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How I got ducks and how I care for them


large product photo   How I got my ducks

I got all of my ducks at the Humane Society. When I first got a pair of ducks there, the staff wasn't really equipped to deal with birds. The ducks had been kept in a dog cage and had sores on their feet. Later, they got a bird-specific cage and now do a terrific job of caring for ducks and ducklings until they are adopted. I've heard some horror stories about animal shelters that will not release birds to the public, but here in Pasadena, they happily adopt out their ducks.

The ducks end up at the pound for different reasons. Some are ducklings found abandoned. Some are adult ducks that people have tried to release to lakes or ponds, but which were never exposed to the wild or even to water. Some didn't even know how to swim! It's cruel to dump a domestic duck off at a lake or pond unless there is a caretaker who feeds them appropriate duck food, and some way for them to keep away from predators such as raccoons and coyotes.



large product photo   Taking Care of Ducks

The author of the book Enslaved by Ducks (read it here) says that ducks require "more maintenance than the Space Shuttle." In a way he's right--ducks are healthy and don't need shots, rarely fall ill, and in California don't take any special weatherproof housing, but they still require a good amount of attention.

The key thing is that they MUST be in a predator-proof pen between dusk and dawn. I used a commercial "build your own chicken coop" kit to make them a coop. I lock it with a padlock because raccoons can open the latch. The wire on the coop can't let a raccoon get its paw through, or it will reach in and mangle your ducks.

Ducks also need a good quality feed, which I get at a feed store. You can supplement their diet with vegetable and fruit trimmings, worms, and even cat food. Mine forage in the yard dawn to dusk, so they eat a lot of bugs.

Much, much more can be found on the wonderful duck site, Live Ducks




large product photo   Ducks and Water

I was fortunate that my house came with a pond. Ducks MUST submerge their heads to drink, at a bare minimum--but to really make them happy, they need a place to swim. The pond is automatically filtered by a pump and adding a few water lilies each summer keeps the organic detritus down.

As a supplement to the little pond--and for those ducks that never learned to swim and are afraid of water (it happens)--I use plastic cement-mixing tubs. These are also good for putting in the coop for them to use overnight. They need to be washed and refilled at least every other day.



large product photo   Ducklinks

Live Ducks

Carolina waterfowl rescue's how to build a duck coop

ducks as pets

Backyard Chickens

Pasadena Humane Society

Duck rescue