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An introduction to ducks and geese

A fast fact guide to help you decide whether having ducks and geese as pets is right for you.

Ducks and Geese are confident birds and very loyal, which is why they make great pets. Once they get to know you, they’ll enjoy following you around and taking treats from your hand.

It’s important to remember however, like all pets, ducks and geese have specific care needs and can live to ten years old and even up to 20 years with some breeds of geese.

Check out the following fast facts which will provide you with some basic information to help you decide whether having ducks and geese as pets is right for you.

Fast Facts

Companionship

Ducks and geese need to live with at least three to four other companions, the best minimum mix is a mallard/gander to three females.

Life expectancy

Ducks live between five and ten years depending on breed, and geese can live anywhere between ten and 24 years.

Accommodation

Ducks need lots of space to keep them fit, healthy and happy. Things can get very messy if their enclosure is too small. Ducks and geese tend to be quite challenging when it comes to their bedtime routine. They don’t put themselves to bed like their feathered pals, chickens. They may need some encouragement to be shut in each night if there is a predator risk.

The minimum size shelter and enclosures should consist of:

  • A 3ft by 3ft (91cm by 91cm) shelter for 3-4 small breed ducks or 1 shelter/sleep section per duck if floating on a pond.
  • 6ft by 4ft shelter/ark/shed for 3-4 geese or large breed ducks such as Muscovy. Geese and larger breed ducks need the height as well as extra space, as their necks tend to be quite tall.

Diet

Geese feed on grass. It’s their main source of food and must be provided with a bucket of water for them to drink from.

Ducks graze on grass but also feed on floating duck pellets in a large water filled feeder. They must also have a separate bucket of clean water to drink from.

Health

Ducks and geese are not as prone to worms and mites like chickens, but you should still worm them twice a year using flubendazole.

Your ducks and geese will naturally produce a lot of poo as they spend most of their time grazing. Because of this, the ground can become a breeding ground for harmful parasites and bacteria. You should rotate your ducks and geese between two grassy areas every few months for the ground to recover.

Angel wing can be common in geese and ducks if they are being fed an inappropriate diet and receiving too much protein. Feeding bread has also been linked to this wing deformity.

Respiratory disease is also a possibility in ducks and geese – good husbandry is key to keeping it at bay.

Family friendly

Ducks can make a lovely addition to any family with calm children. As long as they feel happy and content, you’ll find your ducks following you about in the hope for treats.

Geese are more suited to families with older children as they can be as tall as a small toddler. They can become quite territorial and could potentially cause harm to a human if appropriate care is not taken. Introductions to other family pets including cats and dogs should be slow and closely monitored.

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