How long can a duck survive without food?


7 Years
May 28, 2012
On Friday morning a bobcat awaited my ducks and chickens when I let them out of their pen, and it killed 10 chickens and injured one duck.

The duck has bad bites on its shoulder and stomach, and she is having difficulty lifting her head. She usually just lets it hang when she is standing or bends it in a weird way when she lays down, but I have seen her lift it, so I think it's more likely that she has pain in her shoulder area rather than neck problems. I think her injuries can heal and won't kill her. The problem is that she hasn't eaten since Friday! She has been drinking a little bit.

She tried a little bit of food yesterday morning and I tried to force her to eat today by sticking her beak in powdered food so that it stuck to her beak, and then dipping her beak in water so she was forced to ingest the food as she cleaned her beak/drank, but it's not enough.
If she is drinking at least a little bit, how long can she live without food? (She laid an egg this morning! Poor little duck)
At least 26 days. I can say this with absolute certainty because 2 years ago during a particularly harsh winter my entire flock went off feed for 26 days. I was beside myself. I still have no idea what day they decided they were done eating out of their dishes. It was the worst part of the winter- cold, snowing, brutally cold for days on end, wind howling. The ducks sat hunkered down in the snow drifts by day and shivering in their house by night with not a drop of feed or water from their dishes. I imagine they must have been eating the snow to stay hydrated, but the snow was feet deep, so there was nothing to eat but snow. Once the weather turned the corner and it started to improve slightly...the ducks started eating again. They were much thinner, but seemed to survive quite nicely. I didn't lose a single one of the 8 of them.

Give her plenty of water, but don't worry too much about her not eating. She probably has enough meat on her bones to sustain her until she is feeling well enough to eat. Let her rest and start to heal. As long as she is still drinking she should be OK.

Good luck.
Great, thanks! :)
I got her to eat a little bit more today and she seems to have more energy. Hopefully her wounds will heal up soon.

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