My husband and I have a pet duck that we've raised since it was a tiny baby. This article is about my wonderful experience as a duck parent.
Life With a Pet Duck
Keeping a duck as a pet is very rare, but it seems to be more common these days. Ducks are becoming domesticated in several areas of the country, and, believe it or not, they make great pets.
There is a lot involved in caring for one. When our family first got our Kuacky, we had no idea what to do with her. We worried about her being away from her mother and the other ducklings, so we did some research and learned quite a great deal.
A Reliable Source Among Duck Lovers and Associations
There are all sorts of different opinions and advice out there, but I only trusted one source.
After receiving Kuacky as a gift, I found a wonderful lady named Nancy, who I called Nancy Goose. She and her husband raised and cared for pet ducks and geese. They were very experienced in the matter because they raised a pack of their own for many years. I really enjoyed their website, called "The Goose Mother," and I learned so much from the information and stories they shared. We often called the owners and got great advice and support.
Believe me, in the beginning, you will definitely need this kind of support. Nancy became my friend, and it was through her website, her book, and her hand-designed duck diapers that I was able to raise Kuacky correctly.
Our precious Nancy Goose passed away on February 26, 2009. It was so heart-breaking. But, I am here to tell you that her legacy still lives on.
Her site and store are still being run by her wonderful and supportive husband, Alan. He, too, is a great guy who will give the same type of support.
In the beginning, it was so hard to care for Kuacky. Ducks are very clean creatures, but they are messy when it comes to pooping. They poop often and everywhere, and you will not be able to control it. If you're thinking about litter-training your duck, it ain't gonna happen!
To prevent a mess in the house, I got the "Miracle Duck Diapers" on Nancy's site. What a lifesaver and difference that made! Now our baby can be in the house anytime she has her harness and diaper on. She loves being in the house with us because she feels like we are her pack.
Caring for Our Precious Duck
Each duck has its own personality, but the care will be about the same.
Kuacky loves being in the house with us, but she loves being in her bath even more. Her favorite thing is bath time. She does not care if it is the sprinkler, the hose, or her outdoor kiddie pool—she loves them all. Her favorite, however, is the pool. She swims, splashes around, and has a great time.
Read More From Pethelpful
Unfortunately, Kuacky started having uncontrollable seizures. We took the pool away because we feared that she would drown if she had an episode. At that time, the seizures happened every half hour or so. They were so severe. We took her to doctors and did all that we could do. No one knew what was causing the seizures. We really thought that we were going to lose our baby. But, all of a sudden, they stopped. Now, they occur only occasionally. We keep seizure medicine handy in case they get bad again. We think it has to do with her egg-laying cycle, but we are still unsure. Back when the seizures were severe, Nancy suggested we give Kuacky "sugar water." It did help her get better.
When we can't be with her, or she can't come indoors, we keep her in a pen. She gets so tired of her pen, and we feel so bad about it, but we have to keep her there because we don't want her on our concrete porch. This is where she waits longingly, hoping to be let inside the house. The concrete causes her feet to develop a common infection called "bumblefoot." She has gotten her feet lanced, stitched, and treated several times. Once a duck gets "bumblefoot," it is very hard to cure, and it comes back very easily, so we battle with it all the time.
Our precious Kuacky also loves to be out in the yard. She loves to graze the grass and eat bugs. Her favorite bugs are mealworms. We are raising our own mealworm colony now, so, hopefully, she will get an abundance of them soon. We are seeing results with the colony.
Ducks are very much pack animals, and once you raise them, they view you as their family or "pack." If you raise it as a baby, it "imprints" on you, so if you abandon it with other ducks, later on, it will not know what to do. Many people receive a duck as an Easter gift and then dump it off with a pack of wild ducks when they get tired of caring for it. Big mistake! You will be setting it up for death.
A human-imprinted duck does not know how to survive with other ducks, and they will not accept her/him either. Only take in a pet if you are going to be a committed parent for the entirety of its lifetime.
Why Do We Have a Duck for a Pet?
We got our precious duck as an Easter gift. Our family is not one to give away precious pets after we bond with them, so she stayed with us. Within a few days of having her, she had already “imprinted” with us. We became her pack. We quickly had to learn how to care for this precious bird. We didn't want to neglect her by leaving her outside in a pen all day with no attention. She needed the love, affection, care, and attention that our other pets always get.
I started researching on the internet, and it was lengthy. I looked for information on house-training, feeding, and how to care for them as pets. It was very hard to find information on this topic back then, but a lot has changed since then. "Pet duck care" and "duck diapers" are now easy to find in search engines. I guess more people are now raising them as pets.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2009 XpectMore
Caleb on July 26, 2020:
Im trying to find nancy site, can someone point me in the right direction?
Lark on June 24, 2020:
LOL @ Fil
Fil on May 04, 2020:
Oh, look, someone making a truly stupid comment. Aannnnd guess what? She is a Karen!
DissapointingEggs on February 26, 2020:
Karen, they only keep it in a dipar sometimes so it can be in the house. and the duck has imprinted on them, so it won;t be able to live with other ducks. Karen, just read the article and then comment.
Ben on July 29, 2019:
What a sweet story! Thanks!
Karen on June 14, 2019:
You are all mental and very very cruel sick people. Ducks with nappies living indoors for your own gratification and to keep YOU company it makes me sooo cross. Keep them outside with a pond and other ducks for mates and care for them in a more natural environment it’s much more satisfying watching them go about there daily business..rather than waddle round after you all day because you have made them totally insecure and believe they we’re born to live like us . Please do the right thing
Crystal on April 19, 2019:
Due to circumstances beyond our control we have had to move into a place with no yard for our duck for 1 year. We have her set up in the basement but she truly is showing signs of the separation. She is so unhappy. The place is far too small for her to be up in the common living space safely with our 2 large dogs. I am heartbroken. What can I do to help her? We do go down with her for hours everyday but I know that’s not enough.
Linda Morgan on October 24, 2018:
Please i need advice my duck is inprented on me but shes very large now and can i leave her outside i made her a pen and i put my cove her bed and put he teddy in there will she be ok or should i bring her back in side help me
From Boston on February 06, 2018:
We hatched our own duckling from the eggs we picked up on the farm. It was my son's experiments and out of 4 eggs one survived. It was 4 years ago. Now we have a wonderful pet duck. We love him dearly and he loves us back. He had never seen other ducks and thinks himself a small human.
We have him in house in diaper most of the time. We get them same place from flightquarters.com He does not like swimming very much, did not like it as a baby which is very funny:). But in all has a wonderful personality and we are very happy to have him.
Chicky the Duck on December 03, 2017:
My daughter was given a duck egg. It hatched 2 1/2 weeks ago and I’ve done so much research to figure out what to do! We love him a lot and the diapers I ordered should come this week. But I’m not sure how long we can keep him. We have a very small yard and he cries if we leave him alone. If the diapers work well maybe he could stay inside but I just don’t know what it will be like. And what to do with him when we go out of town. We take him to the lake by our house and he loves it, and he swims in our bathtub sometimes. But exactly how much work is it as he’s older and will he be ok alone when we have to leave the house?
Lee Hansen from Vermont on May 07, 2013:
My mother had two geese who were NOT very friendly - more like watch dogs - and very messy. But I remember the chickens at my aunt's farm from my childhood as being quite docile around humans and I loved feeding them at the henhouse.
XpectMore (author) on March 21, 2013:
@espio007: Yahhhh, that has always been some neat shows with their duck and chick. There is just one thing they never let on about.....The mess. They never talked about that. I never saw the duck in diapers either. I figured that is the reason the duck and chick were on the screen very short and off quick. Ha Ha. Thank you for visiting my lens.
XpectMore (author) on March 21, 2013:
@Adventuretravels: Thank you for visiting my lens. She is a lucky duck. We love her so much. I need to go and update my lenses about her. She is now 7 years old.
Giovanna from UK on March 20, 2013:
We love your lens. Thanks. It's true what they say Kuacky is a lucky ducky!
espio007 on March 20, 2013:
We have a dog and he loves to chase ducks when he sees them on hi walks, so a duck may not be wise for us to get but they are cool, who would want a budgie when you can have a duck? I wouldn't. This also reminds of Friends when Joey and Chandler get a chick and a duck.
XpectMore (author) on March 10, 2013:
@ShariBerry: She sure is a she. She is going to be 7 years now. She is doing great. Lots of work though.
Sharon Berry from Michigan on March 09, 2013:
What a lucky ducky Kuacky is...she has a great family. She is a she isn't she?
justramblin on February 08, 2013:
What a fantastic lens you have created. I love the story and the photos left me wanting to read more. What good ducky parents you all are. And Kuacky is a lucky...well, duck. Would love to see photos of kuacky in diapers.
XpectMore (author) on January 14, 2013:
@SusanDeppner: Thank you for blessing my lens. Also, most dogs just learn to accept a duck and the duck them too. I am a pet sitter as well. I keep dogs at my home. Some dogs really want the duck in a bad way. Caution for the duck in those situations.
Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on January 14, 2013:
Fascinating! We have a dog, so I think instincts would say "no" to a duck. Your Kuacky is very blessed to have you!
anonymous on June 06, 2012:
@Virtue Creations: no u just have to start hanging out with it more often and don't leave tht duck out of ur site to long!
anonymous on June 06, 2012:
@julieannbrady: well it starts pecking at things so make sure u always have a foof and water bowl for them
anonymous on April 24, 2012:
We found a baby duckling just days old. we brought it home and fell in love. sadly by daughter stepped backward and killed him. we are just devastated. he was only 2 weeks old. We desparately want another. I am going to the lake where we found him looking for another runt or unwanted duckling. hope to find one. I just loved him. It was the most rewarding experience for our family. yes the poop was horrible but we bought diapers but were waiting until he got big enough. We miss you Sweet Pea.
anonymous on April 09, 2012:
WHAT TYPE OF DIAPERS ??? I HAVE 6 MALARDS !
julieannbrady on January 27, 2012:
Gosh, I never knew anybody who had a pet duck until I found you! I LOVE ducks ... geese ... and other fine feathered friends. Does the duck quack a lot when it's hungry?
Shorebirdie from San Diego, CA on January 27, 2012:
I know a lot of people who have ducks as pets, even some that get diapers for them!
anonymous on January 19, 2012:
Every year we get two ducks that come to our pool and the female duck ends up laying about 8 eggs. Last year she laid 10 and unfortunately they all died (crows) then she came back a month later and laid another 8. One had died just out of the egg and the other 7 were swimming in the pool.. I was on my way to work when I saw them in the pool and thought this time I would save at least one as every year for 8 years I watched them die.
So I took the smallest Duckling that was obviously not going to make it as he was the runt. I noticed that he kept swimming by himself and away from his pack but would go back not and then. He was very adventurous... Unfortunately the other 6 ducklings died so I am glad I kept mine.
I named him Waddle... He was only maybe 1 or 2 hours old...I kept Waddle in the shower recess inside my cat's carry container. Rushed down to the pet store and bought Chick Starter Feed... I placed a hot water bottle on top of a face washer and then put an old t shirt on top of that. The water bottle had a fur covering but I didn't want it to get poop on it... I put waddle on top of that and covered him with half the t shirt.
When I came home I was nervous as I hoped he had survived... Well he did and now he's 6 weeks old and a fully grown wild duck. His wing feathers are almost formed but still need to grow.
Waddle followed me everywhere and would snuggle next to my feet when I sat on the lounge.. I would hold him and sometimes he'd snuggle next to me when I was lying down. My cat Adonis got very jealous but has since accepted Waddle and they now play together... Waddle taught himself to duck dive, forage in the garden, eat insects, preen himself and basically survive as I was told it is very hard to rear a baby duckling on it's own. Maybe because I was always home and gave Waddle lots of attention he did.
When I had friends over he was handled and cuddled by everyone. One day I took him for his regular daily swim in the pool and there were 4 young girls. Waddle was playing with them and swimming to each one...As he got older at around 5 weeks old he started running away from me when I went near him. I was told that wild ducks have a natural instinct to do this and eventually they will fly off... I am supposed to take him to a wild life carer who has a pack of ducks she will release soon. I am sad and not sure if I really want to do this but I guess it would be best that he integrates with his own type. Not sure if he has imprinted on me and my cat but only when I take him to this carer will I know. If he frets in any way or doesn't fit in I will ask the carer to let me know and I will take him back as he has become part of my family... I can't believe how attached I am to this gorgeous black duck... I think they make wonderful pets and getting a diaper or make my own would make the poop bit so much easier to live with...
baby-strollers on December 07, 2011:
That's one smart duck!
baby-strollers on December 07, 2011:
That's one smart duck!
anonymous on June 09, 2011:
I would like to have a duck as a companion to live indoors but unfortinately the family does not agree with me, thinking the very notion ridiculous and disgusting. Late summer our muscovy ducks' eggs were hatching, and like every hatching times there are casualties because our girls are not exactly good at caring for their young. Many die. As it were, it was agreed that we check up on the ducks regularly to make sure the ducklings have not been abandoned or left to drown. I found one duckling that I believed was dead because he was very stiff and cold. But the most amazing thing happened! When I was digging a hole to bury him, he was in my pocket at the time and perhaps the warmth of my jumper revived him or some other miracle happened for he had uttered a faint "peeping" sound. I was shocked that he was alive, and I soon compsoed myself and took him inside to sit in front of a lamp to warm him up effectively and asap. As the day progressed I watched him slowly revive but his neck was always jutting at a strange angle. I thought there was something wrong with him but I didn't know what to do. My parents were away at the time and I was debating wether I should give him back to the girls or keep him indoors because I believed he would have a better chance of survival. After I did my chores however and by the afternoon he was very much alive, but his neck was still held in an odd way. In his presence I mused to myself on what I should do, it was pretty warm now so the lamp was switched off and he was placed on old clothes on my bed, surrounded by old teddies because I thought he could snuggle to them. My parents returned home late and I forgot about him for a bit, I went to bed and the duckling was still snuggled in the teddies, so I didn't notice him. In the morning he was snuggled up against me - good thing I don't move much in my sleep! I believed he became imprinted on me for he liked my company and voice. His neck had also seemed to have cured and I was thankful for that. I told my parents about the scenario and they were glad that he survived but wanted him returned to the pen. At first he kept following me out but we had to get him back in tune with his own kind and 3 days later he was imprinted back to ducks. It was a bittersweet time for me, the short bond we shared was amazing, but it was good that he learned he was a duck and grew into a healthy, large drake. Also sad, because we ate him when he reached maturity. I always wanted to experience that bond again, but I don't know if I ever will have the chance . . .
Great text and information!
Sandy Mertens from Frozen Tundra on March 31, 2011:
A friend of my daughter's had a pet duck that lived in the house. This duck did not have diapers or potty trained. Great lens. Blessed by an April Fools angel. See this featured on my April Fools Angel Blessing lens as soon as it is published. Your blessing is coming first. So check back.
Virtue Creations on November 24, 2009:
HI, we got our duckling at 4/5wks old - is that too late to imprint?
Should we give up hope of being her family?
PS Great lens btw!
Alisha Vargas from Reno, Nevada on May 20, 2009:
Great lens! I have a house chicken version one, but I love ducks inside too. They're really special animals and make great pets. Also, I tried to add this link to the Plexo but for some reason it wasn't taking. It's for the Pet Duck and Goose Association http://www.geocities.com/petduckassociation/ 5*s
Tony Payne from Southampton, UK on May 18, 2009:
Very cool lens, 5*****
XpectMore (author) on April 23, 2009:
[in reply to Nochipra]
Thank you for viewing and commenting on my lens. I am honored that you enjoyed it.
XpectMore (author) on April 23, 2009:
[in reply to Sarunas]
Thank you for viewing, commenting, and rating my lens.
Sarunas on April 10, 2009:
I gave you 5 stars : )
Your are doing great job. Keep it up :)
Nochipra on April 09, 2009:
Nice lens! Good job!
tdove on April 06, 2009:
Thanks for joining G Rated Lense Factory!