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Q: Will ducks attack children?

A:

It is extremely rare for a duck to attack a person. As prey animals, their main defense is to run or fly away. There is a much greater chance the child will hurt the duck than the duck will ever hurt the child.


A little duck lovin'!

There are several videos online of ducks "attacking" people, including children, but in almost all cases, it is clear that these are wild ducks simply coming closer to get food that the humans are offering. This is normal behavior, as a duck must get closer to the food source in order to snag it before his flock-mate does! Unfortunately, we often call these events "attacks," but it's really just a hungry duck grabbing a morsel of food as quickly as possible. Humans often behave in the same way--just watch how kids handle their Halloween candy, or how your uncle goes after the last piece of Thanksgiving pecan pie!

We humans need to understand that when we offer food to wild animals, we train them to come closer and lose their fear of humans, and they may become bold enough to engage in what looks like aggressive behavior.


Local ponds often have ducks that have been trained to expect food from humans.

In other videos of "attacks," you see humans getting between a group of adult ducks and their ducklings. When this happens, sometimes the drake (male duck) will chase the humans away to protect his offspring. Again, this is perfectly normal, acceptable behavior. If a huge animal were threatening your children, what would you do? Of course, you would protect your children, and "attack" the threat.

Simply stated, humans are the cause of most seemingly aggressive behavior in ducks. We taunt the birds, chase them, make threatening gestures toward them, train them not to fear us by feeding wild ducks, and invade their breeding areas--and then we're surprised when the ducks chase us off!


Duck bucket! (and photo-bombing pig!)

Your own personal pet ducks will be trained to see their beloved caregivers as a source of protection, treats, and feed, and will be happy to come close to get food from you--and it will be an enjoyable time for both you and the birds! Why? Because you will have trained your children to understand duck behavior, to be kind and gentle with them, and to understand that a drake's job is to protect his flock and offspring sometimes--especially during breeding season.