Sep 212019

How Long Do Ducks Live?

Wondering “how long do ducks live?”

Well, it’s a good question – after all, you need your new pets around for some time! Ducks are one of the most awesome creatures to pet and to take care of. With a charming face and a friendly nature, ducks can be fun pets.

Nonetheless, they’re not actually like chickens. They will, in general, get lumped in a similar classification by default, yet a residential duck has its very own different needs.

Let us understand the complete procedure of how to keep your ducks healthy and increase their lifespan significantly.

This article will brief you about the various species of ducks, proper ways to ensure their health, and about the lifespan of the various species of ducks.

How long do ducks live in captivity?

The lifespan of an ideal duck living in captivity is anywhere between 5 to 10 years. The health and lifespan of a duck depend on a variety of factors listed below.

  • Housing
  • Protection and care
  • Healthy diet
  • Veterinary care
  • Exposure to drakes

Let us look at each of the above factors in detail.

Factors that effect the lifespan of a duck


Do your ducks have access to a warm, habitat-like structure where they can feel homely and comfortable? 

The answer to the above question determines a lot about your duck’s lifespan. A duck’s health and life-expectancy strongly depend on the quality of the duck-house.  

A duck house doesn’t need to be extravagant – it simply needs to keep them dry, have great ventilation, have enough space for every creature (around 10 square feet of room), and shield them from predators.

In case your duck-dwelling doesn’t have proper ventilation during summer, you can learn the art of installing a DIY window here.

Protection and care

Ducks can implement very few defensive techniques (running away or diving into a pond) to protect themselves from predators. For this reason, the term “like a sitting duck” means vulnerable to an easy attack.

Adequate protection should be guaranteed to the ducks to increase their life expectancy. 

Ducks can become easy prey to the following chicken-predators:

  • Dogs
  • Bears
  • Raccoons
  • Coyotes
  • Skunks (especially ducklings)
  • Opossums 

To ensure the safety of your ducks, you need to build a coop that predators won’t be able to access at night. While hardware cloth is the best, chicken wire is cheaper to purchase and easier to set up. You can browse the best chicken wire here for your duck-dwelling.

Healthy Diet

A healthy and well-balanced diet plays an important role in increasing the life expectancy of your duck, especially during the first few months of its life. 

Ducklings need a higher amount of Vitamin B in their food to help their bones and bills grow correctly. 

If not fed properly, a duckling can face serious health issues such as their bills won’t come together, or their legs might get crooked making the task of walking difficult for them.

Hence, a proper diet is essential for a duck’s good health. You can encourage your ducklings a feed that is explicit to their needs, or mix brewer’s yeast with chick starter. Both are healthy.

For adult ducks and laying hens, calcium is a vital nutrient. Hence, a 16% protein layer feed or oyster shells can be fed to these ducks in order to ensure a rich intake of calcium. 

You can learn more about what baby ducks eat here and alternative feeds for adult ducks here.

Veterinary care

It is well-known that ducks require proper veterinary care to stay free from diseases and increase their life expectancy. 

Some common issues with ducks are:

  • Upper respiratory issues
  • Bumblefoot 
  • Worms
  • Trampled by other ducks

Hence proper veterinary care should be ensured to each and every duck.

Exposure to Drakes

While drakes are necessary to hatch eggs (you can read about the best incubators for hatching duck eggs here), they’re also a real pain if you have too many.

Male ducks can be aggressive with the females and can be forceful maters. On the off chance that you claim more than 1 drake for each 10 duck hen, you may find yourself without some duck hens, or possibly very battered ones.

When they’re contending, drakes will progressively mate with a hen (which means, every drake must have a turn), even when they’re in the water.

This action by the drakes can cause the hen to drown because her head is constantly pushed underwater. The hen can survive barely for 3 minutes in such situations.

While mating on land, the hen can get crushed, break her back, or get serious injuries. Hence, it is always better to limit the number of drakes in a flock to ensure the health, safety and good life expectancy of ducks.

Which is the longest living duck breed?

There is a debate going on from years as to which breed’s ducks live the longest. However, it has been found that the longest living duck breed is the Pekin duck.

Muscovy ducks are also claimed to be the longest living ducks with the life expectancy of 8 to 12 years. There have also been reports regarding Muscovy ducks which have lived longer than 12 years. 

What is the longest period of time a duck has ever lived?

A female Mallard named Desi, owned by Ingrid Raphael from Maidenhead, Berkshire, United Kingdom, lived for a span of 20 years 3 months and 6 days before passing away in August 2002. This is the longest time a duck has ever lived. The average lifespan of a white duck is about 5 to 10 years. 

There you have it! Now you know the answer to “how long do ducks live?”