Ducks are waterfowl birds. By the very name, you would understand that they NEED water.
They crave water. They love water. Keeping a flock of ducks happy with swimming is fairly easy. Some put out a plastic kiddie pool, and some have special ponds for their ducks. But, do ducks really need a pool or be able to swim in order to be happy?
In short, yes and no. Are you confused yet? Let me explain.
Ducks are happiest when they have a large body of water to swim around it. They love to bob for food, such as weeds or fish. Ducks are also notoriously “prissy” birds that like to preen and be clean as possible. They are kind of like cats in that they like to be clean. It’s far easier to be clean when you can dunk your whole body. Ducks need water to help them eat their food, and they drink a lot of water alone as well. So, yes, to be very happy, they need a pool.
But, no. They don’t need a pool to be healthy and happy. Ducks can be just as happy with a bucket of water, or a regular drinker that you would use for chickens. They will still splash as much as they can and play as much as they can with it. Ducks are happiest when they can dip their entire heads in the water at least.
In the winter, it’s hard for us to maintain a pool, since it freezes in the cold. That does NOT make for happy ducks! They see the water, but can’t do anything about it! And, yes, they WILL let you know about their displeasure. Loudly. Just like a cat. We put out heated buckets for them to drink from and dip their heads and bills in. (find what we use here)That way, they can at least clean out their bill, wash themselves off a bit, and enjoy their food.
In general, if you CAN provide a pond or pool, your ducks will be happiest. If you can’t, don’t despair, they will still get the water they need from what you provide. In the end, that’s all that matters really.
What do you do for your ducks on the homestead? Do they have a pool or just a bucket? Be sure to pin this for later!