How to Teach Your Duck Not to Bite

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A duck can make a charming, affectionate pet, especially if he bonds with you from a young age. However, ducks can sometimes show unpleasant behavior, including giving you a bruising duck bite. Understanding what your duck is trying to tell you through using his bill to pinch you is the first step in teaching your duck not to bite.

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You can probably teach your duck not to bite.
Image Credit: Nigel Harris /iStock/GettyImages

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Aggressive male duck bite

Perhaps you raised your male duck from a duckling, and he suddenly acts aggressively toward you. There are a couple of reasons your drake is suddenly prone to biting, and they both have to do with male hormones.

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Your male duck could be trying to show his dominance over you, trying to mate with you, or a combination of both. If you think your duck is trying to mate with you, get him some females and it will likely solve the problem. Duck mating can be hard on females, so provide at least two or three females to keep your duck happy. You might have to carry a broom to block him until he realizes you're not part of his harem.

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If your duck bonded with you early on and you've catered to his every whim as a duckling, it is likely he doesn't respect you and thinks he's higher in the pecking order than you. He might beat you with his wings to get you to move or rush at you with his twisting bite. Consistently and calmly showing your dominance over him is the best way to teach him not to bite.

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Stop the duck bite

Drakes will fight one another to raise their status in the duck social hierarchy. They will walk side by side, raising and lowering their neck, beating each other with their wings, and biting one another. A male duck fight ends when one pins the other to the ground and sits on him victoriously for several minutes.

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To stop your duck from biting you, you'll need to resist the urge to run away when he comes at you. Wear jeans and boots so he won't be able to get a solid grip on your leg and intercept his attack. Pin him to the ground and hold him there firmly until he lies still in submission. Remain calm — after all, his attack on you isn't personal. It's just his instinct, and you can teach him that you're the top drake without making him scared of you.

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It will take at least two minutes of holding him down for him to get the message. Be firm but make sure he is able to breathe and will not get physically injured. Don't put all your weight on him but be firm enough that he knows you're physically stronger. If you're too gentle, you'll have to repeat the process again, as he'll attack you again. Keep in mind that ducks are very rough with one another.

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Preventing duck bites

Teaching your duck not to bite should ideally start when he's a young duckling. Avoid raising a duck all alone, as he will be lonely whenever you're not around. Having other ducks for companionship will prevent your duck from seeing you as the object of his affection or having to dominate you when he reaches sexual maturity.

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Don't let your duckling peck at your face or skin. As cute as it is to get these "kisses" from ducklings, it's teaching them that it's OK to act aggressively toward you. Use your hand to lightly peck back at your duckling until he moves away from you.

Pecking curiously at a button or other shiny object is based on curiosity. While these pecks are not harmful, directing your duck's attention toward other objects, such as appropriate toys, will keep him from getting the idea that it's OK to bite you.

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