What should you expect from your duck?

Domestic ducks are interactive animals that will bond with humans. Ducks spend a large portion of their day swimming and foraging for food. The common species of domestic Ducks include the Mallard Duck, Peking Duck, Muscovy Duck, and the Crested Duck. The life span is approximately 10-15 years.

What should my duck eat?

Ducks are herbivores and eat mainly vegetables and plants. Free-ranging ducks will eat aquatic plant seeds, flowers, roots, and leaves. Captive or pet ducks should be fed a pelleted mash that is about 14-16% protein. The protein levels will need to be increased to about 16-18% when laying eggs. Ducklings need more protein and should be fed a mash with approximately 18-22% protein. Adolescent ducks need around 16% protein. Adult ducks should also be given supplemental chopped vegetables, calcium (i.e. oyster shells), chopped hard-boiled eggs with shell, cracked corn, and occasional bugs (i.e. garden snails, slugs, night crawlers or bloodworms). Food should be changed daily. All ducks should have access to additional fresh clean water that is changed daily.

Please do not feed your duck bread, chocolate, seeds, nuts, scratch grain, or foods high in fat, sugar, or salt.

How should ducks be housed?

Ducks should be housed in a clean, dry, and warm area that has access to water within a safe area to roam (i.e. pen or fenced yard). The enclosure must be secure to keep predators out. They should also be provided a shelter that is insulated as well as water and wind-proofed, but still allow adequate ventilation to prevent disease. In areas of sun, a source of shade should be provided. Shelter that is approximately 3 feet high and 5-6 square feet of floor space is recommended per duck. The floor should be easy to clean (i.e. concrete) but covered with substrate such as straw, hay, or sand. Substrate should be cleaned daily. A pond, or water for swimming, should be present at all times and easily accessible (a ramp may be needed for access). Water should be kept clean. In cases of extreme weather the ducks may need to be moved inside. Supplemental heat sources may be needed to provide additional heat in areas of cold weather.

Does my duck need vaccines?

Vaccines are not essential, but vaccination recommendations will vary depending on the area of the country (and world) where the ducks reside. Vaccines will depend on risk and what diseases are present in the wild duck population in your area. In some areas it is recommended to vaccinate for duck virus hepatitis, duck virus enteritis, Newcastle disease, avian influenza, or West Nile virus.

For more information visit: Association of Avian Veterinarians