Jimmy The Duck - Rocking blue hair!
This is Flea, the official blogger for Jones Natural Chews, and Lisa asked me to speak about keeping a duck as a pet, what makes them stellar companions, as well as why you might not want a duck as a pet.
First, a little information about ducks.
- Domesticated ducks live about ten years, so a duck is a commitment
- Domesticated ducks can NOT be set free to live in the wild, and many of them can't fly
- Ducks don't lay eggs as regularly as chickens do
- Ducks are messy and loud and they bite
- Ducks do not have teeth, but the bite still hurts
- Ducks love water and need a fresh water source at all times, even if it's just a wading pool
I've had a duck as a pet for four years, as well as numerous chickens. I've raised both chicks and ducklings to maturity multiple times, have had more than one duck as a pet at a time, and raised a Canada goose for several months before it migrated south for winter. For many, many years, my Hunny and I had indoor birds - from Cockatiels to love birds to finches to an African Grey. Growing up we had parakeets and canaries. I even raised a mockingbird. So yes, I do love birds, I love them as pets. I love them in the wild. But the duck holds my heart as a pet bird. This is what Jimmy the Duck, my current favorite, has taught me.
DUCKS CAN BE MEAN
Did I say mean? A drake, or male duck, is renowned as a protector of whatever flock he's part of. Jimmy keeps an eye on the sky for hawks at all times. He attacks the dogs for even looking at him. His hiss and quack send the hens running for cover, away from aerial predators, and he alerts me if I'm outside, letting me know I need to put everyone away.
I hear you thinking, “But why is that mean?” That protective nature never really turns off in a drake. The drake, I've found, is sweeter, more attentive and affectionate, than the female, but it's a kind of psycho faucet. It's on. It's off. There's no in-between. Even when Jimmy is being affectionate, his kisses are really bites. He leaves bruises. When he's being protective, his neck goes straight out, head lowered, mouth open, and he charges, ready to do damage, as you see in the video above.
DUCKS CANNOT BE HOUSEBROKEN
So if you're looking to keep a duck indoors, they're just like any other bird in the potty department – they'll poo everywhere, big poo. Seriously. And a duck is a large bird with lots of feathers, so they can't really be kept in a cage. Your best bet, if you're intent on keeping a duck indoors, is a diaper of some sort. Don't ask me how to maintain that for ten years. I'm not putting a diaper on Jimmy.
DUCKS NEED WATER
Ducks need water. From the time they're young, ducks need water. They use it to wash their food down. They use it as part of their preening. They love to swim and dive. And there's not much more fun than watching a duck enjoy the water. So your duck will at least need time outside to swim in fresh water.
DUCKS EAT A LOT
Ducks not only eat a lot, they eat a lot of fresh greens. When raising a duckling from a hatchling, they need greens from the very beginning or they're prone to Angel Wing, which can be deadly. I can't stress this enough. I always cover the duckling's bedding with fresh pulled grass from the yard (one of the many reasons we don't treat our lawn with chemicals), as well as floating grass in their drinking water. This is another strong argument for keeping a duck outside.
And what do I do in winter, when there's no grass? I buy lettuce. Jimmy doesn't only eat grass. He gets crumbles designed for all barnyard fowl. But I also supplement year-round with fresh fruit and vegetables. His favorites are watermelon and pumpkins. I buy pumpkins the day after Halloween, seven or eight of them and store them in the pantry. But to get the greens in him, I shred up lettuce in winter. Oh, and I buy bugs. Some juicy mealworms are great in winter when all the bugs have disappeared.
There's so much more I could say about having a duck as a pet. If you're seriously considering getting one as a pet, or just adding one or more to your assortment of fowl, please drop me a line (flea at jonesnaturalchews dot com). I'll answer questions as honestly as I can. Periodically Jimmy shows up on my blog, so feel free to drop by there as well. And a huge thanks to Lisa for letting me share about my favorite pet, the Duck!
Until I write again …
Flea is all natural, made in the USA, and slightly crunchy, just like Jones Natural Chews! She's also a blogger, mother of three or four young adults, two Aussie mixes, one Affenpinshcer mutt, one Brussels Griffon mix, one duck and plenty of chickens. And she loves a good, long road trip. So ask her to come visit, offer her chocolate, and she might just bring you a treat! Good puppy! Visit Flea at The Official Blog of Jones Natural Chews!
Thank you so much Flea for this great article!