From time immemorial, domestic ducks have served as a source of food and income for humans in many parts of the world. Today, ducks are mostly bred for the production of eggs and meat in homesteads and large yards, but they can also be bred as pets for fun. Ducks are sociable, clean, intelligent and very sociable animals; they can live in harmony with people if they are properly cared for. If you think that ducks as pets might be right for you, here are some tips for caring for ducks and a few points to consider before adopting a duck as a pet.
In this AnimalWised article, we explain this how to take care of a duck as a pet. We will also go through their diet, the environment and the most important hygiene measures.
The term “duck” refers to various birds in a large family Anatidae which are particularly well adapted to the aquatic environment. There are about 40 known species of ducks, divided into six subfamilies. Within the same species, there may be two or more subspecies and it is also possible for different breeds of ducks to develop through selective crossing within a subspecies.
Different types of ducks are divided into two main groups: Mallards and mallards.
- The wild duck (Anas platyrhynchos), also known as the mallard, is a widespread postman that breeds in temperate and subtropical America, Eurasia and North Africa. It has also been introduced in New Zealand, Australia and several countries in South America and South Africa. Unlike many other waterfowl, mallards are considered an invasive species in some regions. It is an extremely adaptable species that is able to live and even prosper in urban areas that were home to more native, endangered species of waterfowl before development.
- Speaking of domestic duckwe generally refer to a subspecies Anas platyrhynchos domesticus. Almost all species of domestic ducks, with the exception of the Muscovy duck (Cairina moschata) are the offspring of mallards. The most common domesticated species of ducks include Abacot Ranger, American Pekin, Ancona Duck or Black East Indie Duck.
Differences between wild and domestic ducks
As already mentioned, domesticated ducks are bred mainly for meat, eggs and feathers, although some are also bred for shows, as pets or for their ornamental value. Body size can often be a sign of domestication. Because domesticated ducks were bred for meat production, they usually have a large body size. In fact, a domestic duck can be twice the size of a mallard. Although not obviously larger, they tend to look bulkier and plumper, especially around the abdomen.
Here are some tips for caring for a duck. However, you should always keep in mind that each type of duck is different and requires special care. For this reason, it is always important to consult a veterinarian or duck specialist before choosing a domestic duck. Also, most species of ducks live in the wild and cannot, or at least should not be kept as pets.
To know how to take care of a domestic duck, it is important to know what the ducks eat to get a complete and balanced diet. First, ducks are omnivoresthis means that their body is ready to digest food of animal and plant origin.
In their natural habitat, ducks eat quite a bit varied diet. The duck can consume insects, aquatic plants, seeds, algae and small fish every day, depending on the food supply in season.
When we talk about feeding domestic ducks, we must realize the importance of a varied omnivore diet that fully covers its nutritional needs. In specialized stores you will find several recipes for balanced food for ducks, which can be a good alternative for feeding your birds, because it contains a balanced mixture of all the nutrients necessary for the body.
However, we advise you supplement the diet of domestic ducks with fresh and natural foods and give them a good amount of fiber and water. In addition to the intake of cereals, seeds, vegetables and fruits, it is also advisable to buy worms, insects, fish and crustaceans in order to supplement the diet with animal proteins. Ground eggshells and unsweetened yogurt are also good sources of calcium, but they should be offered in moderation.
Also, don’t forget to offer your birds duck groats, as they will have to eat them in moderation to break down the food. You should too provide a container with fresh, clean water within reach to keep them well hydrated.
To learn more about omnivores, please read our next article on omnivores with examples.
Authorized feed for ducks:
Here’s a look at some of the best fruits, vegetables, grains and seeds for ducks:
When it comes to fruits, remember that they contain relatively high amount of natural sugar. For this reason, ducks should be offered in moderation so as not to harm their health and promote obesity.
Prohibited food for ducks
Although they have a large digestive capacity, there are some potentially toxic foods for ducks that may not be part of their diet. Next we will look at some of them:
- Embedded, industrial, fried and / or spicy human food.
- Chocolate and chocolate drinks.
- Coffee and caffeinated beverages.
- Human delicacies in general (candies, chewing gum, biscuits, etc.).
- Milk and milk products (especially those that contain a lot of fat).
If you want to learn more about a suitable diet for wild and domestic ducks, don’t miss this next article on what not to feed ducks.
The space where your duck will live is another crucial factor in caring for a domestic duck, as it should provide the duck with optimal conditions for its physical and cognitive development.
Ducks occur on almost every continent, and therefore the natural habitat of each species and subspecies usually varies depending on their place of origin. Ducks tend to live near lakes, swamps, riverbeds, lagoons and streams. Most species are better adapted to freshwater waters, although there are some species of ducks that are adapted to brackish water.
Ducks usually spend several hours a day at the water’s surface, feeding, training and washing. So if you adopt a duck as a pet, you will definitely need a pond, swimming pool or other object that fulfills this function of water storage. You have to, too ensure proper hygiene this water tank to prevent the accumulation of impurities and food residues that promote the multiplication of potentially pathogenic microorganisms in the water.
Although the aquatic environment, domestic, is essential for their development ducks also require a terrestrial environment walk, warm up and dry your bodies. In this environment, they must have a clean, dry protected area where they can protect themselves from adverse weather and predators. A rabbit hutch or chicken coop may be the best “home” for your ducks, but make sure it is the right size to fit comfortably.
We would like to repeat it ducks are very clean animalsspends several hours a day adjusting feathers and maintaining a clean environment. That is why it is important that you maintain good hygiene in the environment where your ducks live. In addition to changing their food and water daily, you have to make sure that there is no accumulation of feces and leftover food. To facilitate the collection of faeces, we recommend that you cover the floor of your duck with sand.
Although these are hardy animals that can live up to 15 years in captivity, domestic ducks can also be affected by some common bird diseases or parasites that are common in birds, such as. mites and intestinal parasites. It is important to watch for the following symptoms daily, which may indicate that your duck is ill:
- Swelling of the nose, redness or runny nose
- Stool changes, either consistency (very hard or very soft) or color (yellowish, reddish or black)
- Difficulty breathing
- Wrinkled, dull or dirty looking feathers
- Redness of the eyes or discharge
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in usual behavior
To ensure that these symptoms do not affect the health of your ducks, do not neglect hygiene in their environment and always provide them with a complete and balanced diet to strengthen their immune system. In addition, it is important that you provide your ducks with the right preventative medicine and visit a specialist veterinarian at least once a year.
In addition to taking care of their physical needs, ducks can also suffer emotional consequences if their environment does not meet their cognitive and social needs. So if you decide to adopt a duck as a pet, you must pay attention to its mental stimulation and always set aside a special moment of the day to interact with your companion. In addition, some websites and specialty stores already offer toys and accessories that will enrich the environment for ducks and keep them happy.
Ducks are also very social animals who are used to living in groups. Loneliness usually affects them very easily and can lead to behavioral disorders and depression. For this reason, it is generally recommended to adopt at least one pair of ducks so that they can have a minimum of interaction with another individual of their species.
There are several animals that many people confuse with each other, including swans, geese and ducks. In this next article, we’ll explain the differences between swans and geese or ducks so you can tell the difference when you see some in the wild.
If you want to read similar articles like How to take care of a duck?we recommend visiting our Basic Care category.