Can you have a pet duck in California?

Ducks are lovely and cute creatures. Unsurprisingly, many people would like to keep them as pets. But each US state has its restrictions on which animals are allowed as pets within the state. So, can you keep a pet duck in California?

Ducks are legal as pets in California, but you should confirm if your town or city has any restrictions. Even if allowed, ducks require special care and nutrition. When keeping ducks, you should note that they’re social and prefer the outdoors. Also, pay attention to cleanliness and their needs.

Regardless of the challenges of owning ducks as pets, they make for great pets. So, if you can handle the challenges, don’t hesitate to keep them. Here, we discuss whether you can have a pet duck in California and what to know about having one.

Are Ducks Legally Permissible in California as Pets?

Yes, it’s legal to keep ducks as pets in California. Of course, you’ll still have to check with the town or city where you’re staying to confirm the specific laws guiding owning poultry. Some places limit how many you can own, and some say you can’t own males. Some metro areas can also prevent people from owning ducks as pets using the local zoning restrictions on agriculture. The same rules for owning chickens and domestic fowls apply to ducks.

If you want to keep ducks as pets, start raising them when they’re ducklings so they’ll grow up comfortable with human contact. If you’re thinking of getting a duck as a pet, you should go for Pekin duck or Mallard duck. Ducks are intelligent creatures, quite gentle, and easy to care for. They can play games, play with toys, understand commands, ask for snuggles, and give pecks. They are also sociable and friendly with humans. When you interact with ducks, you’ll discover what they do for fun and can bond with them the same way you’ll bond with any other pet.

What To Know About Keeping Ducks as Pets?

Are you thinking of keeping ducks as pets, you should know these:

1.      They Aren’t Indoor Animals

Unlike pets such as cats and dogs that you can rear inside the house, ducks aren’t made for the indoor lifestyle. They love to be outdoors, as this is why they do best, and you have to provide them with the right place outdoors. If you’re planning to own a pet duck, you should have a yard for them. Since they can fly, you’ll need to erect a fence for the yard, which has to be tall enough for them not to fly over it. Between 4 to 6 feet can do the trick from species, especially those that get very heavy as they grow. But you might need more height for others.

2.      They Are Social Animals

Ducks are very social, so be ready to have at least two if you want to own ducks as pets. Ducks rarely fight, and they’re fun animals who only care about finding bugs and worms as they waddle about. So, a duck isn’t an animal to keep inside a cage. They feel isolation and loneliness just like humans and won’t do well when experiencing these emotions. It’s important that you have at least two ducks but even better if you have up to four. But if you can’t afford to keep up to 4, make sure it’s never less than two.

3.      Be Aware of The Needs of The Pet

Owning a pet is a long-term commitment and, in the case of a duck which can live for up twenty years. So, deciding to own one is committing yourself to its wellbeing for that period. Don’t just get a duck because you feel like getting an animal pet, and you want to be an outlier. You need to make sure you can meet the animal’s needs before getting it. For example, while it’s important to have a spacious and well-fenced yard to protect the duck, it’s not compulsory to have open water for them to swim. They can comfortably swim in a big bowl and have fun. Unlike chickens, they don’t have any odor and aren’t subject to fleas, ticks, or parasites.

4.      Cleanliness is Important

It’s important to maintain a high level of cleanliness with duck feces as it can cause avian flu or salmonella for humans. So, you can get an appropriate bird diaper system, usually a harness, for the ducks. You’ll have to change this harness regularly, at least two to three times daily. You can use the feces to fertilize your organic garden if you have one. If not, learn how to dispose of it safely.

How To Care for Ducks

The most important part of caring for ducks is when they’re still ducklings. For the first 3 – 4 weeks after getting them, keep them in a warm and dry place with a temperature of around 30 degrees Celsius.  A box or cage can do the trick at this point, and you should also supply heat using a lamp or bulb at the corner of the cage or box. This makes it possible for them to move towards heat when they want to.

You should also make sure that the water source available to them during this period isn’t something they can climb or fall into as this could lead to drowning or dying from cold. After about five weeks, the ducklings should have feathers on their breast. At that point, you can put them outdoor as long as the weather is warm. Let them get used to outdoor overtime by placing their cage outdoors.

Ducks enjoy all kinds of weather. But you should have a shelter the size of a dog house with proper insulation and face away from the wind. Bed the house with clean wood shavings or straw. If predatory animals like dogs are around, get a fence high enough to protect the birds.

Feeding the Ducks

Feed them duck starter for the first two weeks and then change to duck grower until they’re about two months old. After that, you can start feeding them with a pullet grower. There’s no need to use medicated feed for them. You also need to have grits. These are ground-up stones that ducks need to grind food in their gizzards since they don’t have teeth. Ducks enjoy eating weeds, vegetables, grains, and other kinds of food. Whatever you’re feeding them shouldn’t have pesticides or herbicides.  You also have to provide clean water to dip their head into. You can also get them a wading pool that’s low enough to get in and out easily and fill it with water. Use the leftover water from this wading pool for your garden or lawn.

In Conclusion

Ducks are lovely and fun pets. But keeping them is a major responsibility, and you should consider this before starting. If you think you’re capable, check with your municipal office to confirm that they’re permissible.