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Discussion in 'Ducks' started by BackyardAnita, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. BackyardAnita

    BackyardAnita Chirping

    Oct 18, 2012
    I have four ducklings and i was wondering if they're going to be too noisy to keep. Will my neighbors be disturbed by the ducks quacking? Or will four ducks not make much noise?

  2. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Songster

    Aug 4, 2010
    San Diego
    Are ducks allowed in your area? Some areas allow chickens, but not ducks. If ducks are allowed, then it doesn't really matter if they're noisy as long as you are meeting the law's requirements.

    I'm not trying to be rude or gruff when I ask this: Did you make sure ducks are legal in your area before you bought the ducklings? If you did and they are, then even if the neighbors don't like the noise, they can't do anything about it.
  3. blondiebee181

    blondiebee181 Songster

    Mar 21, 2012
    Boise, ID
    Are they all female? If so, females can be noisy. I agree with desertdarlene...check the requirements in your area and then talk with your neighbors to find out if they are bothered by it. Also what breeds do you have? Some ducks are louder than others. I have 2 Indian Runner females and they usually quack louder in the morning when they want out and a little in the evening, but overall they are pretty good, plus I have talked to my neighbors (I live in the city and have neighbors close on either side) and most of them say they can't hear them in the morning and that they find the sound endearing during the day (just like a duck pond!) So I think the main thing is communication...
  4. americanvalkyrie

    americanvalkyrie Songster

    Nov 20, 2011
    Reno, NV
    Communication is huge with us and my (very nearby) neighbors. We had a cayuga that was just too noisy, and we had to rehome her before she was 8 weeks old! I don't know if this is typical of cayugas, since she's the only one I've had, but the friend who got her said she's the noisiest duck she's ever heard. I've heard pekins are super noisy. I have Welsh harlequin hens and blue Swedish drakes. The drakes are super quiet, as drakes are anyway. Even at their loudest, it sounds like they have laryngitis. The ducks were loud at first, but are a lot quieter now that they're laying age. When they were still maturing, they could get a little loud. I called them my watchducks, because they alerted me when women (and men) came down my driveway. My dog doesn't bark at women, so the ducks were my alarm. Now, I really only hear them when they're out of food or water.

    A really big thing to keeping them quiet is keeping them happy. When my pond is frozen, they get a little noisy. But if they have the food, water, a little swimming space, and somewhere to camp out, they generally stay quiet.
    1 person likes this.
  5. BackyardAnita

    BackyardAnita Chirping

    Oct 18, 2012
    I have a pekin, runner, and a mallard. My backyard is about a quarter acre and i have neighbors on both sides. My neighbors are fine with us having chickens but i have to ask them about the ducks. are ducks much louder than chickens?
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2012
  6. ChicagoDucks

    ChicagoDucks Songster

    Feb 27, 2012
    This issue came up in our local, Chicago-area backyard fowl forum. Ducks (and Chickens) are legal in Chicago, but not in many of the surrounding suburbs. Here is my post on the Chicago forum, called "Managing Duck Quacking".


    We've had some 13 different individual ducks (Khaki Campbells, Rouens & Cayugas) at different times over the past two years here at our home in Beverly. Loud quacking has been an issue that we've paid close attention to because we have a lot of nearby neighbors. We've had times, like now, when you'd hardly notice the ducks, and there have been a couple of times when our flock was annoying and I apologized to our neighbors, even though I think I was more annoyed than they were! Our current flock of 6 is very calm & quiet.

    Here's my experience with quacking and some thoughts that might be helpful for other urban or suburban duck owners.

    Female domestic ducks (except muscovies) make a loud alarm call "QUACK!" when they are startled, hungry, or separated from a member of their group. Drakes (males) can't make this sound at all. All females have the ability to make this sound, but their inclination to do it seems highly individual. I have a Khaki Campbell duck who
    never makes a quack, and we had a crested Rouen last year who would quack with little provocation. Call ducks, mallards and Pekins are known as very vocal breeds, and Muscovies cannot quack, but otherwise I think vocalization varies more on an individual than a breed basis.

    All things considered, though, I think a happy flock is a quiet flock. Ducks are very social creatures, and it helps to have a good, balanced flock. I've noticed that having a mature (but not too aggressive) drake in the flock helps keep the ducks calm, as does having the right male-to-female ratio (about 1:2-5). There are distinct gender roles in the flock, and mate bonding is much more important for ducks than chickens. We had to cull a very aggressive drake last year and it had a considerable affect on his mate and flock. You may not need a male duck to get duck eggs, but having one around may help you get a happy flock.

    Socialization with people and neighborhood noise seems to make a big difference. Our very first ducks were 4-week-old feed-store ducks, but we hatched all the members of our current flock in our own incubator. The ducks that came from the feed store were always wary of people and much less calm. Our home-hatched ducks were accustomed to our voices and the sounds of our household since before they hatched. Our current ducks don't quack at our neighbors, other passers by, kids, bikes, cars, etc. The one down side of imprinting our ducks like this is that they will quack if they hear my voice but can't see me. If you want ducks that are at ease with you and your household, get day-olds or hatching eggs and socialize them well.

    We have never had a problem with our ducks making the alarm call while in their coop. Our coop, like a lot of designs for duck coops, has a low ceiling and fairly small size--more like a dog house on stilts than like a shed. Wild Mallards don't usually roost, like chickens, but rather find secluded & semi-sheltered places to nest. Once there and comfortable and safe, they don't tend to make much noise. Our ducks are in the coop from dusk until about 8 AM, so we do not get any night-time or early morning nuisance quacks.

    Ducks do quack and mine have done it at pretty predictable times for pretty ordinary reasons. If they are outside the coop and hungry or don't have access to water, they'll quack--but that is pretty easy to prevent. Sometimes, if they are out of the coop, hear my voice and want to find me, they will quack, which usually happens when I go outside during the day, and sometimes in the summer when I'm inside and the windows are open. Once I show the ducks where I am, they knock it off. When ducks are "adolescents" (around 11 to 16 weeks old) I've noticed that they go through a phase when they are more frequently vocal. At this point it is helpful to give them something extra to do, like play in the sprinkler or a big mud puddle. It also helps to stagger the ages of the ducks so you don't have a bunch of them going through this phase at the same time. We don't have many hawks or predatory birds in our neighborhood, so this is almost never a cause for quacking here.

    That has been my experience with quacking. Like raising any animal in an urban area, it has the potential to cause a nuisance. I think if properly managed, you can enjoy keeping a variety of breeds of domestic ducks in the city or 'burbs.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2012
  7. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Songster

    Aug 4, 2010
    San Diego
    Female ducks, especially Pekins, can be very loud. At our lake, most of the females make loud calls for the males in fall and winter. If their favorite male is nearby, they don't call at all and just make squeaks and quacks when alarmed. Some females make a loud chattering greeting in the morning, especially when there's voth males and females around.

    The other two breeds can be loud, but I've noticed the Pekins are the loudest and most vocal.

  8. chooniecat

    chooniecat Songster

    Mar 2, 2009
    central ohio
    It would be courtious to be concerned about disturbing neighbors(even if the animals are legal you don't want to be a nuisance-like some dog neighbors I have had!!). That said-my pekins were never a problem(only had 2 at once) but the female IS generally more complaining(and they have more of a honk) Pekins STILL weren't bad. Last summer I obtained 2 Welsh Harlequin hens and THEY are loud much more often. Still doesn't go on for long-usually when greeting me in a.m. and hungry or complaining because a chicken crossed their path(?). But it sounds like theres enough room between yourself and your neighbor so I wish you duck joy!

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