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Thinking About Adopting a Duckling?

Updated on April 11, 2013
Ducky at 3 days old.
Ducky at 3 days old. | Source

Only One?

A couple of months ago, my girlfriend and I decided that we wanted to adopt a duckling. The next day, we went to a local pet store that carried the adorable little fuzz balls (some might call this behavior impulsive or irresponsible) and picked up a baby duckling which we carefully named... Wait for it... 'Ducky'. Yes, after careful consideration, we named the duckling 'Ducky'.

It wasn't until we had this amazing/adorable little creature that we began to do our research. We immediately realized that we needed to get Ducky a friend. Ducklings are social birds and this means that if they do not have another duck to hang out with, they will need to hang out with you. All the time. Or else your little feathered friend will go awol and scream, quack, cry, whine and wreak all sorts of havoc until you are back by his/her side. Therefore; it is very unadvisable that you purchase only a single duckling! If you choose to do so, be prepared to spend the rest of your pets life being clung to by the neediest friend you will ever encounter.

Your baby duck will be much happier, as well as a lot less stressed out, if he or she has a friend! But, just as they attach themselves to humans if kept alone, they will attach themselves to their new friend, so good look separating them for any reason whatsoever $6!

Holy Crap...

As soon as I told my father I had bought a couple of ducklings he told me that it was a mistake. He said that ducks are loud and poop a lot, which I understood and was prepared to handle. Or so I thought.

These ducklings, in their little box, with their little heat light, all snuggled up, pooped... A lot! It was unbelievable how much ducklings can produce over the course of a single night! Their box would be nearly spotless when we put them down for the night but, sure enough, by morning the majority of the box floor was covered. Once we let them stay outside full time they began to do the same thing to the yard.

If you are considering, or already have adopted a couple of ducklings, be ready to clean a lot of feces.


When your ducklings begin to outgrow their box or whatever you may be housing them in, they will need a yard that is enclosed as well as some sort of coop where they can sleep and seek shelter. If you live in a neighborhood, this may be a little hard to achieve. We kept our ducklings in the back yard of our home located in a neighborhood with rather strict HOA rules. The yard is enclosed by solid brick fencing, and they had plenty of room to roam and play, as well as a 2 ring pool where they could swim and drink (both are crucial to a ducks livelihood). There was nothing dissatisfying about the yard to our ducks, but, as animals tend to be, they were loud. They began to try out their new "quacking" ability and the neighbors, along with the HOA, were not too pleased with the duck's singing performance.

Make sure that you are able to keep your feathery friends around once they are fully grown, because it was a rather sad lesson to have to learn.

Home Sweet Home

When our ducks were finally able to get along without any help, we had to find them a new home, considering the HOA wasn't too fond of them, so we decided the best place to take them was the local park so that they could socialize with the other ducks and be relatively taken care of.

I strongly advise having a new home set up for your ducklings before you bring them home. There is always a chance that they may become too expensive, too loud, too much of a handful, or any other amount of problems. Ducks need lots of water (unless they are Indian Runner ducks) and will not be completely satisfied until they have it! You must be able to accommodate these duckies, and their personalities!


Just leave a comment if you have any other questions about raising ducklings, please! Raising ducklings does not have a very high success rate, so if problems begin to arise, leave a comment or call a local animal hospital if it seems serious.


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      carolyn 19 months ago

      I am getting two ducklings tomorrow what are the first things I need for them?

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      katie 3 years ago

      I want a baby duckling but What breed should I get

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      Your duck 3 years ago

      Here's an interesting story for you. A must read for those planning to follow your example. Hope your duckies are still doing well.

    • Jacob Wittrock profile image

      Jacob Wittrock 3 years ago from Goodyear, Arizona

      The ducks have all of the same food water and shelter they would receive in the wild. Probably even more so:)

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      Anonymous 3 years ago


      Did you check the laws in you own state? This is from the arizona state legislature website.

      13-2910. Cruelty to animals; interference with working or service animal; classification; definitions

      A. A person commits cruelty to animals if the person does any of the following:

      1. Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly subjects any animal under the person's custody or control to cruel neglect or abandonment.


      8. Intentionally or knowingly subjects any animal under the person's custody or control to cruel neglect or abandonment that results in serious physical injury to the animal.

      H. For the purposes of this section:

      1. "Animal" means a mammal, bird, reptile or amphibian.


      3. "Cruel neglect" means to fail to provide an animal with necessary food, water or shelter.

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      HooverD 3 years ago

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      HooverD 3 years ago

      Here is another great source of info. If you go to their main page (click on the Home button on the left bar) you can find a link to rescuers in your area.

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      HooverD 3 years ago

      But they don't live a full or normal life in the "wild". Since they were not raised by ducks, they imprint on their caretakers. In this case, humans. They can't learn to avoid predators, fly great distances, or migrate because you can't teach them that. I doubt they are capable of long distant flight anyway since pet shops only sell the more readily available domestic ducks. Regardless, since you raised them, and they imprinted on humans, they want to be with their humans, their Mom and Dad.

      My experience over the past 5 or so years is that most ducks abandoned on our pond live around 3 years. There are exceptions. I know a couple that are 5 years old now, one of which has a broken wing that healed on its own. But most die before they hit 1 or 2 years old. Their normal lifespans are around 10-15 years. If you equate that to a human with a life span of ~75 years that's like saying a human living 15 -22 years is one who has had a full life. In that context it sounds a little different.

      When I suggested finding a farmer to adopt your ducks, I did not mean to suggest to find one that would slaughter your ducks for food. We have farmers out here that keep them as pets. Farmers are the ones that have land and ponds and barns or coops to house them in at night. They tend their animals regularly. I know one who has a veterinarian as a wife and believe me, their animals are well taken care of!

      I am only trying to save your ducks some pain, and save you the heartbreak when the eventual outcome occurs. It's highly unlikely that that will occur 10-15 years down the road. The odds are not in your ducks favor. But most of all, I want people who are considering purchasing a duck and doing the same thing you did to have a realistic view of what will happen. In case you didn't read through the links I provided above, it is illegal in most states to place a duck on public lands, and if caught doing so it is grounds for an animal cruelty charge....another fact people should know before following your example.

    • Jacob Wittrock profile image

      Jacob Wittrock 3 years ago from Goodyear, Arizona


      I have chosen to deny your comment. I have had more pets than you could count. I would not have let them go at the lake if I did not think it was completely safe.

      The HOA at the location at which I was staying had no indication of these birds not being allowed there. To call me, as the owner of the ducks (who made sure they were able to FLY before releasing them), a person who dumps a bad Easter present for rot, well, that is certainly not called for.

      Yes, in the wild ducks do become food. It was not my initial intent to release the ducks.

      I would rather, though, have them die in the wild having lived a full life of freedom than know they were bought by a farmer who would feed them and nurture them to obesity, only to kill and eat them.

      I am sorry you see things this way.

      Ps: I would not call my ducks a mess needing to be cleaned up.

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      Hoover 3 years ago

      Here is another really good website with information. If you explore her blog/facebook page you can read about her rescued chickens and ducks.

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      HooverD 3 years ago

      Thanks for your response. I hope you are right. I really do. I rescued a duck who had successfully lived at out local pond for 3 years after she had her foot shredded by a snapping turtle. Actually witnessed the attack myself, which was a shockingly rare thing to see! The turtle had her pulled halfway under water and she flapped/swam to shore with this 2 foot round predator attached to her. I was able to scoop her up and the turtle let go. That likely explained the missing toes on her other foot which happened a month earlier. She would not let anyone close to her when her first foot injury occurred.

      Another duck who was dumped at our pond earlier this year froze to death on the ice during the arctic cold snap. We tried to help her, but she was too far out on ice of unknown thickness to safely retrieve. It was so sad to watch this poor thing succumb to the elements. But no one values a duck like they do a dog or cat, so when something goes wrong good luck getting someone to help in that situation. If it were a dog or cat the fire dept would come and rescue it. A duck? Well, that's just life.

      Those are just 2 examples of several more I have. The first duck lived, by the way. But having two injured feet she could not go back to the pond (an inappropriate home in the first place) and went to an adopter with a farm that takes in disabled ducks. Without much webbing left on either foot, swimming away from predators is not an option. And for a Pekin duck, flying is certainly not!

      All I'm saying is, these are living and loving creatures, each with a unique personality. (I'm sure you figured that out from your ducks) Over the course of the last 5 years, I got adopted by a pond full of dumped ducks. And each year people see that pond and think that it is a great home for their impulse Easter purchase. Now we have far too many ducks for our little ecosystem pond to support. Not enough people go to feed them in the winter because its cold and snowing and too harsh for them. Our pond is so called "managed" too. But when I've called the parks dept to let them know of ducks that quite obviously need help, I get very little to no action from them. And when I am fortunate to be able to help a duck, I take it to our local wildlife rehabber for care. (Never mind that the duck isn't really "wild". Luckily she takes them in because they have nowhere else to go.) Well medical care costs money and these poor creatures have no caretaker. And wildlife rehabbers a are not funded through any federal or state funds. Purely donations. Some of which are mine.

      I'm sorry to say this. But you are shirking your responsibilities to your pets to leave them at that pond. I don't care how "managed" you think it is. No one is looking after your duck 24/7 like a farmer or duck rescue organization would. Going by to feed them once a day is good, but are you there at night when the owls and foxes are hunting. How about the hawks during the day or the snapping turtles that can wander in from distances over a mile? What about when the weather gets cold? You wouldn't do that to a dog or a cat. If you think my understanding is somehow skewed or incorrect check out these websites and their facebook pages. There are rescues out there that see this problem too.

      Thank you for this forum. I do appreciate your willingness to be open and honest about your experience. And I appreciate the chance to share my experiences as a park goer that somehow got adopted by a clan of dumped ducks. By the way, if I could adopt them myself and take them home, I would. But unfortunately the covenants for my home do not allow waterfowl either.

    • Jacob Wittrock profile image

      Jacob Wittrock 3 years ago from Goodyear, Arizona

      Also, the ducks were not dumped.

      We checked on them and fed them on a daily basis to make sure they were coping well with their new surroundings.

    • Jacob Wittrock profile image

      Jacob Wittrock 3 years ago from Goodyear, Arizona

      I appreciate the concern, Hoover.

      The ducks have actually thrived very well for nearly a year. They have joined another group of ducks and are healthy and happy.

      The park in which they live is protected by an HOA and all ducks, fish and turtles are given food regularly.

      I would not have done so if the circumstance had been different.

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      HooverD 3 years ago

      You doomed your pet ducks to die. Domestic ducks can not fly. They were bred to lay eggs or to be farmed for meat, thus they are too heavy to fly. They lack the instincts to be wild and fend for themselves. Since they can not migrate to find more comfortable weather, or more plentiful food, by dumping them at a park you have likely doomed them to a life of depravity, discomfort and likely an early painful death. I've rescued many ducks at a local pond in my neighborhood. Most get injured by predators, secumb to harsh weather, or get infections and suffer a great deal of pain before they allow someone to get close enough to give them the help they need, that is *if* there happens to be someone there who is willing/able to help. At that point they are usually near deaths doorstep and may not make it. Please go rescue your ducks and find them a proper home. A farm or someone responsible who is willing to provide them year round food and shelter. A pond in a local park is not an appropriate home.

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      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      We had ducks. A lady gave us a duck we could never get close to him and he got in the lake and took off with the wild ducks.

      We later had another one a great little duck he loved my husband where my husband went he went. An animal of some kind got in the coop with the duck and the chickens and took duck.

      We had two more ducks they went in and out of the lake but always came home our dog made sure of that because as soon as the ducks headed for the lake the dog did too. He would swim around them making sure they didn't go far. When we sold our house with the water and had to move we found them a home.

      Their fun but they are work. Ours kids also had them when they were young their kind of touchy as far as health goes not like a chicken.

      Enjoyed your hub and voted up.

    • Jacob Wittrock profile image

      Jacob Wittrock 4 years ago from Goodyear, Arizona

      No problem! Thanks for viewing!

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      Abdus Salam 4 years ago from Bangladesh

      useful hub. thanks for posting....