Yes, your pet ducks need housing. They need an escape from weather, predators, and general stress…just like a human does. If you take some relatively simple steps to ensure you pet ducks have adequate shelter, it will go a long in promoting their well-being and happiness.
Once again, we turn to the pet duck experts at LiveDucks.com for advice on how to house ducks. Also, a lot of the general waterfowl knowledge for this article comes from the section on keeping ducks and geese at PoultryKeeper.com .
Here are some guidelines for providing your ducks with excellent shelter –
- Roaming – Ideally, you’ll allow your ducks to roam your entire yard. If this is not viable, give them as large of an area as you can, ensuring that it is clean and safe from predators. Also, use and area that is accessible to you for feeding, cleaning, and socializing.
- Cages and Kennels – Do not fully cage your adult ducks unless it is to provide protection from predators. If you must cage your ducks, have the floor covered with bedding as a wire frame cage or even a flat metal surface can damage your ducks’ legs. Also, make sure the gaps in the wire frame aren’t too wide so the ducks don’t stick their heads or wings through them, as this can result in injury.
Nighttime – Ducks should have access to a sheltered area for bedding and protection at night time. If you bring in your ducks at night you greatly reduce the liklihood of an attack from predators and weather hazards. A pen with a sheltered area usually works great.
- Size – Avoid cramped enclosures that do not allow the duck to flap their wings and move around. If you’re ready to buy ducks, their instructions suggests that ducklings need ½ square foot of floor space the first week, 1 square foot the second week, and 3 square feet after that.
- Bedding – It is important that you use appropriate bedding to provide your ducks with adequate comfort and insulation. Also, change bedding regularly to prevent mold from building up. This can be hazardous to you and to your ducks.
- Recommended Bedding Materials – hay, straw, fleece, newspaper strips (but not for the long term)
- Materials to NOT use – wood chips, litter, anything that presents a choking hazard
Ducklings – Keeping ducklings in a cardboard box for safety and warmth reasons is perfectly acceptable. However, be sure that their bedding is not a flat surface, as this can cause spraddled or splay legs.
- Heat – Even when conditions are mild or warm, ducks of up to about 4 weeks old need a steady heat source. Usually this is a heat lamp placed high enough such that ducks will not burn themselves.
By being careful to avoid potential harzards, and providing your ducks with basic comforts you can create a safe any happy environment for your pets.