Can ducks be Hydrophobic?


10 Years
Jun 18, 2009
Atlanta, GA
Okay I'm not sure hydrophobic is a word, but what I mean is that my ducks are scared of our pond. We have to put out buckets of water for them to play in. They will even hop up in the horse trough to swim and splash, but they won't even dabble in the pond. We thought we'd be clever and teach the new babies about the pond early. We built them a pen that included a small portion of the pond for them to play in. They loved it! The adults were even looking jealous that the babies could play in the pond and they couldn't (even though they were standing two feet from it
). Then the goats found the baby duck food, jumped into the pen, tore a big hole in the mesh and off ran the baby ducks
. Hmm, great. So now, we're trying to decide what to do next. Honestly, I'm sick of refilling ALL the water on the farm everyday, because they play in all of it, instead of the pond. Plus, our water bill last month was outrageous. We've got four grown geese coming soon and the baby duck will be fully feathered in a few more weeks. Any tips on what will convince the ducks to like the pond? Our Muscovies never hesitated, neither did our Mallards or African Geese. We're stumped with these Anconas.
My first batch of ducks HATED the big pond at the bottom of our property. They were terrified of it. Ducks hate change, and if they didn't grow up with it, it will look big and scary to them. I used to try and throw them into the water, and they would just fly back up to the shore without even touching the water. And they were Indian Runners--not exactly flying ducks!

I eventually was able to get them to use the pond, but only because I took them down there every day and literally went into the water myself, wading in waist-deep, to show them it was safe. It took weeks!! Luckily, my children found it to be great fun and sometimes I didn't get in myself because they were down in the water encouraging the ducks.

My next batch I took down to the pond from the second week of life, and they have always used it readily. They've even taught a subsequent batch of ducks to use the pond.

Sorry you're having that trouble--I hear you on the water bill and the constant water changes. And the goats too! LOL They drive me crazy trying to get into everyone else's food. I have this elaborate system devised by which I let everyone out of their pens in the morning in a special order designed especially to keep the goats out of everyone else's food. If I do ONE thing out of order, I end up with goats in duck pens and duck food gobbled up before you could count to ten.
I asked this question a few months ago about my 5 pekins, and runner. My ducks started off in a decorative pond with a waterfall that is located on my patio. At first they didn't know how to get in, or out so Id have to help them. Id plop them in the water and when they were ready to come out they would swim to me for help. Since they couldn't do it themselves, I thought it would be clever to get them a little baby pool. Then I let the ducks out and as I'm filling their brand new pool...they walk over to the waterfall pond and jump in themselves! They even managed to get out themselves this day too! Then I tried to show them the new pool and they had no interest in it. Now they refuse to go in the little pool, and always try to sneak into the waterfall pond. Now they cant seem to get into the little pool which is lower than the rocks around the pond. I also have a large pond/small lake in my backyard that they refuse to use. They are straight up terrified of this pond! I will lure them all down to the shore and then throw one in. Let me tell you, I have never seen a duck swim or move so fast! They jet out of the water and back to their house so fast. Of course none of the brothers or sisters follow into the pond and just run back to the house so they don't get put in either. The reason that I got ducks was to let them roam around in the pond, but it looks like that isnt going to happen. If they would just try it they would love it! They love the waterfall pond because its 4 feet deep and they can swim underwater. My lake is over 20 feet deep and packed with fish so they can have some real fun in there but nope. My silly little duckies.

Their chosen pond...

The little pool, notice how far away they are. There is a little mallard
duckling on the left side of the pool that they were scared of too.

The Mallard duckling shown above grown up on it's release day.
This is what my ducks refuse to use. About 1/3 of the pond is shown here...
Last edited:
I am not a duck person but I was just thinking what would happen if you were to put some decoy ducks in your large pond? I live in the desert and it is not uncommon for people here to dry land the ducks but I think I would be plenty upset if I were to have a huge beautiful pond but still having to refill containers all day. Wish I could be of more help.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom