where they can bath and splash water.

Related: Check out this article I wrote on do ducks need a coop?

3. It gives them strong feathers

Another thing you need to be concerned about is the feather health of your birds.

Immediately after a duck takes it’s bath, it takes some time to preen it’s feathers.

This preening helps to clean and condition the feathers making sure that your birds have strong feathers.

A duck’s feathers are very important because they shield them from harsh weather conditions and are also used for movement.

4. It is useful for mating

Ducks are known to be very fertile if they mate while swimming or bathing.

Yeah they can also mate while not in the water, but if there is a choice between mating in water and out of water, ducks will choose the water option.

5. It helps in their general happiness

If you have seen a flock of ducks splashing around in a pond, you can literally see the happiness on their face.

And this happiness is necessary for good health and strong birds.

Dirty and unhappy ducks will most likely be unhealthy ducks.

How big of a pond do you need for ducks?

Now this is where some people have issues and might find it a bit confusing

In my experience I will say go with your common sense

If you have a small amount of ducks like 1 – 5, then you can get them a kiddie pool

My personal recommendation is this one I found on Amazon, Dycsin Plastic PVC Swimming Bath Pool, a kiddie pool that is ideal for ducks and is very cheap 

If you have more birds and you want to give them a pond then here are some dimensions for you.

Duck ponds do not need to be very deep and a depth of 18 inches to 24 inches will do just fine.

Remember I said that you want something that is not too expensive and is very easy to set up

Ducks will do just fine as long as they have something splash and bath in. they do not care if it is an olympic size pond or a small kiddie pool.

Can ducks ruin ponds?

If you have a separate pond in your backyard and you want to introduce your ponds to it, my advice will be to not do it

This is because ducks are very messy birds and most times after playing in the mud, they come over to the ponds and wash off.

However if you have adequate water filtration you should be okay

Basically you want an inlet and outlet that allows clean water to enter the pond and also allows for dirty water to be passed out.

Ducks will eat all sorts of pondlife including tadpoles by the thousand and even adult frogs, and foul the water. 

Certainly don’t put food out for them. 

I used to have a wild female that nests every year in the undergrowth (despite our best efforts chasing them away), but the ducklings don’t spend more than a few minutes on our ponds before she leads them away (I think over the fields towards the nearest river, which is quite a long way away).

Can pekin ducks live in a pond?

Yes pekin ducks can live in a pond

In fact these are one breed of ducks that enjoy living on the water so much that they can spend all their lives in a pond of water.

But there are some things that you need to be aware of. A body of water can only support so many ducks.

Having so many pekin ducks in a pond can actually damage the ecosystem and create unhealthy living conditions.

Do ducks help clean ponds?

Well it depends on what you mean by cleaning ponds.

If you mean getting rid of frogs and tadpoles in your pond, then yes they are perfect for that.

But aside from that, ducks are very messy birds and will dirty or ruin your ponds if you allow them.

So it’s a bit of a balancing act, do you want them to help get rid of tadpoles and frogs in your pond or do you want them messing it up.

How do you keep your duck pond water clean?

Providing your ducks with clean water is a very essential cos just like I mentioned above water is essential for the healthy growth of your birds.

1. Develop a cleaning routine

First you need to develop a cleaning routine for cleaning your duck ponds and coop

Doing so will ensure that molds, mildew, viruses and bacteria do not accumulate and grow up in your pond.

My personal preference is cleaning once or twice a month.

Keeping your duck pond clean by disposing of waste and disinfecting the structure also helps keep the water clean. 

Ducks tend to scratch the soil looking for bugs and anything else to feed on. 

In this process, they often kick up dirt, waste and debris into their water source. 

Cleaning your pond regularly will get ahead of the problem and alleviate any issues caused by impurities entering your chickens’ water source.

2. Consider using a closed watering system

This was a huge time saver for me when I discovered this as i had been using traditional methods for a long time

So what I will do is use pans and buckets and manually change the waters for my ducks

This was stressful and used to take my time but when I discovered a closed watering system, things became so much easier.

A closed watering system is basically sealed and also prevents contaminants and bacteria from entering your water source.

Another major advantage of the closed watering system is that it keeps water constantly flowing so your birds are always clean.


Ducks need a pond of water to live a healthy life. Water is essential for the birds for numerous reasons.

So you want to ensure that your birds have a fresh supply of clean water all the time.

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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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