The world of backyard poultry has boomed in the last ten years. Many people are learning that these “farm” animals have a lot more to offer than just meat and eggs. There are even famous Instagram ducks that have thousands of followers. But do ducks make good pets? How does this work? The best way to figure out if a pet is right for you is by looking at a few pros and cons. Let’s take a look!
Do Ducks Make Good Pets?
We believe for the right owner; any pet makes a good pet. But there are always conditions to everything. Ducks aren’t the easiest to take care of and aren’t best for beginner pet owners. Not only do they require a lot of space, but they also live a long time. This is a ten-year commitment in more cases. But if you are up for the huge responsibility, they are great with people and kids. Let’s take a look at some other reasons why you should get a duck.
Pros Of Owning Ducks
First, we will take a look at all of the best qualities of a duck. There are a lot of things that people don’t realize are tremendous benefits of owning ducks. And we are here to tell it all.
Cute And Fun
Ok, let’s face it. The reason you are here is that these little fluffy ducklings are super adorable. There is no denying that. But did you also know that ducks have big personalities? Ducks are naturally inquisitive things that seem to get into everything. They even play! So do ducks make good pets? We think so!
We love ducks because of their calm nature. They don’t frighten easily, and they don’t have a mean streak in their body. You will love the calm and collected nature that these birds bring to your yard.
While you might be familiar with chicken eggs, did you know you can eat duck eggs too? Ducks lay larger eggs with larger yolks, so they are perfect for keeping cakes and cookies moist. Plus, ducks lay about an egg a day, which is more than most chickens.
Won’t Ruin The Lawn
Ducks love to forage around the yard for tasty treats all day. But unlike other poultry, ducks won’t scratch up and ruin your turf while doing this. So you can have a beautiful lawn and ducks without a problem.
Easy To Tame
Some “farm” pets are tough to tame. With months and months of working with them, you will finally get them to trust you. But ducks are the exact opposite. The best time to get ducks is the day after they hatch. Ducklings will imprint on you and love you always as a part of your flock. And all without too much time and effort, just daily feeding and handling.
And finally, one thing that most people don’t think about is the fact that ducks provide excellent fertilizer. You can compost all of their bedding and feces to make a rich fertilizer for your garden. Some people even sell it for a nice profit, it won’t make much, but it will cover food costs.
Cons Of Owning Ducks
Now we will level with you and tell you, owning ducks isn’t all sunshine and daisies. Some tricky things come with these pets. But if they are something you can look past, then you are ready for ducks.
The first con of pet ducks is that they aren’t always legal. Before getting your heart set on these beautiful birds, you should check your local laws to see if you can have them. And then double-check that there are no stipulations on flock size, coop size, and zoning requirements.
Ducks love to talk. And they talk about everything. So it’s no surprise that this is the reason why most cities have banned ducks. If you love to sleep or have neighbors, ducks may not be the best option for you.
The next bad part is all the cleaning you will have to do. Ducks poop a lot, and they are messy eaters. But that’s nothing compared to how they play in the water. Mud will get everywhere, water dishes are never clean for long, and it seems like most of your free time is cleaning.
You might have this image of ducks migrating for the winter. But your pet ducks likely won’t fly at all and therefore need special winter treatment. Weather-proofing the coop and special feed for winter are both a must. Keeping the coop dry is also another challenging task. Since ducks love to swim in their water, they will often splash out onto the ground. These small puddles quickly freeze and become fall hazards for everyone.
Another con to keeping ducks as pets is that you can’t have just one. Ducks are such social creatures that they become depressed if left alone. Your company alone isn’t enough to satisfy their ducky needs. That means you will have to raise at least two ducks to keep them happy. But most people keep small flocks of 4-5 if they have space.
Not Inside Pets
Do ducks make good pets? Yes, they do, but not for indoors. You might have seen cute pictures where the ducks are wearing diapers and live inside with their humans. But this is no life for a duck. Not only is it hard for them, but it’s also really unhealthy for you.
So you think that you still want ducks? Great! There are a few more things you will need to know, though. Let’s take a few moments to talk about the essential care that your small flock will need. Of course, you will want to look a little more into this, as this is an elementary outline.
Ducks need a shelter outside called a coop. This can be a very basic construction, or you can buy one made explicitly for ducks. As long as the coop has 4 sqft of space per duck, and nesting boxes large enough for everyone, your ducks will be happy. The coop is just the place where your ducks sleep at night and lay their eggs, though. They will also need a run if they can’t free range throughout the day. These runs need 10 sqft per duck and are made of simple fencing.
One thing you won’t have to worry about is how to feed ducks. Duck food is in every feed store across America. And since ducks love to find their own food, they don’t eat as much as you would think. But the only condition they have is that they need special food and water dishes.
Since ducks have longer, broader bills, they need wider bowls. And the water dish needs to be 6 inches deep. This is because ducks clean their bills and nostrils often, and they mix water with their food for digestion. So 6 inches is the perfect depth to do this without making a huge mess.
Ducks and water go hand and hand. They love to swim, and it’s only natural. But you might be wondering how this works in a backyard setting. It’s not a complicated thing, and ducks really don’t need a whole pond to be happy. They gladly swim in their water dishes and puddles. However, they would love a designated swimming pool or even a tiny koi pond best. You could even add small minnows to the water for added fun!
Ducks are honestly some pretty hardy birds. They don’t get sick easily, and if they come from a reputable breeder, there aren’t many health defects. The only common things you will need to worry about are lice, mites, and intestinal parasites. You should treat your ducks for these at least twice a year to keep them under control. Besides that, there are vaccinations for most of the common viral infections that used to plague ducks.
And the last care topic is about what to do with your ducks in winter. The main thing you should worry about in winter is that your birds keep warm. Checking the coop for drafts, proper insulation, and adequate ventilation needs to be done every winter. You will also need to make sure that their water never freezes over to prevent dehydration. Other than that, your ducks are resilient to the cold winters.
Best Breeds For Beginners
So you want so ducks? You might be wondering what the best breeds to start with are. Here are our top three best choices if you’re going to raise a pet duck.
- Pekin- These ducks are the most popular in the USA. These ducks are known to be the friendliest ducks on earth. Most people even compare their personalities to dogs. Who wouldn’t want that in their feathery friends?
- Welsh Harlequin- If you want a funny duck with a gentle heart, you need the Welsh Harlequin. These birds love to explore and figure the world out. They even have a brave streak that makes them perfect for this.
- Cayuga- And the last duck on this list is magnificent. These ducks are quiet and gentle, with vibrant colors. Most people even claim they are the most peaceful birds you can have. So if you have neighbors, this is your best option.
So What Do You Think?
Do ducks make good pets for you? We admit they aren’t for everyone. But if you decide that you want to take on the task, you won’t be sorry. Ducks will liven up any backyard and create all kinds of adventures.