There are a little over 160 species of ducks around the world with different sizes and weights.
So how much does a duck weigh on average?
The weight of ducks varies considerably from species to species, however, most ducks weigh anywhere from 1.5 pounds to 5 pounds. The heaviest ducks can weigh up to 12 pounds!
In this article, we’ll discuss a duck’s weight, as well as its body composition, and how to help them build more weight or maintain a healthy weight.
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Average Weight of Duck
Ducks are birds belonging to the Anatidae family, including other waterfowl such as geese and swans.
Geese can weigh anywhere between 2.5 and 8 pounds, while swans can weigh up to 30 pounds!
The duck, on the other hand, is on the smaller end of the Anatidae family weighing, on average, between 1.5 and 5 pounds.
The weight also varies by species. A full-grown Mallard typically weighs between 1.6 and 3.5 pounds, whereas a Pintail ranges from 1 to 3.5 pounds.
Adult gadwall, often known as “Alabama Mallards,” weigh between 2.1 and 5.1 pounds on average.
These birds also like to stay particularly light to allow them to fly.
Waterproof feathers on ducks keep them dry, which are waxed and interlock with one another.
Even after a long dive, the soft underlay won’t absorb any moisture ensuring that their weight won’t prevent them from taking off into the air.
Read More: How Long Do Ducks Live? We explore the average lifespan of ducks based on breed!
Factors That Affect a Duck’s Weight
There are a lot of factors that go into a duck’s weight, so if you’re raising ducks on a farm for food, you need to be aware of them.
The potential amount of meat a duck can provide is based on how big and healthy it is around the time of slaughter.
Age and breed are also important factors to consider when it comes to the amount of meat you can get out of a duck.
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Proper nutrition and attention are needed. High protein intake, fast metabolism, and good dietary behaviors result in higher-quality meat.
Something else to consider is that the proportion of fatty acids in the meat will be increased if more vegetable and animal fats are consumed in their diet.
One of the main draws of duck meat is the Omega 3 fatty acid content, so you definitely want to increase that as much as you can.
Here’s a video of a big duck, but know they’re not all this size:
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Habitat and Living Arrangements
It’s crucial to have the proper living space to ensure that your ducks can reach a healthy weight.
Stress and a lack of social interaction will guarantee an unhealthy duck that may not be able to reach a healthy weight since it may stop eating, or just be depressed.
A nest and an aviary can make for suitable breeding conditions for ducks.
In the summer, they live in grassy areas by reservoirs, but when it gets colder, they should be moved to a heated building.
It’s necessary to ensure that whatever type of room or building you have them set up in, the space is well-ventilated.
When it comes to housing healthy ducks, here are a few key considerations:
- Limit the number of adult ducks to three per square meter to avoid the spread of disease.
- Each duck is given a space of at least 70 cm squared and 35 cm high.
- No more than 10 newborn ducklings should be placed into a space of 1 square meter.
- To prepare the floor for ducks, add a layer of slaked lime and then hay or straw.
- Place a net over the floor, and position trays underneath to collect material like feces and feathers.
- The ideal temperature range for a poultry coop is 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity levels of 65% or higher.
Make sure you clean up your coup before introducing the birds. Clean water bowls and food dishes are crucial for preventing disease.
Read More: Best Duck Egg Incubator. We put the egg incubators duck lovers are raving about to the test in this review and guide!
Feeding Ducks to Gain Weight
There are two main methods of feeding ducks on small-scale farms:
- Prepared Compound Feed
- Natural Grazing
One advantage to using ready-made feed is that it saves time on feeding, and this type of feeding can lead to more rapid growth.
Barley, corn, wheat, oats, and other grains are all good examples of feed ingredients. The grain is milled into a coarse mash before being given to ducks.
A major disadvantage of this feeding approach is the high cost, and some commercial feeds contain GMO or other artificial ingredients that aren’t healthy for your ducks (or for you, if you eat the eggs and meat).
NOTE: If you go the commercial route, we highly suggest finding an organic or all-natural feed that’s non-GMO.
Read More: How Big is a Duck Egg in Inches? Duck eggs are pretty impressive in size. Here’s all you need to know about duck egg size and content!
Natural Grazing (Recommended Daily)
The diet of ducks also includes grass and small insects.
A diet consisting mostly of grass and vegetables is best for ducks since it contains more fiber and vitamins so it’s crucial that you allow your ducks to graze.
However, you can also fill their feeders with plants and grasses.
Ducks in the wild also consume a variety of creatures, like bugs, snails, and worms, and this is their main source of protein.
It’s very important that you allow your ducks to graze in the grass as often as they please.
This not only creates healthier ducks but healthier meat and eggs.
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Other Dietary Considerations
Mineral supplements must be added to the diet of ducks, as well.
- Crushed eggshells and regular salt should all be on the menu.
- Calcium is required for stronger bones, whereas sodium aids with digestion.
Leaving the food in the trough allows the bird to regulate its nutrition intake.
The diet for ducklings is three daily feedings, whereas adults are fed twice (in the morning and evening).
Ducks might be fed for a very low cost if you have the proper grazing grounds.
Ducks are simple to maintain and can quickly reach marketable weight, given adequate attention.
Read More: Can Ducks Fly? How far, how fast, and at what age? Learn all about duck flight in this guide!
Are Ducks Fat or Muscular?
A duck’s fat is key to its survival, as it acts as insulation from the cold, helps regulate body temperature, stores energy for periods of scarce food, and protects vital organs and joints.
The amount of fat a duck has varies depending on several conditions, like the age and species of duck, as well as what it eats.
Ducklings have less body fat than adult ducks because they haven’t fully developed yet.
Since it supports the skeleton, aids ducks in movement, and produces body heat, muscle is crucial for ducks.
Their 600+ muscles make up approximately 40% of their weight.
Like its fat content, a duck’s amount of muscle is also determined by factors such as age and diet.
Generally, ducks have more fat than muscle, because fat stores more calories and better preserves heat.
The amount of fat to muscle in a duck can fluctuate greatly.
Read More: How to Pick Up a Duck. Want to see how strong or heavy your ducks are? Here’s how to safely pick them up.
So, how much does a duck weigh in pounds?
While weight is determined by several factors, including the duck species, its age, its environment, and the food it consumes, on average, ducks weigh between 1 and 5 pounds.
To ensure your duck gets to a healthy weight give them the proper housing, care, and diet. This will make sure they produce lots of healthy eggs and meat!