The breeds listed in our popular duck breeds guide can happily make do with a bucket of water for head ducking and a very small bathing area such as a baby bath or paddling pool. However, ducks and water go hand in hand and they do enjoy a good swim.
Although most back gardens don’t have the space for a large pond try to fit in as much of a water area as your space allows. The more water you give them the happier and cleaner they will be.
The plastic children’s sand pits are a good enough size to have a swim in and if you allow one of these for every three birds they’ll always be able to get into the water to have a play and a clean. If limited on space go for the smaller breeds or runner ducks who require less water to splash around in than. Breeds such as Aylesburys really like a paddling pool to themselves at times!
Easy fit ponds kits are readily available and in exchange for a few eggs you get some friends to help you dig it in giving them another pool for swimming. Also remember that ducks can cause punctures and rip pond linings so repair kits are a must, or use the solid plastic ponds that don’t burst.
Clean Water is Important
Ducks love fresh water but they dirty it up pretty quickly. By changing the water daily you make sure that there is nothing nasty lurking in the water and it helps keep your ducks nice and clean. Make sure you have an outside tap and hosepipe as otherwise a ten minute job can take an hour. I remember when our pipes froze and I had to cart out buckets of water each day – it certainly built some arm muscles.
In winter the area around the ponds or pools will get very muddy. This along with winter rain can lead to a very slippery area. Try some wood bark or even gravel around the area to allow the water to drain down. The ducks wont mind the mud, in fact they will enjoy it as they can dib their beaks and pull out worms. This can make a mess of the garden so make sure you don’t mind the area becoming muddy over winter. I found that giving ducks their own run area in Winter away from the chickens helped a lot. Although the ducks loved the mud, the chickens did not. It also meant I was able to have less mess to contend with as over Winter ducks do take a lot more cleaning than hens.
Ducks and Water – Mating in the Pond
Something to remember is that mating is usually carried out on water and if you want fertilised eggs to hatch you need to make sure the ducks have the area to swim on to fertilise the eggs for you. They also prefer to mate in clean fresh water and space to perform in. Deeper ponds are better for this, and it is worth planning in a proper pond if you are planning on breeding in the future.
Further Articles on Ducks
- Back Garden Ducks – Duck Keeping Basics
- Duck Housing – Accommodation and Enclosed Runs
- Ducks and Water – Do You Need a Pond?
- Feeding Ducks & Compound Rations
- Feeding Ducks Best Practice & Home Made Duck Feed
- Feeding Ducks Grain, Grass & Greens, and Grit
- Popular Breeds of Ducks for Backyard or Garden