33 Duck Questions Answered (The Ultimate Duck FAQ)

Duck Question Answered (The Ultimate Duck FAQ)

If you’ve ever wondered why are ducks the way they are, you are in the right place. You’ll find out how smart or dumb ducks are, do they make good pets, should you feed them bread, are they rapists?! Oh my, let’s dive right in!

Are Ducks Birds, Mammals, Or Amphibians?

Ducks are birds. They have all the characteristics a bird is supposed to have like, feathers, wings, lightweight but rigid skeleton, endothermic metabolism, a unique respiratory system, a beak, and oviparity (laying eggs).

Duck is the common name for numerous species in the waterfowl family Anatidae which also includes swans and geese.

Are Ducks And Geese The Same?

Although they belong to the same family of waterfowl birds, Anatidae, and have many similar traits, ducks and geese are not the same. Geese are generally larger than ducks and are herbivores, while ducks are omnivores. Ducks communicate by quacking and geese by honking.

Ducks are often portrayed in cartoons such as Daffy Duck and Donald Duck, and geese on the other hand are often mentioned in stories, such as a story of goose that lays golden eggs.

What about their appearance? Well ducks are smaller and have stout body with short legs, while geese have longer necks, more elongated body and longer legs compared to ducks.

Are Ducks Smart?

It is not a question if they’re smart, but how smart are they! Within 15 minutes of hatching, ducklings can learn to follow around the first moving object they see, which is usually their mother. Ducks can be quite sociable with humans and can understand our commands, play games, or play with their toys. The common duck is far smarter than scientists previously thought!

Are Ducks Good Pets?

Ducks can be extremely good and cheap pets that contrary to popular belief, do not require a pond or other open water in which to swim (although it would be nice), ducks do not smell or have an odor like chickens and are not subject to parasites, fleas or ticks.

What ducks make the best pets?

Now that we’ve established that ducks make great pets, let’s see which breeds make for best pets.

1. Pekin Ducks

American Pekin Duck
American Pekin Duck

Although you’ll mostly find them on a table as food, Pekin ducks make for great pets and if you save one from being slaughtered, even better.

2. Cayuga Ducks

Cayuga Duck
Cayuga Duck

This black and green duck is liked by many as a great yard pet as they tend to stay close to home. Their quack is less loud than that of a Pekin duck and their temperament is docile.

3. Call Ducks

Call Duck
Call Duck

The call duck is a breed of domesticated duck raised primarily for decoration or as pets. Call ducks are lively, friendly, and can be very noisy so if you live in a urban area they might not be right for you.

4. Indian Runner Ducks

Indian Runner Duck
Indian Runner Duck

The Indian Runner is probably one of the most popular breeds of pet ducks in the world. They stand erect like penguins and, rather than waddling, they run.

5. Muscovy Ducks

Muscovy Duck
Muscovy Duck

Although the Muscovy duck is a tropical bird, it adapts well to cooler climates. Muscovy Ducks, or ‘Scovies as they are known by their fans, are available in 9 different colors all of which have a red crest (called caruncles) around their eyes.

How Long Do Ducks Live As Pets?

Pet ducks that are properly cared for can live 10-15, but sometimes even up to 20 years. That is more than a house cat and most of the dogs.

Are Ducks Noisy?

Ducks can be extremely noisy. If a lot of female ducks gather around in one place, like a small pond, they will quack all day long. They will also splash around loudly in the water and quack at each other even from longer distances.

Do male ducks quack?

Male ducks, so called drakes, do quack – sort of. They make this raspy sound that is different than a female duck‘s quack. The reason why male ducks don’t quack is due to anatomical differences in the syrinx which is the vocal organ of birds. The syrinx is located at the base of a bird’s trachea and it enables some species of birds (such as parrots, crows, and mynas) to mimic human speech.

Are Ducks Messy?

In a perfect world ducks should have access to some kind of water feature, like a pond, so they can swim around and clean their feathers. Of course, where there’s water, there’s going to be mud, unless you have a concrete garden which is not actually a garden. If you don’t like mud and mess in the grass that ducks are inevitably going to make, like poop, ducks are not for you.

Are Ducks Allergic To Bread?

Bread is not a natural food source for ducks and they shouldn’t be fed bread even though ducks are not allergic to it. Scientists agree that bread is the ultimate junk food for ducks and there are many problems that could arise if you feed them bread. More on bread here.

Are Ducks Monogamous?

Ducks are generally monogamous to a certain point. They’ll have one partner at a time for up to a year, when the relationship ends. Larger ducks tend to have longer relationships that last a couple of years or more. Isn’t that sweet!

Do Ducks Have Teeth?

Ducks do not have teeth but have something similar called pecten. Pecten is a comb-like structure made of numerous capillaries, large blood vessels, and pigment cells. It has numerous useful functions, such as filtering water and traping food, just like in whales, or to preen feathers.

Are Ducks Cannibals?

As incredible as it may be, ducks can develop into being cannibals and it mostly happens in overpopulated enclosures, but can also develop out of pure boredom, and aggravated by malnutrition or faulty nutrition or even a lack of ventilation.

Birds, and especially poultry, create a social order of dominance known as pecking order. When pressure occurs within the flock, pecking can increase in aggression and escalate to cannibalism.

Are Ducks Colorblind?

Ducks have excellent eyesight
Ducks have excellent eyesight

Ducks are not colorblind, quite the contrary, they have excellent eyesight. Because their eyes are located at the sides of their head, their field of view is 340 degrees! This incredible field of view enables them to see just about everything above, below, in front of, and behind them at the same time.

Their unique saucer-shaped eyes also allow them to see both close and distant objects in sharp focus simultaneously.

Are Ducks Rapists?!

Yes, male ducks, drakes, are indeed brutal rapists that will pursue female ducks mercilessly and indiscriminately. Drakes are among the 3% of male birds that do have a penis and they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and are often up to 40 centimeters long, which is over a foot long on a duck that is itself not even a foot long.

But female ducks also have an unusual ability – they can stop the sperm of their attackers from fertilizing their eggs.

Can Ducks Fly?

Most wild duck species can fly and some of them are extremely good at it, like mallard ducks, which can sometimes fly at 21,000 feet in altitude. Domesticated ducks, on the other hand, do not fly mostly because they don’t have the need to fly away; there’s plenty of food all around and they oftentimes get too fat to fly.

The fastest duck ever recorded was a red-breasted merganser (Mergus serrator) that attained a top airspeed of 100 mph while being pursued by an airplane.

Are Ducks Omnivores?

Ducks are omnivores and their diet depends mainly on their habitat and availability of food source. They will chow down on grass, aquatic plants, algae, berries, fruits, nuts but also, worms, insects, fish and fish eggs, snails, small amphibians such as frogs, newts, and salamanders and many other different foods.

Can Ducks Eat…?

Read my extensive post with 70+ foods examined The Ultimate Duck Food FAQ!

Duck eating fish
Duck eating a fish

Can ducks eat bread?

Ducks shouldn’t be fed bread as it offers little-to-no nutritional benefits to them. Ducks and other birds do find bread tasty but the problem is that it could fill them up and then they won’t seek proper food to eat that could be more beneficial to them.

Constantly feeding them bread will prevent ducklings from learning how to forage healthy food for themselves and worst of all, a high-carbohydrate, high-protein diet is associated with a wing deformity known as “angel wing” or “airplane wing” a condition where the last joint on the wing is distorted and causes the end feathers to stick out laterally instead of lying flat against the body. This prevents the bird from flying.

Bread crumbs that are left uneaten grow mold and attract predators, both of which could hurt our awesome ducks.

Can ducks eat grapes?

Ducks eat fruit, nuts, and berries among other things, and grapes are perfectly safe and nutritious to give to your ducks (or wild ducks). Pretty much anything besides bread is a better and more nutritious food source for ducks and birds in general.

Can ducks eat tomatoes?

Duck eating a tomato
Duck eating a tomato

Tomatoes are a good food source for ducks in moderation. Only the tomato fruit or flesh itself should be eaten as by some accounts, the vines and leaves can be toxic to ducks.

Can ducks eat strawberries?

Ducks love eating strawberries and will go out of their way to forage some wild strawberries. There is nothing cuter than watching a duck eating a strawberry.

Can ducks eat blueberries?

Blueberries are some of the most favorite berries and fruits in general to ducks. Ducks will gorge on blueberries like there is no tomorrow!

Can ducks eat apples?

Ducks enjoy eating apples and baby ducklings love smashed apples because they are easier to eat. In both cases, apple seeds should be removed before feeding ducks, or any birds, because they contain cyanide that is bad for them (and us).

Can ducks eat carrots?

Ducks are certainly allowed to eat foods like carrots, parsnips, beets, potatoes, or radishes. If you want to make life easier for your ducks, give them cooked or grated carrots or any of the vegetables I just mentioned.

Food ducks shouldn’t eat?

Ducks, but also swans and geese should avoid being fed foods like avocados, onions, citrus, nuts, chocolate, popcorn, carbonated beverages, and of course alcohol. Pits from cherries, apples, plums, apricots, and peaches also contain cyanide, so never allow your ducks to chew on them.

How Long Do Ducks Live?

Although the lifespan of ducks depends on the species of ducks, wild ducks can live as long as 20 years and domesticated ducks typically live from 10 to 15 years.

Why Ducks Sleep On One Leg?

Ducks sleep, or stand for that matter, on one leg to conserve body heat. By sleeping on one leg, a duck reduces the amount of heat by half that is lost through its unfeathered limbs.

Many other birds do this, the most famous being flamingos (flamingoes?). A study on flamingos showed that the one-legged pose could be held without any muscle activity, and flamingos demonstrate substantially less body sway in a one-legged posture.

Why Ducks Wag Their Tails?

Duck tail
Duck tail

If you see a duck wagging its tail, it can mean one of several things: they got out of the water and want to rid of excess water, they just pooped, or they are happy to see you because you’re bringing treats for them. Yes, ducks wag their tails just like dogs, when they’re happy.

Why Ducks Bob Their Heads?

If a duck bobs its head up and down at you, it can mean that you are either a threat to them, they are flirting with you, or they simply want to acknowledge you and say hi.

Will Ducks Kill Chicken?

I’m not gonna lie – it can happen. If chickens and ducks are kept together, male ducks, drakes, might want to try and mount them. Because drakes have a big ol’ penis, they could seriously injure or kill the chicken or even a rooster.

Will Ducks Eat Koi Fish?

Oh boy, your prized koi fish disappeared and you’re trying to find the culprit? Look no further than your sweet little duck. Ducks are omnivores and they eat fish among other things, so a koi fish (at least on the smaller size) might be in danger of being eaten by a duck.

Ducks Or Ducts In A Row?

Do you have your ducks in a row? Or is it ducts? If you’re a mechanic, you’ll probably use ducts, as in lining up air ducts for air conditioning and heating systems to work properly. The rest of us will probably be putting our ducks in a row before completing something important or making it more efficient.

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Adrian Volenik

I've lived around animals my whole life and I hold a Diploma in Animal Physiology. When I'm not reading or writing about wild animals, health and fitness, and technology, you can find me playing with my son and two cats. My pastimes include running, playing video games, and solving the NY Times crossword.