Domestic Duck Lifespan? Find Out How Long Do They Live | Kidadl


Domestic Duck Lifespan? Find Out How Long Do They Live

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Ducks are one of the most common bird species in the world.

These birds surprisingly live longer than chickens. Do you know why these adorable creatures should be protected?

The main point of this article is to look at the potential threats the duck species must be protected from and the ways which can help increase the average lifespan of domesticated ducks. We will also learn about the factors on which their expectancy depends and if they can change their gender if they want or not! After reading about the domestic duck lifespan, also check out facts about domestic rabbit lifespan and fancy rat lifespan.

The Average Lifespan Of A Domestic Duck

Ducks do not live as long as geese. Geese can, on average live around 10-24 years. A duck, on average, lives for about 5-10 years or less. However, these birds have been recorded to live as long as 20 years. Generally, the shorter the duck breed, the longer the average lifespan and vice versa.

Domestic duck breeds live for a more extended period as they are healthier due to being cared for. Mallard ducks are the most widely found ducks, and they are spread widely throughout the U.S. They have heavy bodies and big heads. It is easy to distinguish them from other ducks. In the breeding season, the males can be identified by their green heads and yellow bill.

On the other hand, the female ducks can be identified by their brown fur. During the non-breeding season, the male ducks have orange feet. The mallard ducks are categorized as ‘dabbling ducks.’ Mallard Duck usually lives for about 5-10 years. A mallard duck named Drake holds the record of being the oldest duck in the world for having lived 26 years and four months.

Pekin ducks(white ducks) are domesticated ducks that are widely reared for meat. Besides meat, these birds are also reared to produce eggs. They make excellent pets as they are friendly and have a cool temperament. Pekin ducks grow rapidly; due to this, they usually only live for about 5-10 years.

As they grow older, a Pekin’s legs start to get weaker, probably due to their weight in the first year. They generally suffer from leg problems for about a year or two before succumbing to death. Muscovy ducks are brownish-black in color and have a purple plumage. The rearers prefer them as they consume less time, and raising them is inf. Muscovy ducks are not prone to falling ill and live for about 8-12 years. However, there are records of Muscovy ducks living longer than their average life span. Muscovy ducks are large ducks.

What kills domestic ducks?

Ducks can be classified as the rabbits of the avian world. They are more vulnerable to predators in comparison to hens, as every creature seems to want a bite of them. Ducklings are at a much broader threat as they are targeted by anyone big enough to consume them, from buffaloes to herons.

The primary predators that consume ducks are the red foxes. According to research, they specifically try to find duck nests, and in addition to the eggs they find in the nest, they wait around for the ducks and pounce on them. Raccoons and skunks don’t actively hunt ducks, but they don’t let the duck go free if they have a chance encounter. Coyotes also scavenge for ducks and manage to kill their targets as they hunt in groups and have a large size.

However, they also drive away foxes and other duck predators. Badgers mainly like consuming duck eggs. According to a 1999 study carried out by Notre Dame conducted in Minnesota and North Dakota, duck flesh was found in the stomach content of nearly 32 percent of the badgers that were taken as samples. Twenty-seven percent contained ducklings, and 60 percent had eaten duck eggs.

Minks are one of the most dreaded duck predators. They are agile and can quickly attack and kill multiple ducks in a single night. A mink might not be able to consume all they hunt, but their sharp claws either kill the duck instantly or cause them to die of shock slowly. Hawks, owls, bobcats are some other predators that like hunting ducks.

Flock of white domestic geese on the pasture.

How to increase the lifespan of a duck?

Ducks can live considerably longer or shorter than the given age. It depends on the kind of care they are given and some factors that are out of our control. Ducks survive longer on a homestead if their nutrition, housing, and well-being are looked after.

It is essential to understand that ducks have varied feeding requirements depending upon their age and development. A young bird should only be fed duck starter, a mixture of young birds containing carefully balanced nutrients. When they are a few weeks older, they can be fed by a grower. As suggested by the name, Grower provides ducks the extra nutrients they require to fuel their fast growth. After a few months have passed, they can be fed lower protein food that ensures healthy development.

Ducks should also have a supply of greens. This will keep their vitamin satisfied. Making sure that medium to light ducks have an ample supply of grits is critical as it helps the white ducks to digest the food they’ve eaten elsewhere while traveling around the homestead. Finally, they should have access to an ample supply of water and not just water-filled bowls. Ducks like to play and paddle in clean water, so this will keep them positive mentally.

Duck housing plays a significant role in increasing a duck’s life expectancy. It is of extreme importance to make sure that the housing provided to the ducks keeps them safe in adverse weather conditions and from the surprise attacks of predators. The duck house should be kept clean, and the waste should be regularly cleared out. In addition to a good diet, water, and shelter requirements, it is necessary to look after their general well-being. Making sure they get enough time to socialize with other ducks will improve their overall quality of life.

If the ducks are allowed to roam freely, they can keep themselves busy, but if they are kept in their coop all day, they should be moved around often to give them a change of scenery. Regular cycles flock checkups by the vet should also be maintained.

Factors That Determine The Life Expectancy Of A Duck

Ducks, in the general rule, have shorter lives compared to geese and swans. This isn’t due to hunting but due to the bird’s habitat and reproductive strategies. Dabbling ducks such as mallard, blue-winged teal, northern shovelers, and pintails are great breeders. They breed during the first year of their lives, lay many eggs, and tend to renest if the first set of eggs is lost.

The rigorous nesting habits result in an increased mortality rate in the females compared to the males, mainly because females need to stay in the nest to incubate their nests. This makes them easy prey for their predators. The responsibility of leading the ducklings to marshes and attending to them until they fledge is also solely on the female ducks. This again puts them at risk. Age is another factor that affects their expectancy.

After the summer at the breeding grounds, the young ducklings have to migrate over unchartered territory, and during this time, these recently fledged birds have to face the hunters. Their survival rate is also only about 30 to 50 percent. The survival rate of first-year geese is somewhat higher at 50 percent to 70 percent.

Ducks have this fascinating ability to change their gender. It is odd and unusual, but it is true! This generally happens when a female duck loses, and as a result, the female duck starts to transition into a male duck.

Ducks have their eggs in one ovary, and it gets damaged or injured for some reason, the release of estrogen stops, and male plumage starts to develop as a response to the bodily changes. After the damage has taken place, a duck’s natural body response is to begin the transition process. The ducks do not partake in it voluntarily; it just happens. All the duck can essentially do is wait it out and adopt the male traits that come naturally. Although this doesn’t happen a lot, it has been witnessed by many people. Transition is always from female to male and not the other way around. There have been many observations of this kind of transition in mallard and mandarin ducks.

How long do domestic mallard ducks live?

These ducks have a lifespan of 10 years. They make good pets when they’re little enough to fit in your palm, but once they’ve grown up and the novelty has worn off, people are often wary of caring for them and decide to release them. Mallards are a high-energy, “talkative” breed that is more sociable than the other breeds discussed here and exceptionally friendly. These are the best ducks to have as pets(besides the white duck). Mallard pet ducks in the backyard like paddling around in a little kiddie pool or pond all day.

They graze on underwater plants by leaning forward in the water. They hardly ever dive. They may be pretty friendly ducks, especially in urban ponds, and they frequently congregate with fellow Mallards and other dabbling duck species.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for domestic duck lifespan, then why not take a look at duck embryo or domestic duck facts.

Kidadl Team
Written By
Kidadl Team

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