9 tips and tricks for keeping indoor pet ducks

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Domesticated ducks don’t just produce great eggs, they can also make great pets. In this article, we’ll detail our top tips and tricks for keeping indoor pet ducks — while keeping them happy and healthy. 

Ducks as pets?

We’ve been flockmates with a group of Welsh Harlequin ducks for almost a decade now. Our life with these delightful creatures has turned us into full-fledged duck evangelists.

As we’ve written about elsewhere:

But what about the “pet” category? Can ducks actually make good pets? Yes!

Pregnant Tyrant enjoying nightly cuddle time with Jackson and Mawy, our two ducks who come indoors at night.

Pregnant Tyrant enjoying nightly cuddle time with Jackson and Mawy (aka Marigold), our two ducks who come indoors at night.

After seeing our videos and photos of cuddly ducks and reading our article How to get your ducks to like you, we’ve had lots of people reach out asking us to provide more information about how to keep pet ducks. In particular: how do you keep ducks in your own house (not just in a backyard duck coop)?

Pretty much everyone knows how to keep cats and dogs as pets, but there aren’t many resources out there for new or intending pet duck *parents.

Since we’ve long had two of our ducks indoors with us every night (the others sleep outside) and those ducks also share a bed with us, we figured our years of experience make us one of the world’s top authorities on keeping happy, healthy pet ducks. (Ha!)  

9 tips and tricks for keeping pet ducks indoors  

Below are our top nine tips for other new or intending pet duck parents:

1. Please make sure your ducks have daily outdoor time (in a safe, non-toxic environment). 

You might want your pet ducks to live indoors 24-7, but that’s not what’s best for your ducks.

Ducks LOVE foraging for insects, worms, and snails. They love exploring. They love taking a nap in the lawn with their friends in a nice sunbeam. They love snapping at sprinkler water. 

Pippa the duck hunting insects and experiencing the full joy of her duckness. Asked

Pippa the duck hunting insects and experiencing the full joy of her duckiness. Asked “what is best in life” she responds in Konan the Barbarian voice “To eat slugs, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women!”

In short, your pet ducks will be happiest if they have a good amount of outdoor time on a daily basis. And as with humans, happier ducks are healthier ducks

Just be sure the outdoor environment your ducks have access to is safe from predators and doesn’t contain environmental risks such as:

  • sharp objects 
  • thorny low-growing plants (to prevent duck flipper injury) 
  • pieces of scrap metal that they might swallow or old nails
  • broken glass
  • spots where oil, gasoline, or chemicals have been poured or dumped
  • pesticide contamination (including lawn herbicides, rat bait, pesticides used by termite control companies, etc) – like all birds, ducks are especially sensitive to pesticide exposure.  

Our ducks are an integral part of our edible organic urban landscape. They provide soil fertility and pest control in our gardens, and they produce the world’s most delicious eggs for their human caretakers (us).

They also happen to be the most adorable and hilarious pets we could ever ask for. (No offense to Bob the Cat, who’s pretty darn cute, too.) 

2. Ducks need constant companionship, so don’t just have one duck. 

Ducks are highly social creatures who need at least one other companion critter around at all times to feel safe, secure, and happy. Ideally, that other critter is another duck, but young ducklings can also imprint off of and bond to other animals (people, dogs, etc). 

Assuming you plan to occasionally leave your house over the 10+ years of your pet duck’s life, you’ll need to keep this fact in mind, e.g. plan to get at least two ducks if you want pet ducks. Recommendation to prevent potential over-mating issues: either get two drakes (males) or two females. Don’t get one male and one female duck.  

What if an emergency happens? One of your pet ducks dies and the one left behind doesn’t have another friend? A ground-level mirror is a good temporary stand-in to keep your duck happy (hey, there’s another really good-looking duck hidden in there!), but they’ll ultimately need another real, living companion.     

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the best pet duck of them all?

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the best pet duck of them all?

3. Be mindful of these two oft overlooked health essentials for indoor pet ducks…

Two things that are important for the health of your indoor ducks that you might not think about are: 

a. Access to grit for digestion 

Ducks don’t exactly have good table manners or chew their food. In fact, Emily Post would be absolutely appalled by what ducks consider to be good etiquette: eat as quickly as possible, spill as much food and water as possible, and walk away from (or over) the dinner table leaving behind a trail of muck. While also pooping. 

In fact, our ducks often seem disgusted by us when we have the nerve to clean up their messes. They look at us like “do you know how much trouble I went through to create that pile of liquid squalor — and you have the nerve to just come along and destroy it with a towel and vacuum?!” 

Given that ducks aren’t high up on the food chain, these behaviors served them well in the wild: eat and run ASAP before a predator comes, then let the “chewing” happen later via their specialized digestive systems

 You might have noticed that ducks don’t have teeth (they do have specialized mouth parts that help them grip, filter, and swallow food). Instead, their food is “chewed” in their ventriculus/gizzard with the aid of grit and small rocks that outdoor ducks’ regularly eat while foraging

Long story short: if your pet ducks are not able to forage outdoors in soil, you need to make sure they have access to grit so they can properly digest their food. No, oyster shell (commonly used as a supplement for egg laying ducks) is NOT a viable substitute for grit, since it breaks down too quickly relative to rock. 

Years back, we had a sick duck inside for a month one winter and noticed her constantly trying to eat the small rocks in the base of our fireplace. Once we gave her access to a bowl of grit, she lost interest in our fireplace. 

b. Access to adequate sunlight 

The girls in a planning session for tomorrow's outdoor grasshopper hunt.

The girls in a planning session for tomorrow’s outdoor grasshopper hunt.

Ducks need sunlight exposure in order to be healthy and happy.

How much sunlight does a duck need? It depends…

  • Egg laying ducks – In Storey’s Guide to Raising Ducks, Dave Holderread notes that ducks are even more sensitive to sunlight levels than chickens are, adding: “we have found 12 hours of daylight is sufficient” in egg laying ducks.   
  • Drakes or non-egg laying females – If you have drakes or you have female ducks who aren’t laying eggs, their light requirements are greatly reduced. It’s impossible to say exactly how much sunlight they need at all ages under all scenarios, but our best educated guess is that a minimum of six hours average daily sunlight would be a good bottom end estimate.    

So, if at all possible, make sure your pet ducks have some combination of the following scenarios:

  1. daily outdoor time in a safe, secure, sunny spot;
  2. unfettered access to natural sunlight coming in through a sunny, south-facing window inside your home; or
  3. access to a quality artificial lighting device.  

4. You’ll probably want to diaper your indoor duck. 

Ducks poop more than any other animal on earth. (We don’t know if that’s actually true, but it sure seems like it.) If you plan to have indoor ducks, you’ll need to plan for this reality accordingly… 

No, you can not potty train a duck. Instead, you’ll want to either:

  1. carefully consider which areas of your home you want your ducks to have access to; or
  2. diaper your ducks. 

Since the two ducks we bring indoors are very much a part of our family, we diaper them. That way, they can be lap ducks, cuddle on the couch during movie night, sleep in bed with us, etc.. It also means we minimize the amount of time we spend cleaning up after our ducks. 

Jackson the duck giving The Tyrant's pregnant belly a massage. Pet ducks.

Jackson the duck giving The Tyrant’s pregnant belly a massage. Ducks make much better pets (and masseuses) if they’re wearing diapers.

Want to learn how to diaper ducks? We’ve got a whole article + instructional video showing you exactly how to diaper your ducks!  

Our duck diapering schedule for our nighttime indoor ducks is as follows:

  • diaper as soon as they come inside;
  • bath right before bed, let them dry, then re-diaper before going to bed; 
  • remove diaper in morning when putting them back outside.  
  • *In the winter, when our ducks come inside much earlier, we usually do one additional diaper change before bed as well. The Tyrant’s general rule is to re-diaper the ducks every 4 hours, except overnight when we’re sleeping and the ducks don’t have access to food.  

5. Get a duck-friendly indoor duck food & watering station to reduce mess.  

As mentioned previously, ducks are not exactly the Emily Posts of the animal world. If you leave their food and water bowls out in the open, it’s only a matter of time before said food and water is covering a 10′ radius around the area (including your walls) and both bowls are tipped over. Because that’s what ducks find beautiful and think is best in life. 

However, you can control your ducks’ desire to make your home duck-worthy. One way to do this is by using a Neater Feeder to house their food and water dishes. This means:

  • no bowl tipping;
  • 95% of spilled water is contained and goes into the chamber below the dish, which you can easily empty;
  • minimal cleanup and no more crying yourself to sleep at night wondering why and how you fell in love with feathered house pigs. 

*Bonus tip: put a rubber spill tray (here’s the one we use) under the Neater Feeder and a non-slip, absorbent bath mat (or towel) in front of it to eliminate virtually all mess and make cleanup a breeze.   

We bring two of our ducks in at night. This is what their clean Neater Feeder station looks like BEFORE they've had their way with it.

We bring two of our ducks in at night. This is what their clean Neater Feeder station looks like BEFORE they’ve had their way with it.

Our two nighttime indoor ducks have access to their neater feeder all evening. At night, we put their Neater Feeder on a small table (with towel on top) next to the bed, but only give them water + fresh greens at night, no food. This reduces the volume of content in their overnight diapers, helping prevent diaper “overflows.”   

Our girls' Neater Feeder station at the base of the bed. The Neater Feeder is on a small table with a towel on top. Added bonus: several times throughout the night, we get to hear the soothing sounds of ducks drink-eating lettuce, which sounds like ten people at a spoonless soup eating contest.

Our girls’ Neater Feeder station at the base of the bed. The Neater Feeder is on a small table with a towel on top. Added bonus: several times throughout the night, we get to hear the soothing sounds of ducks drink-eating lettuce, which sounds like ten people at a spoonless soup eating contest.

Unless there’s something unusual going on, your partly-indoor ducks have the same nutritional requirements as fully-outdoor ducks. For detailed duck nutrition requirements (including ducklings, adult ducks, laying ducks, and drakes), read our article about duck food/nutrition.    

6. Your indoor ducks will need to swim & bathe.  

As you might have heard, ducks like water. That’s why they look like bowling pins walking around on paddles. Land creatures, they are not.  

For optimal feather health (and overall health and happiness) ducks need regular access to enough water to swim, splash, and clean in. We have a dedicated indoor bathtub for our indoor ducks that requires quite a bit of extra cleaning. Another option (which we’ve also used) is to have a large stainless steel or galvanized tub right outside your house. 

Either way, we’d recommend an absolute minimum of two swims per day for your pet ducks.  

Jackson (front) and Mawy (back) preening after a tub bath. Ducks spend hours each day meticulously cleaning and caring for their feathers after swimming. Feathers are as important to duck culture as clothes, garments, and jewelry are to human culture.

Jackson (front) and Mawy (back) preening after a tub bath prior to bed. Ducks spend hours each day meticulously cleaning and caring for their feathers after swimming. Feathers are as important to duck culture as clothes, garments, and jewelry are to human culture. Feather health is biologically essential as well: for floating, swimming, body temperature moderation, Vitamin D production, fighting mites, etc.

7. Provide a safe overnight sleeping area for your indoor ducks. 

Again, given their relatively low position on the food chain, ducks have some very peculiar sleeping habits…

First, they’re very light sleepers. Chickens are basically out cold from sundown to sun-up. Ducks take lots of little naps throughout the night, but move around, drink, eat, etc throughout the night as well. 

They can also close one eye and put half their brain to sleep, while keeping the other eye and the other half of their brain awake. (Yes, seriously.) 

Do your pet ducks need an indoor perch? Not unless they’re Muscovies or other members of the tree duck clade. However, almost all domesticated ducks are ground-sleeping ducks that don’t need a perch. 

Our Welsh Harlequin ducks nap on-and-off throughout the day (usually in groups under a bush since this arrangement provides additional protection). At night, our indoor ducks take longer naps on our bed.

Seriously, who wouldn't want this level of feathered cuteness in their bed at night? Pet ducks

Seriously, who wouldn’t want this level of feathered cuteness in their bed at night? (Answer: Bob the Cat who no longer has room to get in bed because the ducks chase him away.)

Unless they’re laying eggs or broody, ducks don’t require a nest. Any spot will do, so long as they are (and feel) safe and secure – not in your laundry room next to the loud washing machine and cat door. Also, ducks generally like routines, so don’t change their overnight sleeping spot unless you have to.   

If you do have an egg-laying or broody indoor pet duck, you might consider putting them in an enclosed cat/dog carrier at night with bedding in the bottom (pine or aspen shavings). Obviously, under this scenario, your ducks would not be diapered. 

8. You might have to do duck flipper toenail maintenance. 

Like a lot of critters (humans included) ducks have toenails.

Ducks have feet only a parent could love or find beautiful. They look like mutant lizard feet. Due to our duck obsession (or sickness), we find duck feet oddly adorable.  

Ducks like to stand on one foot and curl the other foot next to them - or tuck it into their fluff on cold winter days. A curled up duck foot looks like a pruned lizard, but we think they're adorable.

Ducks like to stand on one foot and curl the other foot next to them – or tuck it into their fluff on cold winter days. A curled up duck foot looks like a pruned iguana, but we think they’re adorable.

Outdoor ducks put enough natural wear and tear on their toenails to keep their nails ground down to a relatively small size. Indoor ducks walking exclusively on carpet, tile, and/or hardwoods will NOT wear down their toenails. 

This means: a) if you have exclusively indoor ducks (which we don’t recommend), or b) if your ducks don’t get enough outdoor time to grind down their own toenails, you’ll need to clip their toenails yourself. 

Our two partly indoor ducks spend enough time outside that we’ve never had to clip their toenails. However, if your pet ducks have long or curled toenails that need clipping, Open Sanctuary has a good article about how to safely trim your ducks’ toenails without injuring them

Ideal length of duck toenails. Ducks that get adequate outdoor time wear their toenails down naturally and don't require nail cuttings.

Ideal length of duck toenails. Ducks that get adequate outdoor time wear their toenails down naturally and don’t require nail cuttings.

9. Have a good vacuum (not optional). Have a good air purifier (optional). 

We’ve already mentioned the Neater Feeder as a way to reduce food and water splash from your indoor/pet ducks. What else should you expect when you have pet ducks? Any other duck cleaning tips? 

Most ducks molt twice per year.

“Molting” means certain old feathers fall out and are replaced by new feathers. Ducks are very grumpy during this time period, partly because they’re instinctively more frightful since they’d be unable to fly away from danger if they were wild ducks, and partly because being touched on spots where new feathers are coming in is painful to them. 

Two months prior to this photo, Jackson's head was almost white, then she molted into her darker fall plumage.

Two months prior to this photo, Jackson’s head was almost white, then she molted into her darker fall plumage. This made for some extra indoor cleaning for her humans.

If your pet indoor duck is molting, you’re in for quite a mess. Your house will soon look like 10 people got into a deadly pillow fight. (On that note, please don’t get down pillows.) 

This means lots of sweeping and/or vacuuming. If you don’t already have a good vacuum designed for cleaning up after animals, you’ll probably want to get one. The good news is that duck feathers are great for compost or garden fertilizer!  

What about indoor air quality with indoor ducks?

When they’re molting, ducks can create quite a lot of indoor air particles.

Years back, The Tyrant did some digging to find the best indoor HEPA air purifier on the market that wouldn’t break the bank. We’ve been using a Rabbit Air purifier ever since and it does a remarkably good job. 

You certainly don’t have to get an air purifier if you have pet ducks indoors, but if you have breathing issues or allergies, it can be a big help.    

We hope this article helps you be an excellent parent to your pet ducks — or take excellent care of a sick or injured duck who has special needs!

Domesticated ducks don't just produce great eggs, they can also make great pets. In this article, we'll detail our top tips and tricks for keeping indoor pet ducks — while keeping them happy and healthy.  #tyrantfarms #raisingducks #raisingfowl #raisingpoultry #houseducks #indoorducks

Do you have other questions or concerns about raising pet ducks? Let us know in the comments!

Also, be sure to check out the video/Google Web Story version of this pet duck article!


Related duck articles that will quack you up:

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  • Reply
    Mary-Hudson Harrelson
    September 8, 2023 at 5:18 pm

    Hi! I’m wondering what diaper you use? My house duck poops literally so much and I really have been trying to find the perfect diaper after trying multiple others. Where do you get your diapers? Thanks!!

  • Reply
    Christy Kats
    August 21, 2023 at 10:28 am

    Hi! Looking for a little advice. We stay weekends at a campground in Michigan. At the start of the season this year (end of April) a female Pekin duck showed up at the beach here. Thinking someone may have dumped her here. I along with most people in the campground have become super attached to this duck. Her name is Miss Mable. She thrives here and has made the humans hear her pack. She is fine with not having other ducks around. I want to take her home with me at the end of the season since leaving her “wild” in the winter is obviously not an option. I live in a subdivision on a 1/2 acre corner lot. The problem is I was told by our town that while I can have her outside with me, I cannot house her outside. But can house her in my garage and house. I have been researching and learning about her for months. I do have room in my garage and have the set up planned out. Duck house, flooring, hay, baby pool, heat lamp etc. I only work away from home twice a week so have plenty of extra time on my hands in winter months to care for her. I plan to get diapers etc to keep her in the house with me. And plan to leash train her. Outside of going home with me I’m not sure what would happen to her. And I want her bad but I want her to also live the best life. Can you offer me any advice as to the best way to move forward? My biggest concern is her outdoor time and how to handle that through winter. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I am in this for the long haul. Thank you!

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      August 21, 2023 at 5:12 pm

      Hi Christy and thanks for your concern for Miss Mable, the pekin duck! She sounds like a sweetheart – as seems to be typical for the breed.

      Everything you’ve described sounds like an ideal setup within the framework you have to work with. Two extra things you may want to consider:

      1. Grow lights – Maybe get some sort of tripod grow light system on a timer for Miss Mable’s living area when she’s in the garage on days she can’t be outside to get natural light. That way, she’ll be able to get adequate sunlight despite being confined indoors. A timer will allow you to put things on autopilot and also adjust light levels as-needed to mimic outdoor conditions. Lower sunlight levels will trigger hormonal responses needed to shut down egg production in fall/winter, which will then give her body time to rest, recover, and remineralize after a long period of egg production.

      2. You may also want to do light plumbing on your baby pool so that you can easily drain it with an on/off valve attached to a short hose. Otherwise, you’ll be lugging a pool of poopy water out to dump in your driveway every 2-3 days and that’s going to get old quickly.

      Best of luck to you and Miss Mable and please reach out if/when we can be of help.

      • Reply
        Christy Kats
        September 13, 2023 at 1:52 pm

        Thank you so much for your reply, you have calmed some of the anxiety I have been having about bringing her home! I lost the link on my phone and just now found it so I didn’t see it until today. Anyway, I appreciate the suggestions. A “sun” lamp was something I was wondering about so that was very helpful. Do you think I would be okay just leaving her a big enough tub of water in the garage to get her face into and just letting her bathe in the tub in the house? Thinking that might help as far as the water dumping/cleaning. Also, I have aged her just from doing some research at about 9 months old. I’m probably off a month one way or another. Being that she is that age and has been free to roam the campground, do you think getting her used to a harness and a diaper will be super difficult? I put both on her the other day and she was not a happy girl! lol I intend to have her in the house with me quite a bit so the diapering is important. Thank you again for getting back to me and for future help, I’m gonna need it! 🙂

        • Aaron von Frank
          September 14, 2023 at 11:39 am

          Question 1: Do you think I would be okay just leaving her a big enough tub of water in the garage to get her face into and just letting her bathe in the tub in the house?

          Answer: Yes, that would be perfectly fine. As long as the garage water bowl is deep enough for her to be able to submerge her bill and clean her nares, she’ll be good to go along with at least once-per-day baths in a spare bathtub. Cleaning and preening is VERY important for a duck’s health and happiness.  

          Question 2: “… do you think getting her used to a harness and a diaper will be super difficult?” It’s a process – and we’re actually going through that exact same process with our Jumbo Pekin right now, ha. The more experience they get wearing a harness/diaper, the better they acclimate to it. We’ve never had a duck who loves wearing a harness/diaper on the first pass. But they’ll end up getting used to it and at least tolerating it. 

          Other thoughts and considerations: Be warned that Pekins are bred to be very large and put on weight easily (they’re bred to be harvested for meat very young). As such, Pekins are prone to becoming overweight and developing all sorts of joint injuries/problems in addition to chronic conditions like arthritis. They also tend to have hyper-active reproductive systems, making them prone to reproductive conditions like egg binding (aka softer-shelled eggs that end up getting stuck and backing up in their reproductive tract). In short, Pekins are one of the hardest duck breeds to raise if you’re looking for a long-lived pet. However, they’re absolutely adorable and maybe the sweetest-natured breeds right out of the gate. We adore our Jumbo Pekin girl and can’t imagine her not in our flock.

          We’re trying to head off future problems with our Pekin primarily through dietary interventions. We give her all the leafy greens, frozen peas, and tomatoes she wants, but we limit her intake of more nutrient-dense items like her kibble and mealworms. We also stick a fish oil pill in a small tomato twice a day – she instantly swallows the whole thing without noticing the pill. The extra fish oil is intended to help prevent joint problems and arthritis, and we’ve heard from an avian vet that the omega-3s & 6s help support her metabolism. Also, it’s obviously important to make sure they get plenty of exercise via swimming and walking. By keeping her on a lower calorie diet that more closely approximates a wild duck, we concurrently keep her weight down and hopefully reduce egg production, both of which give her a better chance at a longer, healthier life.     

          Hope this helps and good luck! Again, reach out any time we can be of help. 

  • Reply
    Nicole Helmer
    August 1, 2023 at 2:49 pm

    We have a pet Muscovy duck named “Sir”. We ran an animal sanctuary and this little guy was found alone at 2 days old. Mother died. He bonded immediately with our daughter and doesn’t like other ducks or chickens. He sings and sleeps cuddled up next to her on the couch. He is currently 2 months old. We followed your duck diaper page and it works very well. He goes outside during the day and spends time in the company of other ducks and chickens in a safe environment. At night he comes in and hangs with us on the couch until we go to bed.

    Here are our issues we need help on;

    1. When we go to bed we put him in a dog crate, extra large wire with plenty of room for him. (We have dogs and cats and do not want to risk injury not being safe.). The flooring is the typical plastic crate solid floor and he slips around and has a hard time standing and walking in it, we need suggestions on what to use for flooring. We tried wood chips but he just pushes them out of the way, since we now have diapers, we thought of using something washable but stable enough for him to stand and walk on. Suggestions?

    2. Our house is all hard laminate flooring. We purchased throw rugs for him to walk on but he still has difficulty standing and walking. The rugs are rubber backed so not easy to push aside. He can stand and walk outside fine, although wobbly and weaker. I assume because he doesn’t get adequate traction inside and he has yet to grow into his big feet. What can we use for flooring for him inside? Should we purchase duck shoes and if so, which ones?

    Lastly, thank you for supplying such great information on pet ducks. Your site made us more confident in keeping him inside.

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      August 1, 2023 at 4:09 pm

      Hi Nicole! Glad to hear our pet duck info has been helpful for you and your family/flock. 😛

      1. In place of bedding in your indoor crate, you could use an old, large towel inserted in such a way that Sir the duck (funny name btw!) can’t easily scrape it out of the way. (Without seeing your exact crate, it’s hard to give very precise advice.) We’ve used old towels in our crates for our ducks and they do perfectly well with them. Not as messy and dusty as wood flakes, but there is certainly washing involved if the duck is not diapered – ha!

      2. Sounds like a perfect use case for neoprene duck shoes with rubber bottoms. Unfortunately, the vendor we used to get our duck shoes from no longer sells them, and we don’t know of anyone else who does since we haven’t had to look for them (we still have multiple pairs from years ago). Perhaps you could find a duck shoe seller on Etsy? If not, you could try to make them. Feel free to message us directly if you need closeup pictures of duck shoes to use as a template for your own DIY efforts.

      • Reply
        Nicole Helmer
        August 1, 2023 at 6:46 pm

        Thank you so much for the reply! I will send you a direct message on duck shoes!

  • Reply
    June 5, 2023 at 9:59 pm

    I decided a four months ago to get two ducks and I have been doing a lot of research since then. I want to keep the ducks as mostly indoor ducks and they will have their outside time during the school day since I am only in year 11 and my dad works from home so that he can keep an ear out for them. I want to either get buff Orpingtons or a welsh harlequins, but I’m not sure if I want to get a male or a female since they would need to be quieter and I’m worried they might lay eggs indoors or I might not be able to find an egg if they lay it outside. On the other hand my mom and I love to bake and I heard that duck eggs are great for that. But I really can’t decide since they both seem like great options. Also if i get the ducklings as day olds from a hatchery would they still imprint on me? I want to know since I will be getting them during the holidays so i would have a lot of time with them and would love to have that type of connection with my pets.

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      June 6, 2023 at 12:03 pm

      Hi Mikhayla! First, thanks for taking the responsibility of raising ducks so seriously and NOT diving in until you’ve done adequate research and gotten prepared.

      Responses to your questions below:

      1. Male or female ducks or both? Male ducks are much quieter than females. Your neighbors would only barely be able to hear drakes even if they were making every bit of noise they could. (Males make a low raspy blurp-blurp sound.) Not so with females. They can be quite loud with their characteristic quacking vocalizations. Your neighbors might be disturbed by their sounds, especially during moments when the ducks get agitated and let you hear about it.

      If you get two males and don’t have any other females around, they won’t fight and will get along quite well. If you get one male and one female, your female will likely get over-mated and potentially sustain leg injuries or injuries to the back of her head where the drake grips with his bill.

      Two females will get along perfectly well, too. However, the issue with females is that they’re more prone to health issues that require veterinary care since they lay so many eggs. All those eggs tax their bodies nutritionally and can also cause reproductive system problems. Health problems in female ducks isn’t a certainty, there’s just a higher probability than in drakes.

      For a deeper dive into this topic, we’d recommend you read our article: Should you get male or female ducks or both?

      Given your circumstances as we understand them, we’d recommend you get male ducks instead of females. Do keep in mind that domestic ducks can live for 20 years (males will typically live longer than females) so it’s a long-term commitment for you and/or your family.

      2. Yes, days-old ducklings from a hatchery can and will imprint and bond with you.

      Another option for you to consider is getting rescue ducks from a local wildlife or waterfowl rescue. Often, these rescues are domestic ducks who’ve been raised by humans, dumped at a park/pond, and been injured and rehabilitated by a rescue operation. They can be very sweet animals and the hard work of raising ducklings has already been done for you. Adopting is also very helpful for supporting rescue operations.

      If you do decide to raise ducklings, we have a detailed how-to guide that can help prepare you and walk you through the process:

      Best of luck to your family and your future ducks!

  • Reply
    January 27, 2023 at 7:51 pm

    Hiii I’m 14 and I was wondering if you think I could get a duckling. I don’t want it to feel lonely but I don’t think my mom would allow two of them. Everything else I can do for sure. I don’t go anywhere most of the time and I do online school from 9 am – 1 pm and the rest of the day I’d have free time to take care of it. with the help of my family I could take care of one duckling. But not two. I really want one but I don’t want it to feel lonely even if I’ll be around it most of the day. What do you think?

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      January 30, 2023 at 2:41 pm

      Hi Angel! Thanks for carefully considering whether or not you should get a duck (or ducks) before diving in. That shows a lot of thought and responsibility on your part!

      Here are my thoughts for your consideration:
      1. Domesticated ducks can live for a surprisingly long time – potentially up to 20 years with a little luck and good care. If you got a duck this year, it could live until you’re 34 years old. That’s not likely, but it is possible.

      2. You might not leave home much now. You might have plenty of time to take care of a duck now. But that’s all very likely to change over the next few years, given your age. If you go to college or move out of your home in the next 4 or so years, that would very likely mean your duck would have to become someone else’s responsibility.

      3. A pet duck can be VERY expensive if they get sick or injured. That’s because they’re considered “exotics” in veterinarian terminology, and many vets won’t even see ducks since they’re not trained to deal with avian species. So even if you’re lucky enough to have an avian vet nearby, a single vet visit will easily cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars, depending on what’s wrong with your duck and the treatment(s) required. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t have a whole lot of money saved up when I was 14 and I wouldn’t have wanted to spend what money I did have on a pet!

      4. We highly recommend people NOT get ducks unless they have a good understanding of what’s involved. (See our article: 10 things you should know before you get ducks here:

      Nobody could tell me what to do when I was 14 years old. Heck, nobody can tell me what to do now that I’m in my 40s. But my recommendation to you would be to focus as much energy and resources as you can on developing yourself now for the future you think you might want to have in 10-15 years. Once you’ve got your own place and have plenty of time and money to spare, THEN you get ducks (and at least two ducks!) IF you still want them at that point in your life. That’s likely to end in a better scenario for both you and the ducks.

      Ultimately, you know your situation better than I do and the decision is yours to make. I trust that you’ll carefully consider things and make a good decision. Reach out if we can be of help!

    • Reply
      April 20, 2023 at 5:00 am

      I had a bought a baby duck from a bakery man my wife saw it and was crying so she asked him to give it to her and he sold the baby duck to her,she came home and told me she has bought a new member for the house, i went to the shop and bought it and i asked him all her needs he told me, And we used to feed her and was enjoying, my wife kept her name peepoo, she like me more than my wife and my daughter, she use to know from far distance i am coming, so it was waiting to shout at me she use to get upset and see at and say quak quak, she like food such as cucumber seeds, tomato seeds, chapati, chicken, Bombay duck s ,and boiled eggs,one day she became sick and i took her to the doctor, animal doctor she told me that they have to remove an x-ray i told her ok she told me she had a iron piece, and she is going to lay egg,i was surprised and told the doctor i have only one baby duck and no male how is it possible she told me they lay eggs without the male, and she told me needed to be operated, and what comes in my mind i checked with the doctor how much is the guarantee of saving her life,i will pay you, she told me no guarantee i can give her r fees was 8000 rupees for only this,so i told the doctor i will think about operation of my duck, and i never been there.
      she was good health and happy laying eggs running with me , playing with me, ahe was taking bath and like to play in the water all inside the house she was there with me for 15 months and she died on 19th April 2023
      May God bless her soul rest in peace amen

  • Reply
    Dawn Henderson
    January 22, 2023 at 4:35 am

    Does the duck poo get all over their feathers? Seems like it would , my duck ChoonChu had really watery poo.
    She passed away last month and I don’t know why. She was only 2 years old do you know what would make her throw up? She had some snacks at bed time of green leaf lettuce and tomatoes but in the morning she did not run to her bowl of peas like normal and didn’t want to walk and by 4:30 am she was dead. My heart is broken and I don’t know what caused it I thought it may off been a stuck egg but a warm bath usually helped that. If she had a stuck egg (couldn’t see anything obvious) would that cause her to throw up? I am leaning towards the lettuce being tainted with something. Any ideas what would kill a duck that fast?

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      January 24, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      First, we’re so sorry for your loss. We know the feeling. It’s impossible to say with any degree of certainty what caused ChoonChu duck’s death without a professional necropsy/autopsy. Vomiting is usually a pretty dire sign in ducks, but the exact causes can vary. For instance, she could have eaten an object that punctured or blocked her proventriculus. While it’s possible that she ingested a dangerous pathogen in her lettuce, that would more likely have caused diarrhea rather than vomiting. Wish we could be of more help on this point.

      As for duck diaper harnesses, they actually manage to keep the ducks pretty clean since the diaper inserts are nested inside the harnesses like little bowls. As long as you change out the diaper inserts fairly regularly, it’s not a problem. Nevertheless, you’ll still want to give any diaper-wearing duck a chance to swim and fully clean themselves 1-2 times per day diaper-free.

  • Reply
    Jackie B
    November 13, 2022 at 11:57 am

    I live in a cold weather climate. Can I bring my ducks into the house which is about 65′ for a couple hours and then let them back outside when it’s below 20′? Will this hurt my ducks? I’m struggling with having them outside all winter without a lot of interaction with the family.

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      November 14, 2022 at 11:03 am

      Hi Jackie! Ugh, hate to say it but that’s a pretty extreme temperature differential and with temps that far below freezing it would likely cause some unnecessary respiratory distress for your ducks if you do it regularly. Better to visit them outdoors until temps warm up — or until they’re not going back outside into sub-freezing conditions.

  • Reply
    September 16, 2022 at 10:42 am

    We have one baby duck, he/she was the only one that hatched out of five eggs. It’s mom wanted nothing to do with it so we took it in and raised it. It’s four weeks old and quite clearly hates to be alone. We have 12 mature ducks outside. Do you think eventually they will all be able to live happily or am I setting this little one up for certain death? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      September 16, 2022 at 3:09 pm

      Your baby duck should be able to integrate perfectly well into your existing flock, but the process will take a bit of time AND you’ll need to take safety precautions.

      You could start doing supervised introductions now so they all get to know each other. You’d want to be present 100% of the time since a duckling can be badly injured by a mature duck very quickly + your presence will help soothe the duckling, assuming it has imprinted on you. You’d also be well-served to utilize fine-mesh temporary fencing to keep the duckling totally secure/safe while still allowing physical interaction between adults and baby. You and the duckling could stay in the fencing during your visits. Do this as regularly as you can (ideally at least once per day for 20-30 minutes) as the duckling matures into nearly full size (around week 8). By that point, they all should be well-acclimated enough to each other that you could start allowing supervised visits without fencing. Closely observe to see if the new duck is being picked on or bullied. If so, allow more time before integration. If not, you could fully transition the duckling into your flock. Hope this helps and good luck!

  • Reply
    November 9, 2021 at 11:50 am

    Can you give me some tips on what to do if I need to travel for a few days. Will the ducks be okay on their own? Also, what about when they are ducklings? I have searched for answers on this and have found nothing, so now I am reaching out to people directly. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      November 9, 2021 at 2:27 pm

      Hi Molly! That’s a great question and something we should probably write an in-depth article about. The short of it: what you do with your ducks when you travel is going to depend on your unique setup and resources.

      For instances, in our particular situation, we pay a trustworthy teenager who lives down the street from us to come take care of them. That means:
      1) Let our ducks out of their coops, feed, and water them in the morning.
      2) Come again in the evening to prep their coops and put them up.

      We leave our duck sitter a very detailed printed checklist for each day, and tell him exactly what time the ducks need to be let out or put up. He then texts us to let us know once he’s done so we’re not left wondering. Each “session” takes him about 10-15 minutes and we pay him $10 for each session. He’s thrilled to make $20 for 20-30 minutes of his time each day. If we hired a professional pet sitter online who had to drive to our place twice each day, we’d likely need to pay them more.

      Indoor pet ducks would have different care requirements when we went out of town. Outdoor ducks who lived in a run all day would have different care requirements, etc. Regardless of your setup, you don’t want to have a situation where you going out of town:
      a) puts your ducks at elevated risk of predator attack;
      b) causes them to go without food or water for more than ~12 hours;
      c) leaves them in unsanitary conditions.

      Again, however you accomplish those three objectives is going to vary depending on your setup and resources. Hope this helps!

  • Reply
    December 12, 2020 at 11:11 am

    I’m so glad I found your article. We tried incubating four batches of Welsh Harlequin eggs, but only successfully hatched one beautiful girl, Harley, in July. She’s starting to present herself to me like I’m a drake and won’t stop quacking unless I pet her. Are you familiar with this behavior and is there anyway to stop it?
    We are planning on getting more ducklings when available again in January. Is it possible for her to imprint and care more for them when they arrive?

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      December 14, 2020 at 8:25 am

      Hi Cassia! If Harley the duck was the only one of her species around between hatch day and maturity, she’s probably very heavily imprinted off of you, hence her behaviors. When inviting mating, ducks will slightly put their wings out, lower themselves, and flatten their backs to make it easier for a mate to stand atop them. A human petting their backs or the back of their heads is actually sexually stimulating to a duck. Since you’re the only game in town, it’s unlikely that her behavior is going to change.

      For the record, our Welsh Harlequin females don’t seem to be too concerned about binary sexual orientations and readily mate each other as well. E.g. you can get all-female ducklings if you want, when the time is right. If you get ducklings, you’ll need to be very careful trying to integrate them into Harley’s life because she’s likely going to try to attack them at first. So keep them separated by caging in the beginning days/weeks TBD and let her see the ducklings but don’t let her access them. Not sure when you’ll be able to give her full access to them – hopefully, you’ll be able to tell when the time is right (if at all). However, once the ducklings are feathered in at around ~6 weeks, they should all integrate well without risk of attacks/injury so long as they’ve had regular exposure to each other in the weeks prior. Until then, you’ll need to plan to be the love of Harley’s life. Sorry! ;P

  • Reply
    October 23, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    This article 9 TIPS AND TRICKS FOR KEEPING INDOOR PET DUCKS is fantastic! Informative and hilarious. Thank you so much, my hubby and I learned a great deal. We have 2 indoor female muscovy ducks. They are my hubby’s girls, he spoils them rotten in a good way. And they are very affectionate with us, more towards him. Thank you again, we are now subscribed.

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      October 26, 2020 at 3:37 pm

      Glad to hear this info was helpful for you and your indoor pet ducks, Joan! It’s not possible to spoil a duck too much, according to ducks. We’re taking ours car, boat, and furniture shopping as soon as the pandemic is over. One of them also has her eyes on a lakefront estate.

  • Reply
    October 1, 2020 at 11:29 pm

    I have a question about indoor ducks during winter. If I keep my ducks indoors at night but they get to be outside all day, won’t the get sick? From a warm house to colder outdoor temperatures, I am worried they will get sick because of the extreme temperature change. I live in North Dakota so winters are pretty cold. Thanks in advance for your help!

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      October 5, 2020 at 5:49 pm

      Hi Serina! ~30 degrees F temperature differential is about as much as you’d want to push it. That may not be tenable in North Dakota, so you may need to plan on outdoor ducks during the cold months and perhaps do your indoor pet duck adventures during the summer months.

  • Reply
    Shanna Hardesty
    September 15, 2020 at 5:21 pm


    We have a Blue Swedish Duck Frankie who is 3 months old. She was born 17 June, and we picked her and our 5 other ducks up from the post office on 19 June. We lost one within 36 hours. We noticed from the start that Frankie was very different from the other ducks. She would walk in circles, bump into walls, and couldn’t find food or water. Even when she did find food she could eat it. My daughter Karli and I were very concerned. We started to hand feed her, held her all the time, and finally took her to the vet. She was dehydrated, and the vet said she may have a neurological problem. We changed her food to an organic crumble, and finally she could eat on her own!!! We were so happy, but we continued to keep a close eye on her. A few weeks later we noticed her neck was deformed, and she was still struggling. I did some research and found out that she has Wray Neck. We talk to a man at tractor supply, and he seemed very knowledgeable about ducks. He told us to start her on frozen peas, brewers yeast, and to switch to purina duck pellets. He stated that all of her problems are from her Wray Neck. Also if it’s from a vitamin deficiency that she could take about a month to respond, so don’t give up it will take time and a LOT of peas. Well we’re feeding her but I have to blend everything in a food processor and add small amounts of food throughout her meal so she gets the pellets also. It’s been a struggle but we figuring things out little by little, like sleeping arrangements for her. We have a rubber tub, a king size pillow, and a water proof mattress pad for her to sleep in. I’m trying to learn how to sew her a duck diaper so she can walk freely around the house in the evenings. However, her neck is so bad I don’t think it’s going to work. We can’t leave her outside at night because we’ve noticed the other ducks pecking or running into her. They even do it in the morning when we let her out, and throughout the day. I’m hoping you can help make this journey a little less painful with some insight on if we’re doing the right things and how to improve our processes.

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      September 18, 2020 at 1:23 pm

      So sorry you’re going through this, Shanna! Thanks for doing what you’re doing to try to help your duckling. We don’t have any personal experience treating wry neck in ducks, but are familiar with the condition. For your and your duck’s sake, hopefully her condition was caused by environmental factors such as poor nutrition, rather than being genetic. That way, you’ll have a better likelihood of treating it. The main thing is to really boost Vitamin E levels in her diet until she (hopefully) improves. You can do that by putting things like sunflower seeds and leafy greens in the blended food you’re providing her. There are other good natural, food- and herb-based sources of Vitamin E as well. Also, do be sure you’re using non-medicated food AND you’re using waterfowl-specific food since ducklings/ducks have different dietary needs than chicks/chickens. Fingers crossed that with your good care, your duck will show signs of recovering from wry neck within the next few weeks. Until then, you’ll unfortunately need to keep her separated from the rest of your flock to prevent her from being injured. Last thing: have you contacted the seller to let them know the problems you had with your ducklings?

  • Reply
    June 6, 2020 at 11:09 am

    Thanks for this! We have a young duck that we have discovered is blind (plus the drake hates her and beats her up), so I think she is going to have to become an indoor duck.

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      June 8, 2020 at 6:56 am

      You’re welcome. So sorry to hear about your blind duckling. Do you mind sharing where you got her? Local breeder or large hatchery?

      • Reply
        June 8, 2020 at 9:46 am

        They are White Pekins that were an impulse buy at our local Tractor Supply. So, likely a large breeder. We’re not sure if she was born blind or something happened to her. She was always a little smaller than the others and remains so. The others are huge and healthy. She’s the one with personality, though!

        • Aaron von Frank
          June 9, 2020 at 11:30 am

          Well, we’ve got no experience caring for a blind duck, but we wish you every success in providing her with a good (primarily indoor) life. Ducks are such social creatures that like to see and be with their flock — whether human or duck. In this case, other sensory regions of her brain are going to be working on overdrive. She’ll likely delight in familiar and comforting sounds and smells, and establish more standardized routines so she can get to water, food, and favorite napping spots with ease. You’ll have your hands full, but thanks for making a go of it. Reach out anytime we can be of help.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2019 at 11:23 am

    My two houseducks, Wobbles and Bean, are my whole world. You’re right, they ARE the funniest and most adorable pets ever! I’m not biased, it’s simply the objective truth. ♡

    I wish I could find a man who loves ducks as much as Aaron does, however. I’m 36 and never married; starting to think it’s just gonna be me and my ducks forever…I’ll be a spinster, a crazy old duck lady. :/

  • Reply
    Julie Yacca
    August 23, 2019 at 10:22 pm

    I have two pet ducks that sleep outside but do spend a lot of time inside with me. I have diapers for them but it always seems like Cheese wiggles his off, and Quackers poops over the top of hers. What brand diaper do you recommend and also, what do you use for stuffing?

    • Reply
      October 25, 2019 at 11:24 am

      I buy mine from SewSammi, she makes bespoke duck nappies so they won’t wiggle out of them. I like to line them with a maxi pad cut in half, the cheapest most generic kind actually work best, cuz they’re usually not winged and are made of pure cotton.

      • Reply
        Aaron von Frank
        October 25, 2019 at 3:25 pm

        We had heard good things about Sew Sammi, but had a very negative experience when trying to order from her recently. The product never shipped and she stopped returning emails, so we eventually had to request a refund via PayPal.

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