Do Ducks Smell? (All You Need To Know)

Ducks are adorable creatures that are surprisingly very intelligent. While you may never discover how intelligent these animals are by seeing them in the wild, people who own ducks will tell you that these animals can learn commands and understand emotions on a basic level.

Having a duck as a pet is fairly popular and brings new meaning to man’s best friend, but if you’ve ever owned chickens or other outdoor animals, they tend to smell. So it’s natural to wonder, do ducks smell?

Ducks as animals, do not smell! Unlike chickens, ducks are not subject to smelling bad. The reasoning for this is because ducks rarely have parasites and other issues that cause them to release a terrible odor.

Granted, many people associate the potentially terrible smell coming from the duck‘s habitat with the animal. More often than not, if you’re smelling a foul odor, it’s probably the ducks’ pen and not the animal. But, they can smell if they play in dirty water or dirt.

What Causes Ducks to Smell?

Nine times out of ten, if you think your ducks are smelly, it’s probably their environment or they’ve rolled in something smelly in their pen.

If you’re keeping your duck or ducks in an area where they have a pen that’s indoors, they’re probably eating, sleeping, and pooping in that area. When ducks spend a lot of time in a smelly area, they’re going to smell.

How To Keep Your Ducks From Smelling

Since the odor you’re smelling from your ducks is most likely their pen, the best way to keep them from smelling is to keep their home clean and odor-free. Preventing foul odors from lingering on your ducks will take a little bit of effort, but what pet doesn’t? 

Cleaning out your duck pen regularly will help prevent them from smelling. Removing any droppings that smell will give their environment is sanitary and helps prevent smells. Plus, ducks naturally want to roll in the dirt and their droppings. It’s just how they are.

If you haven’t built your ducks a pen yet or are looking to upgrade your current one, you’ll need one that has plenty of ventilation. Ventilation helps let the odor escape and not trap your ducks in.

In addition to proper ventilation, if you have several ducks, overcrowding can contribute to smelly ducks. Remember, giving your ducks shelter is needed, but they should still have a way to venture outdoors and play in the sun, rain, and ideally, a body of water.

Another way to keep your duck‘s pen smelling fresh is to spread lime with sawdust around the pen. This isn’t a long-term fix, but it can help mask the smell of their environment until you can improve the coop or fully clean it.

Ducks love the water, so giving them a bath not only keeps them from smelling like their environment but lets you form an emotional bond with them. Ducks are emotional creatures, and if you raise them from a young age, you bathing them will only bring you closer together.

How Many Species of Duck Are There?

Something you may not know is that the word duck refers to numerous species of waterfowl. But how many species of waterfowl or duck are there? There are over 100 different species of duck known to man.

Not all of these animals are considered domestic, though. It’s doubtful that you’ll see all the different duck species in your lifetime, especially because some are on the endangered species list.

There are several species of duck that are commonly found in domestic areas or owned as pets. The types of ducks you may see roaming suburban neighborhoods or own as a pet are:

  • Blue Swedish Ducks
  • Bali Ducks
  • Pekin Ducks
  • Magpie Ducks
  • Aylesbury Ducks
  • Indian Runner Ducks
  • Muscovy Ducks
  • Saxony Ducks

What Do Ducks Eat?

Ducks surprisingly have a rather large variety in their diet. When you own ducks, it’s best to mimic the diet that they would have in the wid. Ducks in the wild tend to feast on aquatic vegetation. This includes seeds and pondweed but also insects, worms, water snails, and amphibians.

Ducks tend to stick their heads underwater to find their food. If you can provide an environment where they can practice this, you’ll have some happy ducks.

Offering your ducks a diet they’d have in the wild may not be the easier thing to do all the time. You can also feed your ducks sweetcorn, lettuce, peas, oats, rice, and seeds.

You can feed them fresh, canned, or frozen sweetcorn as long as you defrost it first. The same goes for peas; just make sure the frozen ones are defrosted.

As far as rice and oats go, there’s no need to cook them. Although cooked rice and oats are just fine, you don’t need to go through the trouble unless you want to.

Wait, What About Bread?

You may have noticed that I didn’t mention bread in the above section. I think we’ve all heard about or have fed ducks in the park bread before. But contrary to popular belief, bread is not good for ducks. You shouldn’t feed ducks bread because it doesn’t provide any nutritional value for them.

It tends to fill their stomachs without giving and nutrients, and then they’ll avoid eating for a while. If you just had a mini heart attack reading that like I did when I learned this information, take a deep breath. You haven’t harmed the ducks if you’ve done this before.

While bread doesn’t provide any nutrients for ducks, it’s also not particularly dangerous to them.

How Long Do Pet Ducks Live?

No one likes to think about their beloved pet passing away, but unfortunately, it’s inevitable. When you have ducks as a pet, you can expect them to be around for quite some time. Most domesticated ducks live to be 20 years old!

You’ll want to keep in mind that not all ducks will make it to 20 years, but with proper care, these pets can be around for a very long time.

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