Raising a Pet Duck – The Box, the Pen, the Food and More
Are you looking for a different kind of pet? A duck is an excellent option: social, emotional, happy and peaceful. He likes to interact with people and feels very attached to you if you spend time with him and provide affection. Next we’ll analyze the care and accessories you have to provide for him to live in a happy domestic environment.
His natural habitat has water and outdoors for walking and running. Houses with courtyards and gardens are ideal for this pet.
First month of life
A duck younger than 4 weeks old is very sensitive to temperature changes and airflows because his body isn´t yet fully covered with feathers, and for this reason he must remain inside the house. Build a small home for him using a small cardboard or timber box to keep him dry and warm during his first month of life. You can place a heat lamp with infrared light (temperature of 86º F / 30° C) 24 hours a day in a corner of the box for him to get closer to it whenever he needs it.
The lamp should be at a height of 15 inches (38 centimeters) to prevent it from touching and burning the duck, and as he grows you´ll increase the height of the lamp. At six weeks he’ll already have a feathered chest and be more resistant to environmental temperatures; at that moment he no longer needs the heat lamp.
You can make a large pen for him to walk freely, covered with a fence on the top and sides to protect him from predators. At night he should sleep in a closed room with the door locked to keep the predators out.
Your duck should live with other ducks
He’s a social animal and feels safer in pairs or groups. It´s best not to force him to live alone.
Ponds, aquariums or pools
To make him feel happy he must have a pond or deep aquarium (minimum 60 centimeters / 24 inches) with large dimensions where he can dive. He must also have a ramp so he can go in and out without injuring his paws.
Image / “InAweofGod´sCreation”.
Ducks defecate while swimming so you need a filtration system to keep the pond clean. Another option is to use a kiddie pool or medium sized plastic tub: these are easier to clean and you can change the water every day, especially when it gets cloudy.
During the first 3 weeks he must be fed with special food for chicks and then switched to food for domestic ducks. You can supplement his diet with fresh vegetables and mashed grains (corn, rice and barley).
– He must always have fresh water available, which must be changed 2 times a day.
– The water bowl should be deep enough to allow him to dip in his beak and clean his nostrils.
– Since he´s got no teeth, he needs water to swallow the food.
It´ll help him feel comfortable when sleeping. The straw should be changed regularly to maintain the duck’s hygiene. Avoid using newspaper and wood shavings since they´re toxic for him.
Home or shelter
It’s useful to protect him against bad weather, cold, wind, rain and predators.
You must daily interact with your duck, playing, caressing and hugging him, but whenever children play with this pet, it should be under an adult´s supervision.
Cons of having a pet duck
– If you live in an apartment, your duck will not be happy being indoors 24 hours a day. He’s a sociable animal who likes to swim, enjoy the fresh air and stretch his wings, so keeping him caged all day is not emotionally healthy for him.
– You must prepare for the continuous quack-quack sound, which could become intolerable for you (and the neighbors if you live in an apartment, who can complain to the building’s community).
– He defecates frequently and you can´t train him in this regard (some people choose to make him use special diapers for ducks, so he doesn´t mess the floor).
– You got also a dog? The duck runs and flaps, which could stimulate the hunting instinct and entice the dog to chase and try to bite him.
Important points to highlight
Before bringing him home you have to be sure if they allow having this animal as a pet in the area where you live.
Ducks defecate excessively and his habitat should be cleaned daily as well as the water where he swims in order to avoid infections.
During his first month of life you must be careful when he´s swimming because he can drown.
Males fight when together. It’s better to have a male or a couple for every 5 females.
His average lifespan is between 9 and 12 years.