Adopted a Duck. I think it's depressed.


5 Years
Aug 8, 2016
Springfield, Nebraska

2 days ago my 14 year old daughter was offered a Pekin duck at the county fair and she accepted. It appears to be around 2 months old and in good health. We are keeping it in our fenced back yard, locked in a newly built duck house during the night.

My concern is that while she will make sorties from her hiding spot to pluck weeds from cracks and forage in the dead leaves on our patio, or eat the poultry feed we have out for her, and even splash in the Rubbermaid tub we set out, she mostly just sits behind the bicycles or in her new house with her face in the corner. I was expecting for her to waddle all over the yard and just generally be a lot more active. She seems to come out of her shell more at dusk. I have no idea what to expect; should I be worried about illness, or is she just freaked out by her new environment? Is she lonely? Should I have gotten an additional duck?

Thanks anybody for input.
She's probably very scared and VERY lonely! Ducks should never be kept alone. You need to get her a companion ASAP or give her to someone with a bunch of ducklings her age.
Duck need company they are not solitary animals.If you are just going to have one you shoul keep it in the house with you and spend as much time with it.They have been known to die from loneliness.
I think it was kind of your daughter to give the duck a home. Ducks can experience trauma - from my experience, I am sure they have emotions.

Something simple that can help right away is an unbreakable mirror. I would also be sure that no predators (hawks, owls, stray cats or dogs, foxes, raccoons, etc) can possibly get at the duckling. They simply cannot defend themselves nor can they usually get away. Raccoons will even reach through a chain link fence and pull the ducklings out piece by piece.

So - a secure area, 24/7, an unbreakable mirror, and put together a plan for the duckling to have company. Every now and then there are people who can make the time to be with their ducks constantly, or nearly so. Some ducks make friends with animals of other species. Generally, ducks do best in the company of other friendly ducks.

Please keep us in the loop!
She sounds depressed and traumatized. Ducks are very social and they form strong bonds so she will end up dying or neurotic without duck companions. It is too bad the former owner took advantage of your daughter's ignorance so there is a chance the duck could also be sick and the former owner did not want to take care of it. You will want to do some quick problem solving or the duck may not survive the separation trauma.
Duck still seems to be doing "okay." She still hangs out in her house most of the time, coming out frequently to bathe and eat. Her bath is about 15 feet from her door, and her feed is set about halfway between.

I had left a voicemail with a guy at the extension office, whose contact info I had gleaned from the local 4H site as being in charge of the poultry division. He called me back today and said his friend was the one who provided the ducks for our county fair "Animal Scramble," where children are separated by age group and gender, and lined up at one end of the rodeo arena to be set loose upon an assortment of unsuspecting barnyard critters at the other end, while unsuspecting parents watch from the stands. This is how I (my 7 year old daughter) became the owner of a California rabbit kit; the duck was passed over the rail as a leftover at the conclusion of the event into the arms of my 14 year old daughter while I watched in a sort of fugue state. At any rate, the fellow from the extension office agreed that another duck would be ideal and will get back to me probably tomorrow after contacting his buddy who provided the ducks.

Thanks everyone for their input thus far.
That's how my 12 yr old "won" a piglet.
Consider yourself lucky.
The guy from the extension office said his friend has set aside a duck for us, and we will be meeting to take it next week. In the meantime it would appear that Luna is coping.

Thanks everyone for your interest and insight.
Ducks certainly do have their own personality. While it's not normal, I can't necessarily say that it's out of the range of duck behavior, either. At least she eats, drinks, and is still existing. In other words, there isn't some kind of illness that prevents her from moving around and feeling the hunger and thirst.

I have always tried to buy same bird types in pairs at least, or another option is that they have other bird companionship. For example, mixing baby chicks with quail, or in my recent case, I bought two baby pheasants and one died within 24 hours. The remaining one actually formed a bond with the ducklings that he was brooded with.

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