Ducks are cute and silly little animals that actually make good family pets as they’re quite sociable and can be affectionate towards people they’re comfortable with.
Many people who own farms will keep ducks as pets as they have good temperaments and also can be used as a good form of pest control. However, can you keep a duck in your backyard?
The answer is yes, you can keep a duck or ducks as pets in your backyard and it’s a lot easier than some people expect but you’ll still want to ensure that your yard is big enough and also that the environment is just right for them to live comfortably.
We’ll be taking you through everything you should know if you’re thinking about having ducks as pets to keep in your backyard.
Are ducks easy to keep?
Yes, keeping and caring for ducks in your backyard is pretty easy and no more difficult than keeping chickens in your yard.
You’ll need to be careful about what breed of ducks you’re planning to get as you’ll want ones that are flightless so they won’t escape from your yard.
If you want to ensure that your duck won’t fly off and leave you then consider getting a runner duck which is a flightless breed that runs around instead of waddling like typical ducks. These little guys will keep you entertained whilst you watch them run around at full speed with their wings directly by their sides.
These runner ducks also frequently lay eggs, so if you were hoping to keep ducks to have fresh eggs right from your own backyard throughout the year.
Even though ducks are sociable creatures and will enjoy your company when you come into the yard, they’ll be able to entertain themselves when you’re busy throughout the day so you won’t have to fuss over them like you would with a dog.
Are ducks or chickens better?
When you weigh up all the pros and cons of keeping ducks and chickens in your backyard, the duck comes out on top. One of these reasons is because they’re a whole lot quieter than chickens so won’t irritate your neighbors, whereas roosters will crow at dawn every morning giving everyone who lives near you an unwelcome wakeup call.
Ducks are a lot healthier and easier to look after than chickens as they keep themselves cleaner, therefore, they are less susceptible to mites and parasites. Ducks are less likely to contract diseases as they have stronger immune systems, this means fewer visits to the vets and lower care costs for you.
Many people who want to enjoy having fresh eggs assume that they’d have to have chickens, but ducks are good at laying eggs too and in some breeds, better and more consistent at laying than some chickens.
Ducks are also friendlier to other members of the group so if you plan on having more than one duck or intend to introduce more into your duck family later on down the line, then you shouldn’t have any issues trying to integrate a newcomer into your flock.
Ducks are also a lot easier to herd than chickens are, meaning when it’s time for bed, you won’t have to spend too long gathering everyone together to return to their house for the night.
Do ducks need a coop?
Ducks do not need a designated coop like chickens do as they do not return to their houses to nest at night like chickens do all though they will require a space of their own. A little shelter or even a large dog house will be adequate as it’ll give them a place that they can shelter from rain, sun, and wind any time that they want.
Try to make sure that the opening of their shelter faces away from any oncoming wind as this won’t be comfortable for them during the colder months. It may also be a good idea to have a closable door on the shelter to protect them from any predators like foxes in the nighttime.
You can insulate the house during the winter but if you’ve got more than one duck then they’ll normally nestle together in their house to keep warm if they’re cold.
You should try to keep their house bedded with straw and wood shavings to keep them comfortable when they’re sleeping.
In regards to an enclosure for your ducks to run around with, we’d recommend you try and let your ducks have as much freedom as possible to ensure they’re happy. This may not be possible if you’ve got other pets like dogs or cats in your home.
If this is the case, then consider setting up a fenced-off area for your ducks where no other pets can harm or come into contact with them. Make sure their pond or small pool is within this area so they have full access to it whenever they want.
Ducks won’t ruin your yard when foraging around as chickens do, so there’ll be no chance of them ruining your vegetable patches or flowerbeds. However, they’ll do a great job at eating unwanted insects and pests that could cause harm to your yard.
Do pet ducks need a pond?
Ducks technically do not need a pond to survive, but there is a reason why you’ll most commonly find ducks swimming around on ponds or lakes and that’s because they love water. So if you are sure about getting a duck, at least look into installing a nice little pond into your yard so they can live their best lives.
If you’re set against installing a pond into your yard, then consider getting a small paddling pool for them to jump in or duck their heads into now and again. They’ll need a constant supply of clean water so make sure you’re changing the water in the paddling pool every day as no duck wants to drink or bathe in dirty water.
This may seem like a lot of water wastage for some tiny ducks, but you could always use it to water any plants or flowers in your yard.
The paddling pool will need to be deep enough for your ducks to submerge their heads comfortably. Make sure that there is a way for your ducks to get into and out of the pool either through some steps or with a ramp, otherwise you’ll catch yourself having to help them out of the pool each time.
If you’ve already got a swimming pool built into your yard, then you may find your ducks enjoying themselves out on the water now and again. This is safe for them, even if the water is chlorinated. Ducks would have to drink a large quantity of chlorinated water for it to become harmful for them, however, most well-maintained pools have normal healthy levels of chlorine that don’t affect humans or ducks.
Be careful if you do have a swimming pool as they may get stuck in there if there are not any steps or ramps for them to get themselves out with.
The truth is, if you haven’t got the room to install a pond or pop up a paddling pool in your yard, then you probably haven’t got the room to keep ducks at all as water is an essential part of their lives for cleaning, mating, and their own happiness.
What do you do with ducks in the winter?
In the winter, you’ll just want to take precautions to ensure your ducks are kept warm. Put down a bale or two of hay or straw in their home, ensuring to cover the ground so they’re kept off the cold flooring.
It’s also important to prevent their water supply from freezing so if you do have a pond or a paddling pool in your yard you’ll want to place some heated bowls of water or fill their paddling pool up with warm or hot water (depending on the outside temperature) so they still can swim and mess around.
If you live in an area that’s prone to experiencing snow and ice in the colder months, then keep on top of your feeding schedule with your ducks and even supply them with some extra food. If snow and ice covers the grass and green areas of your yard then ducks will be unable to forage for insects and pests like they normally would.
Do not place a heat lamp in their shelter or home as this can be a fire hazard as they’ll have straw and hay in there. Adequate bedding and hay will be enough to keep them warm in the cold wintertime.
They do enjoy being outside in the sunshine on cold wintery days and their feathers keep them warm enough to be comfortable to spend a large portion of the day outside. However, create a wind barrier around their foraging or area where they are free to roam around to prevent them from being exposed to harsh cold winds.
How do you keep ducks quiet?
The best way to keep your ducks quiet is by keeping them in their coop in the evening so their quacks or noises are more muffled by the house, this way they shouldn’t be too much of a nuisance to your neighbors.
Making sure they’re made to feel safe and protected in their home and environment will ensure they’re quiet as if they hear incoming predators they’ll squeak, quack, or even bark.
Before you even consider getting ducks, you should check with your neighbors if they’d be happy with you having them. Not everyone’s ok with the idea of being woken up to the sound of a dozen ducks quacking in the early hours of the morning.
What is needed to keep ducks?
To keep ducks, you’ll need a large enough space in your yard that your ducks can roam around all day. They will need access to clean water in the form of a pond or a small kids paddling pool that they can clean themselves in and also splash around in to have fun.
They’ll also need a little house that they can go to when they want to shelter from bad weather and to sleep in during the nights. This could be a large dog house or a designated duck or chicken coop, that will need to be filled with hay to insulate it in the winter months.
You’ll need to ensure you’ve got the finances to be able to look after your ducks if they fall ill and make sure you’re able to feed them appropriately with duck feed or with green vegetables.
A yard that is fenced off and protected from predators is key to keeping your ducks happy and undisturbed when you’re not always around to watch them.