How Long Do Ducks Live?

How long do ducks live? In general, the lifespan of ducks is 5-10 years.  That’s a wide range, right?  That’s because there are many different types of ducks, and all of them will have a different estimated lifespan!  However, this range gives you a great big picture idea right away.  

We’ll get into all of the details you’ll want to know about the different types of ducks and lifespan factors below. Including:

The Average Lifespan Of A Duck

As we mentioned above, the average lifespan of ducks is 10 years.  This assumes that the duck is appropriately cared for in good health, etc., but most experts rule that the bigger the duck breed, the shorter the lifespan.  

How Long Do Pet Ducks Live?

Ducks make great pets!  They are loving, affectionate, social, and very intelligent.  They love obedience training and will even curl up with you at night to watch a movie and snuggle.  

Since most of the care of pet ducks is going to be all about access to the right vet and medicines, etc., we’re happy to report that pet ducks can easily live up to 20 years.  Proper care, especially social interaction, is a vital part of that.

How Long Do Wild Ducks Live?

Ducks are adaptable creatures that can adjust as their climate does.  Since they live in packs and will change alongside their companions, they can live healthy, long lives when it comes to adapting to the world around them.  

While it does depend on the kind of duck itself, as we’re about to get into, you can expect a lifespan of between 9-12 years in the wild.  That’s pretty good!

Duck Lifespan Stats By Breed

Now that you’re more familiar with ducks in general, let’s get more into the breeds to know what to expect with the specific kind of duck you had in mind.

How Long Do Pekin Ducks Live?

These are popular as both domestic (i.e., food) and pet ducks.  They have primarily white features and bright orange beaks.  If you’re picturing a duck from a movie, this is the kind that you have in your head. 

Their lifespan is about 9-12 years which is considered suitable for ducks.  These are the most popular ducks for pets, which means their lifespan can be dramatically longer at 20 years!

How Long Do Pekin Ducks Live

How Long Do Mallard Ducks Live?

Mallard duck is another popular kind of duck!  If you weren’t thinking of a classic Pekin duck, then a mallard duck is most likely the one you were thinking of instead!  They have green feathered heads that are shimmery in the right light.  They tend to have yellow beaks but can have darker shades as well.  

These are considered the most common ducks in the world.  These ducks have short lifespans stretching between 5-10 years.

How Long Do Mallard Ducks Live

How Long Do Domestic Ducks Live?

Domestic ducks are those that are bred and raised as meat ducks. It is a popular kind of animal farming. These ducks are also bred for their eggs.  Most will be egg layers for their lifespan, and then farmers will turn them into meat ducks. 

Their lifespan tends to be 3-7 years, and it depends significantly on how well they are cared for on the farm!

How Long Do Muscovy Ducks Live?

These are often the longest-living ducks!  They have a lifespan of 12 years in the wild and 20 years if they are domestic ducks.  Do you find that second number to be familiar?  That’s right because it’s the number given for pet ducks!  Muscovy ducks are amongst the most popular domestic and pet ducks for this reason.  

How Long Do Muscovy Ducks Live

How Long Do White Ducks Live?

White ducks is another name for the Pekin duck, as you may have already guessed!  So, you already know that these friendly and social ducks will be 9-12 years in most situations.

How Long Do Khaki Campbell Ducks Live?

These are ducks with personalities.  If you want to know a duck with a ‘tude, this is your kind!  They are quiet and tend to keep to themselves as far as pesky humans are concerned.  

Their lifespan is amongst the highest, too, with an average of 8-10 years!

How Long Do Wood Ducks Live?

These ducks are pretty unique in that they are the only ducks to nest in trees, window boxes deliberately, and anywhere else that they deem appropriate. They have short lives, however, often not passing 4 years of age.

How Long Do Rouen Ducks Live?

These large ducks are pretty unique in that they often hide in plain sight!  They look very similar to the mallard duck and are often confused.  Unless you see them side by side, most eyes won’t realize that the difference!  

Rouen ducks live shorter lives, between 5-7 years.

How Long Do Rouen Ducks Live

How Long Do Call Ducks Live?

Call duck is another favorite type of pet duck. These are smaller than a lot of the other kinds of ducks.  That’s why they are so famous for those who want a pet duck. 

They’re also relatively quiet, and they are happy to be around humans as much as possible.  However, you will need to train them to be friendly with humans, as they tend to have a “take it or leave it” approach! 

Call ducks tend to live 10 years and survive much longer as pet ducks.

How Long Do Indian Runner Ducks Live?

This is a duck of great controversy. Many believe that it should live about 10-13 years, in the best-case scenario where all their needs are cared for perfectly.  In the wild, they are expected only to live 1-3 years.  

As you can see, this is quite the difference, so there is quite a lot of discussion on which is correct and whether the natural lifespan is somewhere in the middle.  

Factors That Impact How Long Ducks Live

As with any pet or animal, several details will impact how long ducks live.  For this section, let’s assume that you are caring for the duck as either a pet or a farm animal where you can keep an eye on them and provide proper care and attention to them in these areas!

Nutrition

No matter what the internet tells you, never, ever feed your duck any kind of medicated feed.  Most ducks, in adulthood, should be on a chicken feed, which has low levels of protein in it and helps them stay in good health.

A core part of duck nutrition is going to be — as weird as it sounds — grit. It is a unique blend of ground-up stone (yes, seriously), and it helps them grind up food in their mouth since they can’t chew!  

If you want to give them some treats, ducks love greens of all kinds.  Leafy greens, turnip greens, weeds, it makes no difference to them!  You can use your duck as your weed killer.  Plus, they’ll see it as a massive threat for them.  It’s a win-win.

Housing and Protection

Duck Housing

This mostly depends on the number of ducks that you have. If you have under 4 ducks, you’ll find a classic-sized doghouse to be great!  If you live in a cold climate, feel free to insulate it if you are concerned.  However, this isn’t necessary since ducks love all environments and temperatures and are amongst the most hearty creatures out there when it comes to the cold.  

For comfort, add in wood shavings or straw since they’ll make a home in it.  Of course, make sure that you change that out once it starts to get stinky.  You’ll also want to pen your ducks into a space using chicken wire or a fence.  Try to allow for approximately 10 square feet per duck.  You don’t need to have too high of a fence.  Just 3 feet will do.  

Protection is critical with your ducks, of course.  If your area is prone to predators (coyotes, wolves, wildcats, domestic dogs, domestic cats, etc.), you’ll need to factor that in.  In the case of your dog house, have a secure door that you can close to pen them in safe and sound when the predators come sniffing around.

If you have household pets or your neighbors do, don’t assume that your ducks are safe to wander freely because they “know each other.”  You’ll need to build that fence a little higher – say 4 feet.  Alternatively, you can let them run free in your classic fenced-in yard. Just make sure that you keep a close eye on your other pets!

Wellbeing

General wellbeing is something serious to think about with domestic ducks.  As mentioned above, they are very social creatures.  Having just one duck will be very hard on them as individual creatures, so you should always aim to have at least 2-3 at a time.  Ducks are pack animals, so they are delighted with their flock close by.

Ducks Wellbeing

If you can’t or won’t have more than one duck, then be prepared to bring your duck for playdates and socialization sessions (yes, seriously) with other ducks.  It is essential for overall happiness and quality of life.

Ducks must also have access to water, for drinking, of course, but also water to splash around in.  They are waterfowl, after all!  It can just be a salt (not chlorine) pool, an inflatable kiddy pool, or just a plastic tub.  If it’s not a traditional pool, you can use recycled water if you wish — just make sure that you don’t include any that has herbicides or other chemicals in it!  

You’ll want to change this water out regularly to keep it primarily clean (assuming it’s not a standard pool, again).  Ensure that your ducks have access to this water every day, as it is also an essential part of their overall well-being.

Lastly, their actual living situation; many people mistakenly think that their ducks can live inside with them.  It’s normal if you’ve got a pet duck to have a duck wandering around your kitchen and helping himself to snacks or snuggling up on the couch for a movie.  However, responsible pet parents should never keep ducks inside for long periods.  When they want to go outside, let them go outside.  

Most are happy in their enclosure or dog house and then coming inside sporadically to hang out with you.  If they want to sleep with you every night inside, instead of their dog house/enclosure, that’s fine!  Just make sure that they go inside and outside throughout the day (when predators aren’t a problem.

You can easily teach a duck to use a cat/dog door in your home, so they’ll be able to wander freely throughout the day without you being there to answer their requests to go inside or outside.  

Keeping a duck in an apartment (despite the Friends depiction) is considered a cruel act, as it is effectively a cage.  Ducks must have access to outside space as often as they want it for their wellbeing and health.

Conclusion

Most ducks will live between 5-10 years in the wild or domestic situations.  However, ducks kept as pets can live up to 20 years with proper care and attention.

This proper care and attention will apply to unmedicated feed, access to swimming water and the outdoors as often as they want, some sort of enclosure where they’re safe from predators, and respect from their humans as far as giving them the life they deserve!

All of these things lead to a better lifespan and quality of life for ducks of all kinds.

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