Pet Ducks: How Many should I have? And where do I get them from?

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Last updated on May 10th, 2024 at 07:37 pm

Do you consider getting ducks? Like all animals, they need proper care. Please do your homework before getting ducks. They are no easy pets and have much higher maintenance than cats or dogs.

In this post, we will go over the following considerations:

  • Number of Ducks
  • Gender of Ducks
  • Where do I get my Ducks from?

Number of Ducks

You may wonder how many ducks you should have. The answer is at least two. Ducks are flock animals and very social creatures. They need companionship from other ducks and can die from loneliness if kept alone. The bigger the flock, the better for them. When having a larger flock, you will see how amazing their group dynamics are.

group of ducks
Our Duck Flock

You may see on social media that some ducks are kept alone as ‘house ducks’; this is, however, not the ideal scenario for a duck. There might be situations where this is the only option, for example, when their partner passes away or the duck is disabled. But remember that this means you need to care for your duck 24/7. So unless you have the time to have them around you all the time, you should get them a duck friend.

Gender of Ducks

Should you get all girls, all boys, or a mix? It depends on the flock size you are planning to get. When you only want to have a small flock, you should consider having all males or all females. Drakes are very sexually active and should have at least three to four girls to avoid over-mating. Five to six girls per drake would even be better. We have a mixed flock of six hens and one drake, which works very well for us.

Hens

A flock with only girls has the advantage that girls usually get better along with each other. And you will have fresh eggs. But girls quack a lot, and this can be pretty loud. So keep this in mind when you live in a residential neighborhood.

white crested duck
Schnaterinchen, our white-crested duck

Drakes

Having only boys will give the advantage that they are pretty quiet compared to girls. Their raspy noise is not very loud and will not disturb your neighbors. But boys can be aggressive during mating season and start to fight each other (even if there are no girls around). That means that you may need to separate them during that time.

Cayuga duck
Simon, our Cayuga Drake

Where do I get my Ducks from?

Local Farm Store (not the best option)

During Spring, you will see that many farm stores sell ducklings. This is, however, not the best option. They are often unsexed (straight run), meaning you will not know what gender they are until they are about five to eight weeks old. That makes it difficult when you only want to have a small backyard flock and want to make sure to have a proper hen-to-drake ratio. And what do you do if you have too many drakes? Please remember that it is illegal to release domestic ducks into the wild. Dumping of ducks is a real problem because many people believe that they will be happy on local ponds. That is, unfortunately, not the case. They will only have minimal chances of survival because they do not have the natural instincts like their wild counterparts to find proper food. They are also not able to fly and are, therefore, an easy meal for predators.

Hatchery

Hatcheries, such as Metzer Farms or Meyer Hatchery, are the better option if you want to get your ducks as ducklings. The advantage is that you can choose the breed and also the gender you prefer. They usually get shipped to you as day-old ducklings. Many people prefer to get ducklings because they can imprint on you, meaning they see you as their parents and trust you. That way, they get very close to you and are easy to handle.

Khaki Campbell Duckling
Duckling

Hatching your own ducklings from fertilized eggs can be an option as well. That is super exciting, but the survival rate may be low, and again, you have no control over their gender.

Rescue/Sanctuary

Another very good option is to get adult ducks. Numerous ducks need to be relocated for various reasons. There are also many dumped ducks that end up in rescues or sanctuaries and are waiting to get adopted. Check your local rescues, adoption networks, or classifieds. The advantage of adult ducks is obviously that you can choose the gender and breed you prefer. And you do well because you are giving a duck a new home.

What’s next?

You may wonder what are the next steps after getting ducks? Make sure that they can live a happy and healthy life of course!

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Melanie (Duck Mom)
Melanie (Duck Mom)

Introducing Melanie, the passionate soul behind Ducks of Providence, your ultimate duck haven. With her flock of feathered friends by her side - Emma, Hertha, Schnatterinchen, Penny, Simon, Ronja, and Krümel - she leads readers on a quacking adventure like no other. Dive into the wonders of duck keeping with Melanie as your guide, from practical tips to heartwarming tales. Whether you're a seasoned pro or dipping your toes into the duck pond for the first time, Melanie is here to make your journey as delightful as a sunny day at the pond. Let's quack together and celebrate the joy of duck keeping!

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