How Long Can Ducks Go Without WATER? (Surprising Facts)

How long can ducks go without water?

Ducks require a constant supply of water for survival, but how long can ducks go without water? There’s a lot to know about ducks, so let’s get into how long they can go without water and look at how much water ducks actually need.

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How Long Can Ducks Go Without Water?

Ducks can last only 8 hours without drinking water. Beyond 8 hours, the first signs of severe dehydration appear, and finally, death follows. Water is a huge part of a duck’s life so it makes sense as to why they’re dependent on it. Read More: How Many Eggs Do Ducks Lay Per Year? Ducks lay 100 more eggs than chickens each year!

How Much Water Do Ducks Need?

Ducks should not go longer than 8 hours without drinking water. If you own ducks, they should be allowed to drink water freely all day.
Ducks need access to fresh water at all times. Water is essential for ducks, but they don’t need a full-fledged pond. Although ducks would be happier and healthier if they had a wide, deep pond to swim in daily, this is not strictly necessary. An inexpensive plastic kiddie pool or small garden pond will do. It’s probably not the best idea to use an inflatable pool since the ducks’ talons may eventually puncture it. Regardless, having some sort of pool or small body of water for the ducks to be in can keep them healthy and happy. Here’s a great video showing whether or not ducks NEED water to swim in or not: 

Read More: How to Keep a Duck Pond Clean Naturally. Manmade and natural ponds can be cleaned using natural methods and taking advantage of ecosystems!

Do Ducks Need Water in the Winter?

Even in the dead of winter, ducks will require a source of water. Even when there is a lot of snow on the ground, many farmed ducks will still go for a swim, and Pekin ducks in particular are notorious for this. You must make preparations to prevent the baby pool and any pond the ducks use from freezing solid over the winter. To prevent a pond or pool from freezing over during the winter, you need to have your supplies ready and on the water well before the temperature drops below 35 degrees. Two parts salt to one-part water works best for filling plastic bottles or jugs. Floating water bottles in pools can help you avoid freezing water. Don’t worry about your entire pond freezing over, just the first 15 feet or so where the ducks can swim. Read More: Can Ducks Fly? How far and at what age? Learn all there is to know about duck flight!

Keeping the Water Clean

Ducks have been found to suffer from a variety of foot diseases (and other diseases) when they swim in polluted ponds. To keep your ducks safe, you’ll need to clean the water regularly that they’re swimming in. Having some sort of water flow, or changing the water every couple of days or so, can prevent you from having issues with bacteria building upon the water. Drinking water should be fresh daily, especially during the summer months. Read More: How to Catch a Duck Without Hurting It. If you need to catch a wild duck (or one of your own), here’s how to do it safely!

Water-Based Duck Adaptations

duck swimming and kicking
Ducks need water and they are used to being around it. They are even built to withstand the water because of their wings and webbed feet.
Ducks are designed to be in and around water. In the next few sections, we’ll take a look at some of their unique features!

Water-Resistant Feathers

Ducks have feathers that are naturally resistant to the effects of water. They have glands behind their feathers that produce an oily covering to protect them from the environment. This oil also guarantees that ducks are well insulated against the chilly water. Read More: Do Ducks Wag Their Tails When They Are Happy? Why do ducks wag their tails? We discuss the reasons in this post!

Webbed Feet

Ducks can propel themselves across the water’s surface because of the webbing on their feet. This causes water to be displaced in the opposite direction while also providing the birds with sufficient forward momentum.


This is an adaptation that can only be found in a few species of ducks. Ducks have specialized appendages that look like bristles that allow them to filter water out of their mouths when they are feeding. It enables ducks to feed even when they’re swimming in murky waters. Read More: What is a Group of Ducks Called? There are specific names for groups of ducks, and we cover them in this guide!

Wrapping It Up

It can be both entertaining and calming to watch the ducks play and swim in the water. Ducks rely on water to cool off/warm up, breed, and also stay hydrated. It’s best to keep your ducks near water whether it be a pond, kiddie pool, or other makeshift body of water. It’s also important to keep fresh water for them to drink as they can only go about 8 hours without water and they’ll start feeling the effects of dehydration about 2 hours after not having water. We hope this article helped you learn more about how long ducks can go without water.

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