Mallard Care Guide
The Species: Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) are a wild species of Duck. Native to The Americas, Europe, and North Africa, and has been introduced to New Zealand, Australia, Peru, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, the Falkland Islands, and South Africa, inhabiting a wide range of habitats and climates, from Arctic tundra to subtropical regions. It is found in both fresh- and salt-water wetlands, including parks, small ponds, rivers, lakes and estuaries, as well as shallow inlets and open sea within sight of the coastline. Water depths of less than 0.9 metres (3.0 ft) are preferred, with birds avoiding areas more than a few metres deep. They are attracted to bodies of water with aquatic vegetation. These birds make brilliant pets, they are extremely intelligent. Ducks are social, usually living in flocks but can also sometimes become aggressive towards each other.
Enclosure: Ducks should ideally be kept in large, outdoor enclosures with a nest box, alternatively they can free roam a property with a secure pen or nest box to return to. If being kept inside a pen, should have a nest box of at least 18 square foot and a run which is at least 90 square foot, giving them a total enclosure size of 110 square foot for six chickens. with an enclosure of 37 square foot for a pair. If free roaming throughout the day, their enclosure can be smaller as long as it is a comfortable size for the entire flock to nest in. All chickens should be locked away at night to prevent them from being hunted by nocturnal predators such as foxes, cats etc.
Ducks should have a base substrate for their enclosure to keep their hygiene this is usually using wood shavings, wood chips or other alternative substrates such as sand. They should also be given nesting materials usually hay or straw, this is to keep them comfortable and warm. Their enclosure and nest box should be cleaned out every week to make sure they are kept in good health. It is very important to provide lots of decor and apparatus to explore but primarily should have a large enough pond for themselves to swim in. Ducks can usually occupy themselves throughout the day however it is important to provide them with lots of enrichment.
Heating: These birds can cope with drastic temperature changes due to them adapting to various climates, being a domesticated species, shelter and nest boxes should be provided to these animals in case temperatures raise too high or drop too low. Make sure they have access to shade and constant water access for hot temperatures, and should have nesting materials to keep them warm in cold temperatures.
Lighting: Ducks should ideally be kept outside with the rest of its flock, allowing them to get natural lighting and UVB rays. If kept inside, they should be provided with artificial UVB lighting of approximately 12%, this lighting should be on a 12 hour cycle.
Humidity: Ducks can cope with a wide humidity range due to them adapting to various climates, being a domesticated species, shelter and nest boxes should be provided to these animals in case the humidity raise too high.
Diet: Ducks are omnivores however a basic diet for these birds can include layers pellets and poultry corn, meal worms can be given as a treat but not as a diet on its own. At Ark Animals, we make up our own complete diet for poultry and other farm birds. They also love to forage for insects, snails, worms, especially near water where they will also find aquatic insects when dabbling or 'sifting' through the water or mud. While free ranging on grass, they will also consume seed heads as well as small amounts of grass, chickweed and clover and many other vegetation.
Supplementation: These birds benefit from having grit or oyster shell within their diet to give them additional calcium, other supplements are vitamins which can be put into the water they have access to.