People are obsessed with duck poop. Well, okay, maybe more in my world than yours. But believe me in the pet duck world it is constantly, and I mean constantly, discussed, asked about, mentioned, questioned… You get the idea. But, and here’s the thing, more by others than duck owners.
I follow a lot of duck owners/parents/pet perspective instagram accounts. And if their ducks live inside, are seen inside, seen sitting on someone, sitting on a sofa or chair (even outside garden furniture), running on a patio…. there is always (always!) a question about duck poop. (ie. ‘Don’t they….?’ Answer: ‘Do bears…?’)
The main worry for non-duck (or maybe new to duck) owners is this fear that my duck is going to sh*t. Somewhere. Merde. Now if it is a new or potential duck owner, I get it. You want to know what to expect.
Expect lots of poop. They have no ability to control their ‘movements’ so go when the need arises. You can’t train them. So that leaves 3 options. A. You can diaper them, which involves a harness and a period pad. And changing it a lot. B. You can also put down towels or incontinence pads everywhere they like to be. C. Have tissues, maybe a spray bottle, sometimes a mop and bucket to hand and be ready to clean up after them. Often.
Uh, oh. And while I am typing this I have just heard George hop/fly up onto the dog feeding shelf. I have deliberately moved the dog crunchies up away from him. He is addicted to crunchies. But duck poop after crunchies is not a pleasant thing. If duck poop ever is that is. Back in a minute…
Now, there is poop, and there is poop. What they eat certainly affects this. You simply have to look at your own diet and poop and you’ll get the idea. Or better yet, if you have/had a baby, remember when they moved from milk to solids and you were changing diapers? Yup, what anyone eats makes a difference, and that includes ducks.
What can help is if you watch what they eat if/when/before they are inside. Certain foods, like in humans, provide different types of poop. Duck feed gives you a quite solid, very easy to clean up poop. Mealy worms (or any protein), beware the stink. Lettuce or other veg, expect watery splats. But as a pet duck is reliant on you for a balanced and healthy diet, you are going to run into, dare I stay step in(?), all of these.
What you can control is what you feed them when. They generally process food in 1 to 2 hours from one end to the other. If they enjoy outside time, make sure you stop feeding them in time, before coming inside, that you can limit or at least manage messes.
When I get asked ‘don’t I mind cleaning up duck poop’? Well, duh, yes of course I do. But it is like this, again the baby analogy, if you have/had a baby you have to take care of it, this means changing it’s diaper. Of course, you don’t enjoy doing it. Maybe even dread doing it, but you do it. It’s part of the deal of parenting. Same goes for ducks (and other animals). And like baby diapers you sort of gain an immunity to the whole poop thing. That is why you may find or feel that house duck owners are sometimes a little blasé about duck poop in their responses.
But unlike a baby, ducks can’t be toilet trained. And they can live up to 12 years. Yup, didn’t know that did ya? (This is where you really want to think about having a house duck and/or not having your duck imprint on you. Non-imprinted ducks can happily, preferably live outside.)
Ducks can be sort of trained to hang out in certain places (where you have conveniently, strategically left a towel or pad. Though inevitably…). And also you simply get used to cleaning up after them. That’s the deal with having a house duck.
It was something we researched and knew when Maggie was hatching. And as an imprinted baby duckling, we also knew she would have to live with us in our home. We chose to go ahead with having Maggie, and although I got through a lot of toilet tissue and always had a mop and bucket to hand, she was worth every moment.
So as for #petducks on Instragram comments, I will never hesitate to answer them, as it means people are looking for knowledge and understanding. Even if it does always seem to be about duck poop.
Any questions? Feel free to ask below in the comments.
Or ask us at Pumpjack & Piddlewick on Instagram (whilst looking at cute pet pictures)
Or, for More About Maggie, our Pet Duck
And a few Pet Duck Facts
Last but not least, if you are still keen on a duck as a pet, or simply have more questions, check out our Duck 101 Lessons.
PS. As you can tell we are mad about ducks. (Honestly, who wouldn’t be?) So it may be no surprise that we do stock our shops with the odd duck item, from vintage to some we designed ourselves:
(Simply click on the image to see more.)