Quack FAQ's are written by Live Ducks fans like you. We are not trained or licensed professionals. The information published on this page is based on personal experience and research. This information should never be substituted for a professional waterfowl expert or avian veterinarian's advice.
  1. I found an abandoned duck or nest what should I do?
  2. I'm getting a duck, any tips?
  3. What do ducks eat?
  4. How do I keep ducks out of my swimming pool?
  5. Is chlorine safe for ducks?
  6. Do my ducks wings need clipping?
  7. How long do duck eggs incubate?
  8. Are ducks safe around children?
  9. My ducks are messy, is there anything I can do?
10. Can a duck be potty trained?
11. How long do ducks live?
12. Do ducks see in color?
13. Is my duck a boy or a girl? - photo
14. How do I care for baby ducks?
15. Which breed makes the best pet?
16. Where can I buy a duck?
17. Do ducks make good pets?
18. Giving a duck as an Easter gift?
19. I submitted a question, why wasn't it answered?

I found an abandoned duck or nest what should I do?
Ducklings are rarely abandoned by their Mothers, who may be watching from a distance until the humans leave. It is best to leave the baby alone unless it is in immediate danger or you are sure the Mother has been killed or hurt. If you have already "rescued" the baby, immediately put it in a warm, dark, quiet place where it will not be disturbed, such as a box, never in water. Immediately contact a Rehabber, Fish & Game (Do a search for Fish & game in your state) or animal control for further instructions. Unless you fully understand the difference between a wild duck and a domestic breed, do not attempt to care for any duck if you plan to release it later.
I am thinking about getting a duck, any tips?
Forget everything you have been told by breeders and pet store owners - many are in the business of selling ducklings to make money. They will tell you a duck is an easy pet, like a hamster. Not true. After reading our article: "Are You Ready for a Duck?" if you are prepared to take on the responsibility of caring for a duck, read the rest of our "Quack Q & A", "Duck Care", and get some information from other resources on our "Links" page.

A duck lives 10 years or more and requires special daily care to keep it from getting sick or injured. Taking alittle time to educate yourself and prepare your family for life with an exotic pet is imperative. You will understand and appreciate your duck and give him the quality of life he deserves.
What do ducks eat?
Read my Care & Feeding page for basic duck and duckling feeding information.

Contrary to popular belief, bread and crackers are a dangerous food for ducks - occasional feeding of this is so-so, but your duck will suffer malnutrition if proper feeding is ignored. Chocolate is NOT safe for ducks and dogs. Avoid nuts and seeds. Duck have a different digestive system than most other birds and can't handle many of the same foods that are safe for some birds.

What they can eat off the menu: Aside from pelleted mash, their staple food (what they eat on a daily basis), they enjoy vegetable trimmings, algae, plants, snails, meal worms, night crawlers, coy food, feeder goldfish, and expensive landscaping.

Chopped, hard-boiled eggs are good for a treat. Some foods that are OK for adults are not particularly safe for a duckling, especially anything containing breads and certain dry foods, so check with your vet first.

Ducks in the wild eat a variety of plants, insects, and native foods that will differ from region and from breed to breed. Humans should never feed any ducks, including wild ducks. Read why
How do I keep ducks out of my swimming pool?
Try floating colored objects such as kid's toys or inflatables in the pool. If that doesn't discourage them, a pool cover will do the trick. Be careful not to use anything with rope or strings that can entangle or strangle a duck.
Is chlorine safe for ducks?
We asked our veterinarian, our fish doctor and a pond specialist - all say yes, chlorine is safe for ducks and turtles. Not for fish.
Do my ducks wings need clipping?
Wild ducks fly or migrate to food sources and to escape predators. Domestic ducks like Pekins and Indian Runners have been bred in captivity for hundreds of years making their body weight too heavy to allow flight. If you have reason to be concerned about your duck flying away, don't clip the wings yourself unless you are familiar with wing anatomy. Ducks have blood vessels in their feathers, an accidental nip can cause bleeding and lead to infection and death. Best to see a vet.
How long do duck eggs incubate?
Most domestic duck breeds incubate their eggs in 28 days. The eggs hatch within 24 hours of each other. Before you incubate duck eggs, be sure you can provide them with a permanent home for their entire life. A domestic duck cannot be "released" into a lake or pond with wild ducks.
Are ducks safe around children?
Ducks are usually friendly and great fun for kids of all ages to feed - at a distance. Without strict supervision they should never be trusted with a small child, as is the rule with any pet. Ducks are prone to pecking and pinching and can be seriously injured or killed if mishandled.
My ducks are messy, is there anything I can do?
No doubt about it, ducks are messy, and can be managed with some ingenuity. We feed them mash pellets twice a day and restrict them to a designated area using sturdy plants and wire fencing. Droppings are cleaned up at least once daily to prevent pests and odor.
Can a duck be potty trained?
No, ducks do not have the physical anatomy required (a sphincter muscle), so they can't "hold it" until they reach a litter box or designated area. You can, however observe their patterns and learn when they do most of their pooping and schedule their indoor visits around that time. Or you can diaper a duck using a variety of materials, including baggies, Preemie disposable diapers, or a diaper harness, custom made by Nancy Townsend. See her website for pricing and ordering information.
How long do ducks live?
It's a fact that a wild duck can live 20 years or more. The world record is a Mallard Drake that lived to a ripe old age of 27 years. Domestic ducks typically live 10-15 years in captivity. Those same domestic ducks you see in your local ponds and lakes - abandoned by their owners to fend for themselves typically survive less than three years. Bread, crackers and "people foods" are devastating for all ducks.
Learn More
Do ducks see in color?
Yes, ducks see color, depth and have pretty much the same view as humans.
Is my duck a boy or a girl?
Males tend to be larger, prettier in coloring, and have a softer quack. Mature male ducks, called drakes, have drake feathers on their tail that curl upwards.

Pekin Male Drake Feather
Photo: Nick and Jennifer Lukehart
Full-size picture in Photo Album
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Females often have less colorful markings so they can hide from predators while nesting. Females have a loud quack, their features are finer, beaks and feet are smaller and body more streamlined. The scientific way to tell the difference is called "sexing". Vent sexing takes training and skill. Check with a veterinarian for more information. Straight run ducks are not a breed, they are ducks that have not been sexed.

To tell the sex of ducklings that are not fully mature, you need to bring the duckling to a professional duck sexer or a veterinarian. Live Ducks does not provide instructions for duck sexing. Duck genitalia is internal and a duckling can be injured or killed with improper handling.
How do I care for baby ducks?
These websites explain and/or have links to basic duck care, how to hatch ducks and more:
 - Live Ducks - Our own webpage, packed with information on care, feeding, shelter and health.
 - The Poultry Connection
 - Raising Young Waterfowl: Ducklings and Goslings
Which breed makes the best pet?
There are several domestic duck breeds, each having slightly different characteristics. Ask the owner of every breed and they'll say theirs is the best. We have begun a Domestic Breed page to show the contrasts and similarities between the various common breeds most chosen as pets.
Go there
Where can I buy a duck?
There are several options: pet store (not advised), animal shelter, farm, and mail order. We purchased our ducks from a farm in California called Metzer Farms. They raise ducks for a variety of purposes, including for sale as pets. Check with them for details regarding sales and shipping. Beware of breeders selling ducklings with "warmers". The warmers are live male chicks, so you'll end up with more than the ducks you ordered.

For a resource that sells ducklings, call ducks and goslings, with a minimum order of 2 and a Live Arrival guarantee, please visit eFowl.com to buy a duck.

To find hatcheries that sell fertilized duck eggs ready to incubate, see our Links 'n More page.
Do ducks make good pets?
Absolutely, but it takes a disciplined person to be a duck owner. Ducks require far more upkeep and a bigger commitment than a dog or cat. Our article "Are You Ready for a Duck?" is a must read if you've never owned a duck. Read stories from duck owners to find out from other duck owners what's really involved in caring for a duck.

Giving a duck as a gift?
Read this first.

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