Young Ducks digging, is this normal? (new owner)


In the Brooder
Jun 29, 2016
Upstate NY
my ducks are at most 3 months old, I have no idea what like breed they are (I am a new duck owner, like since july new) I have 5 ducks, as far as I can tell at least one is a male. I noticed them all digging in the grass and dirt, even the male. I was just curious if this is normal, and is this okay. Anybody else have ducks that dig??
Digging with their bills? Yes, drilling....normal and their favorite way to make a water dish into mud soup
This is one of the reasons ducks are better at bug control than chickens. They will dig under the soil and eat beetle larvae and grubs. We get alot if rain here in the Pacific Northwest so that helps keep our ground soft enough for the ducks to drill into as they forage and aerate the soil at the same time. The reason you see more holes near their water source is because the wet soil attracts worms and then the ducks feast on the worms. Ducks don't "make" mud (water and dirt make mud) but they love digging in the mud and sifting it through the strainers in their bills to pick out edibles.

Ducks do seem to like building ponds so if there is mud you will see them widening a mud hole in order to collect water and turn it into a pond over time, lol. They literally use their bills to scoop out the mud and bank it up. They will even cover the grass edges with mud to kill the grass and make it into adobe to hold more water in their newly formed hole. Anytime we have standing water anywhere I have to use the hose and pressure nozzle to level out the ground to keep the ducks from digging it out deeper because they love having their own natural ponds even better than the artificial ponds we give them.

I fill in the duck puddles during the rainy season and the chicken dust bath craters during the dry season so it is a chore to keep filling in holes to keep the ground level sometimes. The chickens do the most damage by far because they fling dust and even rocks everywhere as they dig up the yard. The ducks have to deal with the mud being self-leveling when it rains non-stop so the holes tend to fill themselves in without as much effort on my part.

The way to keep ducks from drilling around their water source is to put it on cement or decking. Some people like building a drain screen or a rock drain to keep the duck water from making mud. Ducks need bath water and they will splash their water so mud happens but there are ways to minimize or eliminate the mud if it is a problem.

I like using small water tubs and moving them around to water and fertilize our fruit trees so I don't have a problem with the ducks bathing and keeping things watered for me. We also have a horse trough with a ramp up to it and a deck around it so the water that they splash from that pond waters my blueberry plants and I siphon the water to my garden so we have very nice fertile soil for growing our own edibles thanks to our ducks.
Digging with their bills? Yes, drilling....normal and their favorite way to make a water dish into mud soup

The mud soup is a result of them cleaning the strainers in their bill after digging but ducks will actually scoop up rocks and even dirt to put in their water at times. They do not seem to be as fond of clear water as we are and even the muddy water rolls right off their backs during bathing so sometimes we just have to let the ducks be happy with their hard work. I think ducks want to turn their artificial ponds into natural ponds so I have wanted to dig out a more natural pond for them.

I know our ducks ingest dirt when they are foraging for food so they are not bothered about having dirt in their water. We clean out the water to keep things from growing in it but we know it will not stay clean for long and we are not bothered by the mud soup. ;)

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