Drinking Water


Providing your ducks with water is a simple yet important subject. After all, ducks are WATERfowl.

Most people use commercial water tubs like this:

A commercial water tub.
A commercial waterer/drinker.

The water is held in the white reservoir and spills out a small gap near the bottom, filling the red portion. The water inside the white bucket remains relatively clean until let out, no matter how dirty the accessible water is. These tubs work well and don’t spill much except that the ducks filter part of their water out the back of their bill.

When we had nothing else for our ducks to swim or dip their face in (it’s essential that a duck be able to rinse its nostrils and face), we removed the red part and flipped the white bucket upside down for the ducks to drink out of. A regular five-gallon bucket is too tall – the ducks can’t reach in. However, open water tubs or bowls are extremely messy inside as the ducks will splash in it and try to swim.

Your ducks will also drink from whatever they swim in, so if you have a pond or a swimming tub outside, there’s usually no need for a water tub outside, except for ducklings that can’t access a tall tub.

Just like for feeders, it’s often better to have more than one water tub to ensure that all ducks have access; but more importantly, so that they don’t run out of water when you’re not around. Once our ducks drank their entire tub of water during the night, and in the morning they had almost nothing left. After that incident, we added a second tub. The same flock (14 ducks) often drinks an entire gallon of water during one feeding session.

For my current flock, I use two 1-gallon commercial water tubs. During the night, the waters are inside, and during the day, the waters are outside, although they have a bathtub as well. Currently, my ducks are in a movable pen, so they don’t have a pond or pool.

Refilling the ducks' water tub.
Refilling the ducks’ water tub.

Water tubs need to be cleaned every day or two. Simply empty them, scrub the inside with an old brush , and refill. Algae may grow and should be scrubbed away. Don’t use any harsh chemicals, but every once in a while you can use some dish soap if you want. It’s impossible to constantly keep duck water impeccably crystal clear, as ducks are masters of turning water murky by taking baths and rinsing their mouths in the tub. Ducklings are notoriously messy.

Be sure your ducks have something they can at least submerge their faces in. Ducks must be able to submerge their nostrils and face in water occasionally, and commercial drinkers often are too shallow to serve as the only type of water tub around.