Regardless of what many sources say, ducks are not low-maintenance pets. Ducks and
geese can live ten to twenty years and they thrive in environments where there is
plenty of interaction and companionship with their owners and other ducks and geese.
Domestic waterfowl are social creatures, so you should always have more than one.
If you do not have a pond, an alternative can be a hard, plastic children’s pool
(plan on replacing water daily). These pools should be supplied with a ramp or step
so the birds can easily enter and exit the water.
Fresh drinking water supplied in stable plastic or stainless steel bowls are safest
for waterfowl and should be placed near their food dish. Ducks and geese do not have
teeth to chew and they use water to wash food down to prevent from choking.
Providing a proper diet for your bird is crucial to keeping them healthy. Cracked
corn is NOT an option as is holds very little of the nutrition needed by waterfowl.
We highly recommend Mazuri Waterfowl feed, which can be purchased in 50 lb. bags
from D & B Supply. Mazuri is formulated to meet the nutritional needs of waterfowl,
rather than other brands that are geared toward fattening them up to be sold market
for human consumption. Ducks and geese should never be fed medicated poultry feeds.
Be advised that ducks and geese are extremely messy eaters and poop a lot. They also
cannot be potty trained.
Periodically ducks and geese can also be given treats such as scrambled eggs and
chopped hard-boiled eggs, diced tomatoes, chopped lettuce, diced vegetables, diced
melon, earthworms, and meal worms. Foods that should never be given to waterfowl
are bread, popcorn, pretzels, chips, crackers, cookies, seeds, or nuts.
Ducks that are laying eggs need lots of calcium which should be fed to them through
sunflower seeds, turnip greens, and crushed egg shells. Without proper calcium, chickens
may become egg bound, a serious condition where a fully-formed egg lodges in the
shell gland. Eggs can also be soft shelled or brittle if there is not enough calcium
in the diet. These eggs can break before leaving the oviduct and can lead to serious
bacterial infections and even death.
Warning: waterfowl love shiny metal objects such as coins, screws, nuts, bolts, nails
jewelry, staples, aluminum foil, etc. When ducks or geese find a sparkly item they
are more than likely going to swallow it, which will lead to the grim illness of
Hardware Disease. The digested metal poisons the bird, harming the kidneys and liver.
Hardware Disease is almost always fatal and can easily be prevented making sure that
all areas your birds roam is free of any small metal objects.
Shelter is very important to domestic ducks and geese as they need a place to escape
from the elements and to hide from predatory animals. Pet ducks and geese should
never be caged in small enclosures as they should have plenty of room to move freely
and flap his/her wings. Ducks and geese must be locked up evening at sundown in an
enclosure that is completely predator proof. The shelter should be fully enclosed
as predators will reach through bars, dig under, or come in from above. Mesh wire,
solid flooring or concert, and a sturdy roof will protect pet birds from raccoons,
skunks, raptors, owls, etc.
Hay or straw can be used for bedding and should be replaced often as to avoid mold
that is hazardous you and your pet. Avoid wire flooring as bare wire is painful on
birds’ feet and can cause injury. Concrete alone is also too rough for the birds’
feet, and can be softened by adding a thick layer of sand or straw. Pine chips, cedar
bedding and other wood chips can cause respiratory problems, intestinal blocking
Keeping your birds in a fenced yard is an important deterrent to daytime predators
such as at large dogs. Unfortunately, there is always a risk when owning waterfowl,
but a fenced yard greatly reduces the possibility of a predatory attack.
Ducks and geese require access to a constant supply of fresh water for drinking,
as well as access to water for swimming and bathing. Ducks and geese are extremely
susceptible to botulism; therefore, water free from bacteria, algae, and parasites