Keeping A Pet Duck In The US: Everything You Need To Know

Is It Legal To Own A Pet Duck In The US?

Yes, it’s legal to own a pet duck in the US. However, certain municipalities and small towns in the united states ban the keeping of farm animals like ducks and hens within the city’s boundaries. Also, wild ducks are illegal to own in the US.


  • What kind of ducks can I keep as a pet?
  • Top 10 things to consider before getting a pet duck
  • How to properly care for a pet duck
  • Best Duck breeds to keep as pets

What Kind Of Ducks Can I Keep As A Pet In The United States?

If you wish to own a pet duck, you can get any of the regular domesticated breeds: these are legal to be kept as pets. However, before getting a duck pet, you should confirm first, whether or not your local town permits it. Some places won’t allow residents to keep any poultry or livestock as pets, some others will allow it but impose certain restrictions. Whichever case, find out first.

Can I Keep A Wild Duck As A Pet?

No, you can’t keep a wild duck as a pet: it’s illegal. The only chance you’ll be allowed to keep one is if you have a permit or you’re tending to an injured wild duck.

Can I Keep A Goose As A Pet?

Yes, you can keep a goose as a pet: it’s legal. However, just as with ducks and chickens, some neighborhoods in the US don’t allow the keeping of backyard poultry.

Top 7 Things To Consider Before Getting A Pet Duck

Top 7 Things To Consider Before Getting A Pet Duck


Ducks can make very noisy pets. They’ll make very loud quacks when they want something (food, etc) or when they are trying to get your attention. If you’re a quiet person who doesn’t like being disturbed or you have neighbors who love peace and quiet, ducks may not be the ideal pet bird for you.


Ducks are messy by nature and need a lot of patience to look after as pets. They’ll make a mess when eating or drinking water. Also, for some reason, ducks can’t be trained like dogs or cats to poop on a critter: they do it anywhere whether it’s right there in your living room or in front of your lawn. If you don’t have the patience


Just so you know, ducks aren’t made indoors like cats or pets. They were born to roam free, spreading their wings (even though they can’t fly) and swim as they desire. Keeping your duck indoors all day is nothing short of cruelty. So if you don’t have reasonable yard space, you should reconsider getting a pet duck.

Weather and climate

Ducks aren’t suited for cold climates. So if you live in extremely cold countries like Canada or other cold parts of the United States, ducks may not be able to cope with the cold and may end up dying in your care.


Ducks are very social animals; they get along with each other so well and rarely fight. Getting a single duck means it’ll be all alone. Ducks can get lonely and depressed very easily, especially at a young age. So it’s best you get at least two ducks (preferably male and female) or you get a similar pet for your duck to play with.


If you’re getting a duckling, you need a very good protective shelter to not only protect the baby duck from cold and wind but also hawks. A regular cage won’t do: you must provide a shelter that’s protective enough, but allows the duck(s) some space for play.


Ducks are not just meat to humans, they’re also choice prey for wild animals like wolves, coyotes, street cats, dogs, etc. If you have any of these around you, or you live in a woody or mountainous region where these animals sometimes venture, your duck will be in constant danger. The best you can do is set up a high fence, and also make an impenetrable shelter for the duck.

How To Properly Care For A Pet Duck

How To Properly Care For A Pet Duck

1. Get The Right Duck Food

Don’t feed your duck chicken food: ducks have different nutritional needs from chickens. You can feed them chicken food once in a while, but the best feed for them is waterfowl food. In addition, your bed should consume grit (sand or grounded rocks) regularly. This helps to digest the food in their gizzards.

2. Give Your Duck Treats

You must give your duck healthy treats that will complement its diet. The best treat for ducks is fresh vegetables: fresh green leaves, ripe tomatoes, squash, pumpkin, berries, etc.

3. Have An Enclosed Yard

Yard space is necessary so your duck can roam free and play, and also defecate if necessary. If they are restricted indoors you’ll have a lot of mess to clean up.

4. Predator-proof Cage

This is the only way to secure your duck adequately from wild animals and local predators. The cage should have a soft floor or bedding and should have protection from wind or cold as well.

5. Swimming Tub

Ducks are water birds, so it’s only befitting you give them the privilege to enjoy a nice swim or bath. Ducks bathe while swimming in water (unlike chickens that bathe in the sun). So getting your duck a swimming tub with water saves you the trouble of bathing it yourself. Ducks don’t easily get ticks or parasites, and they don’t smell too like some other poultry: a quick bath in a swimming tub can last your duck for a few days without it needing another bath. Note, however, that swimming tubs should be kept away from ducklings, as they can easily drown.

Swimming Tub

6. Get A Diaper

Unlike cats and dogs, you can’t train a dick to poop in a critter. So unless you want to be burdened with cleaning duck poop all over the house or yard, you should get a bird diaper for your duck. These diapers should be changed every 4 – 5 hours.

Best Duck Breeds To Own As Pets

PekinWhite, large, sweet temperament, social with humans, 12-year life span
CayugaBeautiful, medium-sized, very quiet, low egg productivity, 12-year life span
RouenCute, large, calm and friendly, very active forager, 8 – 12 years lifespan
Blue Swedish DucksCalm, Blue color, medium-sized, tough, and durable with high cold resistance, high egg productivity, and good foragers.

Final Words

Ducks can make amazing pets: they can give love cuddles and can even be thought to play fetch. However, their vulnerability and their high-maintenance nature pose a challenge to most people. Only go for a duck if you have the patience and resources to take good care of it.


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