A duck can make an excellent guardian for a flock of smaller birds. Noted, ducks are unusual characters as guards when compared to other animals, or primarily to the geese; but the intelligence of ducks comes into play here.
Ducks are very intelligent and can easily adapt and/or consider themselves as guardians of livestock of smaller birds, if not for anything but for the fact that they are larger than them.
Ducks are not big enough to fend off the larger predators, such as coyotes or big cats, so they’re most effective when used in combination with good fencing.
They can certainly fend off weasels, slugs and other rodents, though, which will often prey on chickens or try sneaking eggs from their nests. When a duck can not defend your livestock from predators, they make up for their shortcomings with lots of wing flapping and noises. Although the ducks don’t hunk as loud as the geese, they still hunk as loud as the human ear can hear.
Ducks are rather good alarms when they see flying predators. They can sight them long before the human eyes can. The resulting scurrying and alarm will send chickens seeking for safe cover.
Which Breed To Use?
Unfortunately, not all breeds of ducks have the attitude of guarding, but if you want a suitable guard duck I’d recommend the Indian Runner ducks. These ducks possess an upright build and instead of waddling, they walk. The Indian Runner ducks’ build alone can be intimidating.
For instance, a vineyard in the Western Cape in South Africa utilizes the ducks allowing a veritable army to march in waves and devour bugs. They also act as natural pesticides with their poop also welcomed as a fertilizer. In honor of their service, the vineyard markets some of their products under the “Runner Duck brand”.
There are other breeds which possess indifferent characteristics and can be used as “guard ducks”. The Khaki Campbell, Call ducks and other large breeds are prominent enough for this role – simply because they are intimidating.
Using a brood (flock) of ducks
A flock of duck will not be as attached to your chickens as a single duck would be. Ducks are social animals, and when kept in flocks, they become engrossed with each other and often forget their duties in guarding the chickens (livestock) If you keep a full flock of ducks on your farm, many predators will think twice before approaching. A brood of geese is an intimidating foe, even if they aren’t really paying that much attention to guarding.
Even if you keep friendly pet ducks, a few honks are enough to scare a potential burglar.
A guard duck can supplement your meat or egg supply in addition to providing protection and have also proven to be an entertaining character. For the farmer looking to find a useful, natural way to keep their chickens safe, whilst ridding their farm from pests and slugs, look no further than the ducks.
The Goose and The Duck.
They have been a strong association between geese and aggression, which are frankly quite true. The goose are larger and possess more guard-like characteristics (honk, aggression, charge) and are vastly used around the world as guards (in the avian family).
However, the ducks have quite a stance here. They are more friendly to humans; this comes in handy to owners, in the sense that the ducks will not suddenly turn and become aggressive to their owners.
They are also more likely to take to chickens; since they are a more loyal imprints. Imagine when a single guard duck is utilized and a predator of considerable size comes for the livestock -the ducks family; their natural guard instincts will definitely come alive. Let’s not forget their strong beaks!
In conclusion: Like I said earlier, most animals can be trained to become guards of anything. So the ducks’ case is no different. With proper training, they can be valuable guardian to your livestock as they’ll see the stocks as their responsibility and family.
Ducks may not be as large as the traditional “guard geese”, but why don’t we utilize the ducks in our farmstead and train them into guards. Ducks are amazing!