How to Teach Your Duck Not to Bite

By Jakki Rochelle

Ducks make great pets because they are adorable and relatively simple to take care of. While some pet birds, such as macaw parrots, can cost hundred or thousands of dollars, ducks are inexpensive to purchase and to care for. Because ducks have been domesticated for hundreds of years, they adjust well to human company and are not likely to act aggressively. Like other pet birds, if your duck is biting, you should try to pinpoint the cause for such behavior before you attempt to correct it.

Make sure that your duck isn't injured. If a duck who doesn't normally bite has begun to bite and display abnormal behavior, it might be injured and in pain. If you suspect this might be the case, take the duck to a veterinarian for an examination.

Check to be sure all of your duck's needs are being met. Does it have plenty of food and water? Birds sometimes bite to get your attention and let you know that they need something. If a duck isn't receiving a proper diet, it may start to act aggressively.

Consider the situations during which the duck bites. Is the duck acting out of fear to a stimulus, such as a sound or other animal that might have scared it? If so, try to either prevent this stimulus from scaring the duck by removing it or by conditioning the duck not to fear it.

Don't react with yelling or pulling away when your duck bites you, if you can. Your first instinct might be to yell or scream and pull away, but you should refrain from doing so. Birds sometimes bite to establish dominance over people, and you don't want to reward the duck by exhibiting submissive behavior.

Train your duck to do a simple trick, such as coming when called. Training it a trick will teach the duck that you are the dominant one in the relationship. Use treats, such as little pieces of bread, to reward your duck every time it performs the trick. Rewarding the duck will show it that good behavior gets treats, while bad behavior gets nothing.

Say "no" firmly if the duck bites you, especially during a training session. Remember not to yell, just say "no" in a confident tone.

Don't give the duck a treat to warm it up to you after it bites you. The duck will understand this as a reward, and will continue the biting behavior. Similarly, don't walk away immediately after it bites you. This will cause the duck to know if it bites you, you will leave.