Ducks can be such a rewarding pet to keep in your backyard. However, as ducks of course have wings, you will naturally be worried about them flying away if they’re left to roam around.
The good news is that most domesticated duck breeds aren’t actually able to fly. This is because selective breeding made them larger, so that their wings aren’t suitable for flight. Breeds of duck which won’t be able to fly include pet Rouens, domesticated Pekins, and even more medium sized birds such as Cayugas.
Some breeds such as Runner ducks may be able to achieve flight but only for shorter distances. They won’t be able to stay in sustained flight, so are unlikely to fly away. For all of these breeds you won’t have to worry about clipping their wings.
It may be necessary to clip the wings of smaller duck breeds such as Call ducks and domesticated Mallards. You can also train them to stick around your backyard. These ducks will likely bond with you, too, making them even less likely to fly away, even though they have the ability to.
However, if you’re particularly concerned about your pet duck flying away, you can always clip their flight feathers. This will likely be more of a concern if you have a particularly large flock.
Can I let my ducks roam free?
You can let your ducks roam free around your backyard, and this will be very beneficial for them on the whole. However, you will need to bear a few things in mind first. As we’ve mentioned in more detail above, you may need to clip the wings of your duck, depending on the breed you have, and how many you have in your flock.
Another factor you will need to consider is that they have a safe environment to roam in. This will mean fencing them off from any potential predators who will try and get an easy meal. The fencing won’t entirely prevent predators such as foxes, raccoons, and coyotes from getting into the enclosure, but it will slow them down so that you have more time to react.
When you’ve made your backyard safe from predators, you should be able to allow your ducks to roam about as they please. This will give them the exercise they need to stay fit and healthy, too! They are even great for clearing out any pesky bugs that might be plaguing your backyard.
Do ducks return to the coop at night?
Unlike chickens, ducks won’t naturally return to the coop at night unless they are trained to. This may not bother you if you have a large backyard for them to roam around in. However, you should be aware that nocturnal predators could be lurking nearby, eyeing up your waterfowl.
You will need to train your ducks from a young age to go into the coop at night so you can keep them safe. A chicken coop should be ideal as long as it gives your ducks enough room.
It should be fairly easy to round up your ducks, as they usually stick together in a flock. Ducks will easily come when called if you train them to expect food just before you need to put them to bed, too.
Should ducks be locked up at night?
You should always lock your ducks up at night, yes. This is because if they are left to their own devices, they will sleep in your backyard where they will be vulnerable to nocturnal predators.
You may notice them trying to sleep on your pond, but unless this body of water is large enough to prevent anything from swimming out to them, they’ll be unlikely to survive the night.
As we’ve mentioned above, ducks won’t naturally return to the coop each night until they have been taught to do so. You should use food as an incentive to get them to associate the coop with positive things. This should make it much easier for you to train them to go to bed where you can keep them locked up safe until the morning.
How do I stop my ducks from flying away?
The best way to prevent your ducks from flying away - if they are a breed that can fly - is to make them feel safe in their home environment. You should determine whether you have chosen a breed that is capable of flight before you need to start worrying about them flying the coop.
Some domestic duck breeds that can’t fly are: Aylesbury, Buff Orpington, Cayuga, Magpie, Pekin, Rouen, Runners, Saxony, Silver Appleyard, and Swedish. These breeds aren’t capable of fleeing your backyard, so you won’t have to worry about clipping their wings.
Some breeds of domestic duck that are capable of flight are: Australian Spotted, Bantam Hybrids, Call, Campbell, East Indies, Mandarin, Miniature Silver Appleyards, Muscovy, Welsh Harlequin, as well as game and wild breeds such as Mallards. If you’re particularly worried about these duck breeds fleeing from your backyard, you can clip their flight feathers.
However, if you have a smaller flock of ducks, they should start to bond with you, which will make them less likely to fly away. As long as you give them plenty of space to roam in an environment safe from predators, as well as a pond or paddling pool, they should thrive in your backyard.
So there you have it! Your backyard ducks shouldn’t fly away if they have bonded with you and you have a small enough flock. The majority of domestic duck breeds are also unable to fly, so you shouldn’t have to worry about your new ducks disappearing into the sky.
If you want to let your ducks roam free range, you will need to ensure that they have a safe enclosure to do so in order to prevent predators from getting to them. It’s also best to teach them to return to the coop at the end of the day. You will need to keep your ducks locked up safe at night to prevent any nocturnal predators from eating them.