Ducks are extraordinary animals, and they make wonderful pets. I’ve been raising ducks for around three years now, and I can honestly say that it never gets tiring or less fun. Hanging out with ducks is always a pleasure!
Besides their cute little bills and webbed feet, ducks are truly lovable animals — and super friendly. Saying that, there are ways you can cement that undying love between you and a duck.
So if you’re wondering how to make ducks love you, let me share some tips with you to ensure you build a friendship for life.
1. Select the Calmest, Most Sociable Duck Breed
First things first, to increase your chances of getting your duck to like you, it’s a good idea to carefully select your duck breed. There are many factors to consider, ranging from size to flying ability, mothering ability to conservation status.
You want a duck that has no intention of eating your pets, and one that won’t be able to fly out their fenced enclosure. Because that would just be sad. You also want a duck that would make a good mom if you ever decide to raise ducklings. And most importantly, choose a duck breed that’s in a high risk category so you can play a role in keeping them from going extinct.
In terms of calmness and sociability, here are the top five duck breeds:
- Silver Appleyard
- Welsh Harlequin
- Black Swedish
So if you want a duck that’s going to be naturally easy to raise and get to like you, choose one of the above breeds.
2. Raise them from Birth
Ducks are far more likely to like you if they’ve been raised by you and constantly given human interaction. See, ducks aren’t like dogs that can be easily socialized. They are a little more complex in that they need A LOT of human interaction from a young age to feel comfortable around humans. Without that initial human interaction, it may be hard to get the bond you’re seeking.
Due to a process known as imprinting, ducks will bond with you for life (and follow you around for life) if you’re the first thing they see upon hatching. Generally, I don’t recommend doing this. Although it’s a nice idea having a duck follow you around for life with unending trust, it’s not the most ethical route. I’d always recommend raising a duck with their duck mother for a natural childhood and healthy progression into adulthood.
3. Hold them as Much as Possible
Ducks really do love to be held — well, most of them anyway. If you want to improve your bond with a duck, hold him as much as you can to show him how much you care for him.
Whenever you have a free moment, cherish your duck with love. It could be when you’re having a cup of tea outside, watching TV, or working on your computer. If you want to get ducks to like you, that one-on-one contact is vital.
It’s no different to human babies. They need that contact and that touch to feel loved and appreciated. It’s an easy trick, but believe me it works incredibly well. I’m always holding my ducks whenever I get a chance, and they can’t get enough of me.
4. Feed them By Hand
Yep, ducks like to be fed by hand. You don’t need to feed them this way all the time. However, it can definitely increase your bond with a duck. Over time, he’ll get to see you as the person who hands out treats, and who doesn’t like treats, right?
Some ideas for treats he’ll love include peas, sardines, and mealworms. DO NOT feed him bread. I know people have been doing that for decades, but it’s actually super unhealthy for dogs. Besides not contributing to their nutritional needs, feeding ducks bread can cause a slew of health issues ranging from wing deformities to lameness and bone growth issues. And with these issues, drucks are more vulnerable to predators as they won’t be able to get away as quickly.
If you want to get ducks to like you, remove the feeder for a few hours and feed them by hand. It won’t be long before the two of you are BFFS!
5. Talk to them in a Gentle Voice
The most important thing when it comes to raising ducks is making sure they’re comfortable around you. An easy way to make a duck comfortable around you is by regularly speaking to him in a gentle voice. He’ll soon recognize you as someone familiar as he gets used to your voice. Before you know it, the two of you will be best buds.
Whatever you do, DO NOT shout at ducks. Shouting will only scare them and steal their trust. You want ducks to feel 100% relaxed and comfortable around you. Once you start raising your voice, they won’t feel that way and will do everything they can to avoid you. Show ducks the love and respect they deserve by always talking to them in a soft and soothing voice. It’ll pay off!
6. Cuddle Them
Ducks love to be cuddled. They’re highly social animals that want to be around other animals or people constantly, or else they get really lonely and anxious.
Shower your duck with love from an early age to show him he’s loved and adored. Give him as much attention as you can so he never needs to feel alone or afraid. With that said, ducks are only happy to be cuddled by those they know and trust. If you’re scary to him, he certainly won’t want to be held, touched, or cuddled. With ducks, it’s all about gaining his trust from the beginning. So if you’re raising ducks, make sure you’re showering him with love and cuddles from a very young age.
7. Never Chase Them
Ducks do not like to be chased. In fact, chasing them is a quick way to lose their trust. In order to establish a connection with ducks and get them to like you, you need to remain calm and collected around them. Sudden movements and chasing them will only frighten them and ultimately, break their trust.
And it’s not only you who shouldn’t chase them. If you have a cat or dog at home, you’ll need to make sure they are separated from the ducks as there’s a high chance one of the two will chase your ducks. Also, if you have a young kid at home, teach them to respect your ducks and explain to them why it isn’t a good idea to run after them.
If you want to play with ducks, simply hold and cuddle them. They’ll enjoy every minute of it.
8. Give them Freedom to Forage
Ducks love foraging, so give them plenty of opportunity to do it. They’ll love you for it! In addition to it being fun for them as they look for bugs and other interesting things, the exercise is also really important for them. So be sure to take them out and let them explore their world. Try to make a regular habit of doing this so they can get plenty of stimulation and exercise.
If you want to make ducks love you, you need to put their needs and desires first. Give them the life they deserve, and you’ll certainly get rewarded for it in duck love.
9.Keep their Water Bowls Full
Like every animal, ducks need water. But here’s something you might not know: they need LOTS of water — I’m talking crazy amounts. It’s hard to believe for a relatively small animal that they’d require so much water, and yet they do. But it’s not just for drinking. Ducks need to be able to dip their entire bill into water to keep their nostrils clean.
So make sure you give them a container that’s big enough to soak themselves in. Avoid using a nipple waterer as some local farm stores do, as these simply aren’t sufficient for a duck’s needs.
If you didn’t know it already, ducks love to dip. They do it dozens of times a day. And because they like to drench themselves in water, you need to give them the means to do it. If you aren’t sure about anything, speak to your local veterinarian for professional advice.
10. Give them Greens
Ducks love things like chopped kale, Romain lettuce, and Swiss chard. Basically, they love their greens! To land a special place in their heart, feed these tasty greens to your webbed footed friends.
The best part is, in addition to ducks loving greens, they’re also super healthy and nutritious. In other words, they’re an excellent supplement to their diet.
My ducks love greens — way more than I do! Whenever I’ve got some spare kale sitting on my plate, I’ll happily feed it to Delilah, Patricia, William, and the gang. And they’re always very happy when I do! If only I could get that excited over my veggies!
Other healthy foods my ducks love (as I’m sure your ducks will too!) are fresh watermelon and pumpkin.
11. Continue Holding, Petting, and Treat-Feeding Throughout Adulthood
It’s important to never neglect a duck if you want to form a bond for life with him. He’ll just get sad, lonely, and stressed, and nobody wants that. So, keep up the holding, petting, cuddling, and treat-feeding well through adulthood to maintain his love and affection.
I do this on a regular basis, at least once every few hours for each flock member to ensure he’s getting the love he craves (and deserves!). Okay, so not all of them enjoy it. I have a couple that prefer seeing me from the ground, rather than being picked up and fondled. However, the rest of my ducks cannot get enough. They love those few minutes of affection, and I love giving it to them.
One of my ducks, Delilah, gets an hour of cuddling right before bedtime when I’m settling down for the night. Sometimes, she even sleeps next to me in bed. That’s how close the two of us are! Delilah would cuddle with me all day long if it were up to her.
12. Be Patient
Getting ducks to like you might be a long process, but it will be worth it. It’s essential that you be as patient as you can and don’t try to force the process along, as you may end up scaring them rather than bonding with them.
Do all the things I mentioned above, be consistent, and trust me, your duck (or ducks) will soon be besotted with you. As a duck owner myself, I know the powers of patience, and it’s totally worth it in the end when you get to cuddle and connect with your ducks. There’s really nothing better.