Ducks are waterfowl birds. By their very name, you would understand that they NEED water.
Ducks crave water. Their love for water is in their DNA. Keeping a flock of ducks happy is as easy as providing them a means to swim. Some people choose to give their ducks a plastic kiddie pool, while others have a pond for their ducks. But, do ducks really need a pool to swim and 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. They love to bob for food, such as weeds or fish. Ducks are also notoriously “prissy” birds that like to preen and be as 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 in water. Ducks also need water to help them eat their food, and they drink a lot of water as well. So, yes, to be very happy, they need a pool.
But, no. They do not 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 and play with a bucket as much as they can. Ducks are happiest when they can at least dip their entire heads in the water.
In the winter, it’s hard for us to maintain a pool since it freezes in the cold. A frozen pool does NOT make for happy ducks! They see the water, but can’t do anything about it! And, yes, they WILL let you know that they are displeased. Loudly. Just like a cat. We solve this problem by putting out heated buckets for them to drink from and dip their heads 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 a pool your ducks will be happiest. If you can’t, don’t despair. They will still get the water they need from whatever you provide. In the end, their needs being met is what 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!