Ducks are a perfect addition to your backyard if you want to foster more animals in your property. Just like chickens, they provide eggs, meat, and entertainment. Ducks also love to stay in the water because it keeps them clean and healthy. They also need a sufficient supply of water for their consumption.
Ducks generally don’t need a pond to live in your backyard. They only need enough water for a bath and drink. If you want to take care of them, you can provide separate tubs or pools to prevent the water from getting contaminated whenever they clean their heads in the water.
In this article, we will discuss the importance of water access for ducks and the things to know when feeding and housing backyard ducks.
Why Is It Important for Ducks to Have Access to Water?
Ducks should have access to water to maintain cleanliness and avoid catching parasites. Swimming on water helps activate their preening gland, and thus, makes their feathers healthy. Most importantly, ducks need water to drink and drain down.
When it comes to cleaning, water is an essential element. To let your ducks clean themselves, we advise providing them with water access. Establishing a pond in your yard is a good way to give your ducks freedom anytime they want to clean themselves.
Although you do not need a pond in your yard, having one can lessen the need to provide and maintain the cleanliness of your ducks at all times. But, there are a few drawbacks you may encounter if you don’t construct a pond. Some of these are the frequent maintenance and added work to take care of your ducks.
2. It prevent parasites
Ducks need water access to protect themselves from parasites’ attacks, just like other animals. If the parasites are already in them, they can get rid of them from time to time. Having a bath regularly can protect ducks from the pests that attack them.
Water access for ducks helps them avoid catching diseases due to the viruses. Leaving them with open water is a smart way to save time on maintenance. Although, bear in mind that you still need to conduct a regular clean-up to sustain the clean water.
3. It helps ducks’ preen glands
Ducks’ preen glands work every time they swim in the water. This gland helps provide oil on their feathers for waterproofing purposes. While or after the ducks swim in the water, they will preen their feathers.
The preening action helps spread the oil provided by their glands. Without water, the glands won’t activate immediately.
4. It makes their feathers healthy
We recommend providing them with established water access to keep their feathers healthy. Since preen glands activate every time they swim, water is the most crucial factor to make their feathers strong. Ducks’ feathers help protect their bodies from the different weather conditions and help them regulate their body temperature when encountering too much cold and heat.
5. It helps in mating
In some instances, ducks choose to mate more in the water. Just like other animals, ducks also mate to multiply their population. Some say that ducks prefer to mate in the water as they are more fertile in there.
6. It makes them happy
Water offers ducks several benefits which make them content in their habitat. They can indeed enjoy themselves with their fellow ducks while swimming in the water. If you are wondering about the definition of happiness from their perspective, think about how they are allowed to bathe anytime they want.
With a healthy and clean environment, you can ensure you won’t encounter problems like recovering the ducks due to diseases and many other issues.
Aside from cats and dogs, there are tons of other animals that you can keep as pets in your backyard. If you are looking for an animal that is generally calm, hardy, and produces excellent eggs, you should consider getting ducks. Here are 10 reasons why ducks make great backyard pets.
How Much Water Do Ducks Need?
Since we talked about how swimming can positively affect ducks, you must think of two things when providing them with water access. The first one is the depth of the water in which they can completely submerge their heads, and the second one is that it allows them to swim. It’s also ideal to establish a pond to provide them with plenty of water.
Depth to Submerge Ducks’ Heads
Providing ducks with a basin with water is a great idea if you don’t want to construct a pond in your yard. Although, the most important thing to take note of is the depth of the water. You must provide water on a basin wherein they can fully submerge their heads to allow them to clean their bills.
If you are a newbie and noticed most of the ducks’ behaviors before, you probably know that they usually wet their whole heads on the water. This looks like a mannerism, but the purpose is to keep mucous membranes clean and wet at all times. Ducks are always using their bills to eat or nudge something, making them dirty.
After they dirty their bills, ducks proceed to clean themselves with water, which explains why you usually saw them submerge their heads in it. Ducks also need water to drink, so ensure they can consume the water you provided them as they tend to choke.
Make sure the water is deep enough to cover the whole head of the duck when it tries to submerge itself in the water.
Letting ducks swim
Ducks don’t need a pond, but they will enjoy swimming if they have access to water. Those who do not have a pond sometimes provide their ducks with a kiddie pool where they can swim. Some types of ducks, like domestic ones, spend some of their time paddling in the water.
You should put drainage under huge plastic tubs so you can easily change the water anytime. On the other hand, if you are using a kiddie pool, you are allowed to transfer or clear the water since it is lightweight. The materials used to manufacture it are also portable.
During the winter, the pond or alternative tub of your ducks is expected to have a messy and dirty area. To prevent this from happening, you can use the deep litter method, which requires you to cover the surroundings with litter. This will help in drying up both the place and ducks.
Things You Should Know When Feeding and Housing Backyard Ducks
When housing the ducks, you can keep them inside the chicken coop, although you should apply a few measures when doing so. Ducks can also float in the pond at night. They feed on vegetables or pellets, as long as their bills have enough space to eat them.
You should preferably create a duck housing separated from your chickens since both animals have different needs. For example, ducks prefer to rest at night near the water, unlike chickens, who need perches to roost at night. If you are also wondering about their eggs, you can either provide a specific area or let them choose a nesting place.
Ducks don’t just come home at night the first time you take care of them in your yard. They will observe this practice through training by herding them to their houses when the night comes. They will get used to this routine and return to their respective habitat in the long run.
Housing ducks in a chicken coop
Some people keep their ducks together with the chickens in a coop. If you are planning to do this, you must apply measures that won’t impact both the chickens and ducks. These animals have different characteristics, which can bring drawbacks to each other.
There are many nocturnal duck species you may not know of yet. This means they are active at night, which can result in humidity inside the coop. To prevent this from happening, you should provide good ventilation at night if you decide to leave the ducks together with the chickens. Make sure you keep them safe, even if you provide plenty of openings in the place.
Mesh on a duck housing
Since ducks are known to only come home at night if you train them to do so, placing a mesh guiding them to their house helps lure them in. It’s a smart way to lead them without them getting lost. Install mesh to the place they are staying in the morning and put a specific one that will herd them to their house at night.
If there is water access, specifically a pond, ducks will surely stay there at night. They will keep themselves safe from predators by swimming or floating in the water.
Ducks pen is also an ideal option for the shelter of ducks, so they are protected from getting lost. Plus, it allows you to oversee them anytime. A compound will serve as protection from outdoor elements and predators. In this way, you can ensure they will go to their homes at night. Make sure you position their pens on areas with shade so they can rest under them whenever sunlight strikes them.
If you are planning to keep ducks in your backyard, one of the main concerns that you may have is them flying away from your property. Not all ducks can fly, but as a safety precaution, you should learn how to keep your backyard ducks from flying away.
Tips in Making Duck Housing
You may house the ducks in several areas in your yard, but if you are still about to engage in handling this kind of animal, you have to create duck housing. Here are some tips and reminders you must remember to avoid problems in the future while you’re taking care of ducks.
1. Provide adequate entry
Ducks commonly come together with their kind. So, if you’d like to construct a house for them, you must provide them with a huge opening for them to exit and enter. Avoid giving them small-sized entries as it may result in harming them while they go in and out of their house.
2. Provide great ventilation
Some duck species prefer to stay awake at night. If they are staying inside their house at that time, you should give them great ventilation to prevent moisture. Plan the housing first, and then, design where to put the openings to allow plenty of ventilation.
3. Housing on a pond is accessible
If you plan to place their housing on the pond, make sure you have can lift it for cleaning it. Some of these kinds of duck habitats are sold with a rope or string so you can tie them to a specific area of the pond. You can also put a pole on the ground to allow you to tie the housing in it. The housing will sometimes tend to move around since it is floating in the water, and tying it can establish its place over time. You can also drag the housing if it is out of your reach.
Housing alone isn’t safe, but surrounding it with a fence will protect the ducks from predators. If you own ducks with different breeds and want to separate each of them, a three-foot (one-meter) high fence can already cover the needed height to divide them. Bear in mind that some ducks can fly, wherein you should enclose them inside at night to avoid losing them from the housing or exposing them to predators.
5. Food and Water
We advise you to give your ducks two water accesses —one for drinking and one for cleaning their whole heads. It’s recommended to provide them with separate water to prevent them from drinking muddy water. If you don’t have any choice, you can use a drinker for poultry to keep the duck’s drinking water clean.
In terms of food, ducks eat feed and vegetables. You can provide them with cracked corn, oats, grapes, barley, and much more. If you want to feed your ducks with pellets, provide them with a feeder where they can use their bills freely. We advise you to use huge feeders that can accommodate their bills to scoop the pellets.
Ducks are common animals in farms due to their eggs and their meat, but you can also raise them in your backyard. They love to swim in ponds, but you don’t need to construct one just to provide them with water access. When it comes to providing water for your ducks, whether it is for drinking or bathing, you have a lot of options to choose from.
Ducks need an established water source to clean their heads and their bills from time to time since they always use it. They also need a separate water container for their drinking water needs. With these in mind, although it is not necessary, a pond is the best option to give your ducks the freedom to enjoy and take care of themselves.