Skip to main content

Basic Duck Care

Road sign for duck crossingDucks are raised under a wide variety of conditions, ranging from a backyard coop for a few ducks to modern housing for large flocks on a commercial duck farm. Duck farming systems around the world vary from the very extensive herding system of the Orient, to the highly intensive modern commercial duck producing systems of the West, which are becoming much more common in the East as well. Regardless of the category of duck keeping, there are certain basic requirements that must be met if ducks are to remain healthy. Several of the pages on this site are intended to educate duck caretakers with regard to meeting these basic requirements.

Ducks adapt well to a wide range of systems of care provided they receive essential basic care. Except for the early brooding stage, when ducklings require a higher temperature and special attention by the caretaker (see brooding), the basic requirements of ducks are as follows.

  • Protection from extremes in weather conditions and predators.
  • A clean, dry sheltered area. Although ducks can spend most of their time outdoors, on ponds or in wet areas, they require a clean dry sheltered area where they can retreat, rest, clean and preen their feathers. This allows them to waterproof their plumage, which protects their skin from injury and helps keep their body warm.
  • Clean water for drinking, i.e., water that is free of germs and toxins harmful to ducks. Water for swimming is not essential, but can be beneficial in areas where temperatures are high.
  • A diet that provides all of the duck's daily nutritional needs.
  • Adequate light stimulation, especially for layers.
  • Protection from disease

Tirath S. Sandhu, DVM, Ph.D. and William F. Dean, Ph.D.