Ducks are friendly and affectionate birds. No wonder they make such great pets! While they’re not the most conventional pet, ducks make wonderful companions. They’re a lot of fun to have around. That being said, it’s probably better to let them stay in their natural environment rather than cooping them up inside in a place that’s not natural to them.
Whether you’re a duck owner or simply a person who admires ducks, one question people often ask is “Do ducks like to be pet?” We already know how much dogs appreciate affectionate pats and cuddles, but what about ducks? Is there any evidence to show that ducks like to be petted. And if so, where do they like to be petted?
Here, you’ll find out everything you need to know about duck petting and other ways to show your duck some love.
First, Do Ducks Even Like to Be Petted?
Ducks crave attention. From birth, they form a deep bond with their parent. Human-raised ducks will spend their entire lives seeking the love and attention of their owner, just like they would if it were duck-raised. You could say they’re quite similar to dogs in the way they show their love and loyalty to their human companion. Ducklings instantly become attached to their parent, whether duck or human, which is why you’ll often see ducks following their mother and nesting close to her.
As far as touch goes, ducks do like to be touched. They’re loving animals that appreciate gentle petting in certain places. Of course, like with all animals, you’ll still need to show them the respect they deserve. That means not hurting them in any way or doing anything unpleasant to them.
However, if you’re wondering whether you can pet a duck and they’ll be happy about it, the answer is yes. So, go ahead.
Where Do Ducks Like to be Petted?
Generally speaking, ducks like to be petted anywhere. However, there are certain places they really like being petted.
Under the Lower Mandible
Under the lower mandible is one of the favorites. Do it to your duck, and you’ll notice how he’ll just stand there and close his eyes, enjoying every moment of it. In fact, he’ll stand there and enjoy it for as long as you can stand. The more attention, the better. So if you’ve got a bit of time, feel free to spend as long as you like showering your duck in love.
Around the Mouth
Surprisingly, ducks don’t mind being touched around the mouth. They especially like being petted around the V area along the top of the mouth. Just avoid being aggressive or going too close to the opening. It’s best to do a gentle patch or scratch a little further back.
All ducks love having their necks petted. Scratch it, rub it — he’ll love it! You can also move down to the shoulders with your petting to give him some attention there too. Just make sure you’re not too firm as you don’t want to make him feel threatened or afraid.
Under the Wings
Another great place to pet a duck is between and under their wings. According to some duck owners, it’s their favorite place to be petted. They’ll apparently sit there for hours, letting their owner rub away at their wings. They go into a kind of trance.
In sum, ducks like being petted everywhere on their body. Just start and see what they respond best to. There will, of course, be ducks that aren’t so into being touched and petted. You’ll know they don’t appreciate it if they try to pull away or become aggressive. If this happens, stop petting him immediately and avoid doing it in the future.
The most important thing is to pay attention to the duck. How does he respond to your petting? Does he seem to like being petted in some places better than others? Is he relaxed when being petted or nervous and angry? Pay close attention to the signs he’s giving off to make sure he’s his happiest self. The last thing you want to do is make him feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
What About Hugs?
Most ducks love LOTS of attention. However, not all ducks are the same. Like humans, some of us love hugs, while others don’t care much for them.
Once again, it’s important to keep an eye on how your duck behaves when being hugged. If he looks relaxed and content, that’s a sign you can continue cuddling with him. If he looks nervous, angry, or starts pulling away, that’s a clear sign he’s not happy about it and that you should stop with the cuddling.
Generally speaking, however, ducks like hugs and very friendly, lovable birds.
Signs a Duck is Happy
Whether you’re a duck owner or simply a duck worshipper who loves hanging out with these cool, super-adorable animals, it’s always good to know whether a duck is happy or not.
One clear indicator of a duck’s happiness is head bobbing. If he’s bobbing his head up and down, that means he’s one happy duck. Other signs include making lots of noises and quacking excitedly. Still, that doesn’t mean a duck is unhappy if he’s not bobbing or quacking. He could just be chilling.
Ducks are the happiest when they see someone they’ve not seen in a while, when they have clean, fresh water to bathe in and food, and when you give them treats. They also get super cheerful when they get to hang out with their friends.
Despite common belief, biting isn’t a sign of affection. Male ducks are known to sometimes bite female ducks to show affection. It’s basically flirting! But if a duck bites a human, that’s anything but affectionate. It’s a clear sign your duck’s not happy, and that you’ve probably done something to annoy him.
With that said, it’s extremely rare for ducks to show aggression. They are generally very friendly, social birds.
How to Show Your Duck Affection
If you haven’t grown up with a duck, it may take a while for him to trust you. To earn his trust and love, there are a few things you can do:
Pet Your Duck
Ducks generally do like being petted. Provided that you are gentle and pay attention to where he likes being petted, you’ll definitely gain his companionship by showing him your love through touch. And remember to focus on those areas I mentioned above: under the lower mandible, the wings, neck, and around the mouth. Any signs of discomfort or aggression? Stop petting, and demonstrate your love in another way.
Give Your Duck Treats
Ducks are no different to cats and dogs. They love getting treats! They especially like fruits like bananas, grapes, and raisins. Avoid giving ducks bread. I know, I know. I also used to feed the ducks at the park broken bread as a child, but according to the experts, bread is seriously unhealthy for ducks.
Pick him up and cuddle him. Seriously, he’ll cherish every moment. Just remember to be gentle and don’t scare him. When you think about it, ducks aren’t really much different from domestic pets. They’re just as loving and attention-thirsty. So show him how much he means to you by giving him a warm, loving hug.
Talk to Them Quietly
Ducks don’t like loud noises. If you want to earn their trust and avoid scaring them away, talk to them in a quiet, calming voice. Ducks respond best to a calm voice, so keep your tone down and don’t shout, scream, or speak loudly. Also, only make calm movements. Sudden, quick movements can scare ducks.
You’ll know your duck is madly in love with you when he starts quacking at you or following you around. And remember, if he is your pet, you’ll need to keep up with the attention you’re giving him. Once you’ve petted him in all the right places, you’ve automatically set a standard for what he expects. So keep up the duck loving! You’ll have a friend for life if you do!