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How to Raise Wild Ducks

| Updated September 26, 2017

An unattended duck’s nest is not necessarily without the mother duck. If something happens to the mother, however, and the wild ducklings are left on their own, you may feel compelled to take care of them. Because of their strong imprinting instincts, raising wild ducks is time-intensive. Make sure you will be able to give them your full attention.

Keep wild ducklings inside and supply a heat source. Without their mother, the ducks need a source of warmth. Place a heat lamp in the corner of the cage or large box in which you are keeping the ducklings. Move the lamp farther away from the ducklings each week as their need for the added heat decreases. Adult wild ducks can stay outside in a large cage in warm weather. Also provide plenty of grass for adult wild ducks; this will help them to stay warm.

Feed the wild ducks. Baby ducks can be fed un-medicated duck feed while older ducks can be fed weeds, mealworms, bugs and cut boiled eggs. Give wild ducks vegetables and fruits as treats.

Provide plenty of water for the wild ducks at all times. Place bowls of water for baby wild ducks to drink from. Put small pebbles at the bottom of the bowl, preventing baby ducks from drowning when drinking. Older ducks will need larger bowls of water.

Prepare an enclosed space for the wild ducks to eat, drink and swim once they are about three weeks old. Provide a child’s plastic pool or pond that the ducks can swim in, and provide at least 10 square feet per duck in the enclosure. The ducklings can partake in supervised swimming as young as a day old, but limit the swimming to just a few minutes to ensure the young ducklings don't get too cold.

Keep area clean to prevent wild ducks from getting diseases. Make sure that the bedding is changed frequently and fresh water is given every few hours. Wild ducks tend to defecate in their water and bedding.


  • Ducks in captivity live three times longer than those that live in the wild.