Ducks make very entertaining pets.
If they've been raised alone, they tend to think that they are part of whatever flock they're around. Sometimes they'll believe that they're human, a chicken or even a dog. They're just plain quackers!
- A male duck is called a drake, a female is called a duck. Babies are called ducklings.
- Ducks are related to geese and swans. The duck is the smallest of them all and have shorter necks and wings and a stout body. Ducks can live from 2-12 years, depending on the species.
- Ducks have webbed feet, which act like paddles. A duck waddles instead of walking because of its webbed feet.
- Ducks' feet have no nerves or blood vessels. This means ducks never feel the cold, even if they swim in icy cold water.
- Ducks' feathers are waterproof. There is a special gland that produces oil near the tail that spreads and covers the outer coat of feathers. Beneath this waterproof layer are fluffy and soft feathers to keep the duck warm.
- Ducks keep clean by preening themselves with their beaks, which they do often. They also line their nests with feathers plucked from their chest.
- Ducks were once wild until they were domesticated by the Chinese many hundreds of years ago.
Most farm ducks are of a species called "Pekin". It is harder to tell a male from a female with the Pekin ducks because they look almost the same. Pekin ducks have white or cream coloured feathers and orange coloured bills. They do not fly and do well in captivity. They are also excellent for egg and meat production.
Ducks as Pets
Pet ducks will entertain you with their antics and eat pesky slugs and snails. A female will produce abundant eggs.
To look after ducklings all you need is a large cardboard box, some shavings or straw, a heat lamp, a feeder and a waterer. As they grow, they will need more space and less heat. Keep an eye on the birds; if they stay away from the heat, turn it off, if they get their pen messy quickly, they need more bedding and more space. By 5 or 6 weeks they can probably be outside all the time in good weather.
Ducks need a deep enough water bowl so they can dip their heads in water 2 or 3 times a day. They need to wash their eyes otherwise they can get dry eyes and cataracts.
Ducks are social animals and will suffer if they don't have companionship. So if you can't make this commitment for the full 12 or so years a duck can live, you should get two or more ducks.