Ducks are birds that some people like to keep as pets. You might enjoy keeping a small flock of ducks in your yard.
These birds are certainly cute and they can be fun to watch as well. There’s a lot you should know about them before you decide to raise ducks, though.
For example, some people say that ducks can be rather aggressive. Are ducks aggressive or is this something that you don’t need to be worried about?
Continue reading to learn everything that you need to know about duck aggression. You’ll also learn about some handy tips for raising ducks in case you want to start keeping them on your property.
Ducks Can Be Aggressive
Ducks can indeed be aggressive. Male ducks are especially aggressive, but female ducks can also have aggressive tendencies.
When it comes to female ducks, they’re more likely to be aggressive when protecting their eggs. This is a normal maternal instinct that you can expect to see in many birds and animals.
Males are territorial and will sometimes attack people when they get too close. It’s less likely that pet ducks are going to attack you if they’re familiar with you.
It’s never wise to approach wild ducks. You won’t know whether they will be aggressive or not.
Some people enjoy feeding ducks in the park. It’s likely best to keep your distance from the ducks to err on the side of caution.
Ducks Might Be Aggressive Toward Each Other
It’s typical for ducks to be aggressive toward each other. This is especially true when talking about male ducks.
Male ducks will fight and attempt to establish dominance. Each male duck wishes to become the alpha in the group.
The fighting helps to determine which male duck is the true alpha. Typically, the largest and most aggressive male duck is going to be acknowledged as the alpha of the group.
Ducks might attack each other to challenge the pecking order that has been established. Sometimes the alpha duck will also attack just to assert its dominance.
Male ducks will fight for many different reasons. It’s just a natural thing that male ducks do.
Ducks Might Fight Over Mates
Another thing that ducks will fight over involves the right to mate with females. Male ducks will certainly go to battle when they’re trying to woo a female duck.
This is a very common thing that two male ducks will fight over. The dominant duck in the group is the only one that will be allowed to mate.
All of the male ducks have the desire to mate with female ducks. Thus, the male ducks are going to come into conflict.
It can be a rather annoying situation to deal with when you’re caring for ducks in your backyard. You just have to try to make the aggression levels of the ducks stay in normal limits.
You’ll learn a bit about mitigating duck aggression later. For now, just know that fighting over mates will be a normal occurrence when caring for a group of ducks.
Food Can Cause Fighting
Feeding the ducks might wind up causing a fight to break out. Dominant ducks will sometimes be hesitant to want to share food with the other ducks.
It might even begin to attack the other ducks in the group to keep them from eating. This is highly annoying when you just want to feed all of the ducks.
The best way to avoid issues is to feed the ducks individually. This ensures that every duck is able to get enough food to stay healthy.
Sadly, it takes more time to do things this way. If you have calmer ducks, it won’t be as hard to feed them in a group.
Do Ducks Bite?
Sometimes ducks will bite for various reasons. Often, ducks will bite their owners as a sign that they want attention.
When a duck softly bites you, it’s just to show you that it wants you to pay attention to it. This happens a lot when you’re caring for only one duck.
The duck will get too attached to you and it’ll constantly want attention. This can become a bit of a problem, and it’s one of the reasons why you should keep ducks in groups.
Keeping at least a pair of ducks can help to avoid such issues. It doesn’t mean that your duck will never bite you, but it probably won’t be a big problem.
Of course, there are other reasons why ducks will bite. Ducks will bite humans and other animals if they feel threatened.
This is something that both male and female ducks are known to do. Female ducks will more often bite when they feel as though someone is threatening their eggs.
Male ducks sometimes bite those that they feel are invading their territory. If you’re being bitten by a duck aggressively, then it’s likely that you’ve somehow made it feel threatened.
How to Deal with a Duck Attack
What should you do if one of the ducks tries to attack you? There are easy ways that you can deal with the situation.
If you have an aggressive male duck that will sometimes attack humans, it’s best to carry a broom with you. You could also use a bucket to subdue the duck.
The basic idea is that you’ll use the broom or the bucket to scare the duck away. You might need to shoo the duck away.
Sometimes extremely aggressive ducks need to be put in their place. There are duck owners who try to get aggressive ducks to calm down by asserting their own dominance.
You could try to subdue the duck and hold it down to the ground. Simply hold the duck in this position until it calms down.
This may or may not work to get the aggressive duck to become less aggressive. Some people wind up choosing to euthanize overly aggressive ducks, but it’s up to you to decide if you want to go that far.
Try Separating Aggressive Male Ducks From the Flock
You might want to try separating especially aggressive male ducks from the flock. The overly aggressive ducks can be a bad influence on the group.
It could be possible to make things much more peaceful if you separate the aggressive duck. Put it somewhere on its own and continue to care for it as normal.
Eventually, the aggressive male might start to calm down due to being placed in isolation. It could be the solution to the problem.
You can try this in conjunction with putting the aggressive duck in its place if necessary. This means holding the duck down to the ground to simulate a fight.
Sometimes this helps the aggressive duck to change its ways. It might not work, though.
Be Careful to Raise Ducklings Properly
Some people raise ducklings in such a way that they allow them to become aggressive ducks. Male ducklings might become alpha drakes that are annoyingly aggressive if you raise them wrong.
For instance, spending too much time with just one duck might turn it into a loner. Loner ducks will sometimes wind up being more aggressive toward the other ducks than usual.
Another thing you shouldn’t let ducklings do is peck your face. Some people think this is cute because it’s as if the duckling is giving them a kiss.
You’re actually teaching the duckling to become aggressive when you do this. Don’t encourage bad behavior because it’ll come back to bite you when the duck is fully grown.
Pick Less Aggressive Ducks
Pick ducks for your backyard that are less aggressive. There are several different duck species that you can choose to buy.
Magpie ducks are some of the most popular backyard ducks in North America. These ducks were specifically bred to be quiet and to be good pets.
One great reason to buy these ducks is that they’re very friendly toward humans. It’s unlikely that you’ll have to deal with aggression issues when caring for these ducks.
It helps that they’re quiet and won’t bother your neighbors, too. You should consider magpie ducks or look into other relatively peaceful and quiet duck breeds.
You’ll have a far better experience if you choose to buy peaceful backyard ducks. It’s much better when you just want to enjoy ducks as pets.
How Many Ducks Should You Buy?
You want to ensure that you have enough ducks in the flock. If you don’t buy enough of them, they won’t be able to socialize properly.
Ideally, you should buy at least three ducks for your backyard. It’d be even better if you could buy five or six ducks.
Some people keep flocks of ducks that are a bit larger than this, too. When you’re keeping male ducks in your flock, it’s best to have way more females in the group.
It’s said that the best ratio is to have one male duck for every four or five female ducks. If you stick to this ratio, you should have a much better experience.
Where Should You Keep Ducks?
Keeping ducks in the right location is important if you want to keep them safe. You need to buy or build a secure pen for the ducks that will protect them from predators.
The duck pen is going to need some type of welded mesh that can keep predators at bay. It’ll also need a roof to protect the ducks from the elements and aerial predators.
You want to keep the ducks safe and comfortable in your backyard. Make sure that your duck pen has enough room for each duck to be comfortable.
It’s likely best to keep the duck pen fairly close to your home. If it’s too far out in the yard, it might be easier for predators to bother the ducks.
How Often Should You Feed Ducks?
Feeding ducks is something that you should be doing twice per day. Generally, you should feed the ducks in the morning and then feed them once more in the evening.
Give your ducks food that will meet all of their nutritional needs. They need vitamins, minerals, and proteins to stay healthy and strong.
Some ducks are going to eat more than others. Depending on the species that you own, it might be necessary to give them more or less food.
So long as you feed the ducks consistently, they should do well under your care. Just watch out for aggression issues during feeding time.
Are Backyard Ducks Right for You?
Keeping ducks in your backyard can be a lot of fun. Whether this will be a good choice for you will depend on several factors.
Firstly, you need to be prepared to deal with duck aggression. Some types of ducks are going to be aggressive and it might get annoying sometimes.
To make things less problematic, it’s best to pick ducks that are less aggressive. Some ducks are more peaceful than others.
If you live in the city, it might not be good to get ducks due to the noises that they make. The ducks might keep your neighbors awake.
There are ducks that are relatively quiet that you can purchase. Even so, it’s usually best to keep backyard ducks when you live in a rural or suburban environment where your neighbors aren’t too close.
Ducks can be very enjoyable to interact with. They’re cute animals that can be a joy to care for when they have a peaceful temperament.
If you do wind up having an aggressive duck in your flock, you can try to make it less aggressive. Sometimes pinning the duck down to simulate a fight will cause it to be less aggressive.
This might not always work, though. Some people choose to cull aggressive ducks due to not wanting to deal with all of the issues that come along with duck aggression.
Now you know a lot more about duck aggression. You know why ducks might be aggressive toward humans and why they will be aggressive toward each other.
Make the decision that is best for you based on what you want. Consider your situation and then get backyard ducks if it seems like a practical and fun choice.
I have a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When I’m not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, I’m at home with my wife, two daughters and a dog. Outside of family, I love grilling and barbequing on my Big Green Egg and working on projects around the house. Growing up, I had pet dogs, cats, deer, sugar gliders, chinchillas, a bird, chickens, fish, and a goat.