It’s fair to say that there are few things that bring us all together quite like a need for and love of a good night’s sleep. No matter who you are or whatever else you might believe, we all need to drift off to Dreamland sometime – and that includes the ducks you might want to raise as pets. Unfortunately, anyone who has indeed kept a couple of quackers on hand knows that their quacking can be enough to keep anyone up at night. That doesn’t have to be the case, as even your ducks have to sleep eventually.
Still, you might wonder how and where ducks sleep, and what that might mean for your pets.
Thankfully, this isn’t a question you need to lose sleep over.
Let’s take a closer look at what duck sleeping habits are like, how much sleep they need, and what you can do to try and ensure your ducks don’t keep you up at night.
Duck Sleeping Habits
Like humans, ducks tend to sleep in a variety of different positions. That being said, the most common position to find ducks sleeping in is with them laying on their back with their heads rotated upward. It isn’t hard to imagine why this might be the case. After all, ducks spend a lot of time on the water, and this kind of posture is perfect for ensuring that they are able to rest while keeping their bills above water. Ducks can sometimes tuck their bill underneath their feathers, and can sometimes rest it on their chest instead.
Ducks need several hours of sleep, but when they sleep can vary wildly based on several factors, not the least of which being the weather. Like so many of us, ducks love the lazy warmth of summer, and may sleep for extra long periods during those warmer periods compared with colder ones. That being said, they do indeed sleep a great deal during winter as they tuck into themselves to try and keep warm.
While ducks are typically nocturnal, they are not exclusively so, as anyone who has ever been woken up by a midnight quack session can tell you. Many wild duck species actually migrate during the night, and plenty of domestic duck breeds can be active at night sometimes, depending on the conditions. For example, ducks can sometimes choose to feed at night if the weather is warm enough.
In terms of breed differences, Mallards often sleep on their backs on the water in intermittent sleep patterns. On the other hand, Muscovy ducks tend to be a bit more regular with their sleep patterns and tend to sleep above ground and during the night.
That being said, most duck breeds tend to nap during the day. This is especially true after they eat and forage. The latter in particular combines physical activity with food – a combination that can make anyone ready for a little nap, ducks included. Ducks can also decide to nap after a nice bath.
Then there is the fact that some ducks sleep with one eye open. That makes sense from a predator-prey point of view, since ducks need to be constantly vigilant in the wild so as to avoid being hunted. More than a quirk, ducks can actually have half of their brain and a corresponding eye sleep at one time, allowing the other half and eye to remain awake and alert, thereby helping protect them from predators.
Finally, it is worth noting that, as with humans and other animals, as ducks get older, they tend to get more tired and sleep more.
Ducks, Sleep, and You
All of that is well and good, but what if your ducks keep you up at night with their quacking?
One of the first things you need to recognize with your ducks visa vi sleep is that not all breeds are the same. As mentioned above, Mallards have more intermittent sleep patterns compared to the more regular Muscovies. In addition, Muscovies are also calmer and quieter in terms of the volume of their quacks. Taking those factors together, it isn’t hard to see that some ducks are more likely to allow you a quiet night’s sleep than others. If you don’t want to be woken up by your ducks at night, going with quieter and more regularly-sleeping ducks such as Muscovies is a better bet.
That being said, you can also endeavor to control the conditions that govern ducks and their sleep patterns as much as possible. For example, you can choose to control the times and rate at which your ducks are fed. As mentioned above, this is one factor that can have a profound impact on when and how often your ducks sleep. Feeding them before periods where you want them to be quiet can be one way to help ensure that they’ll be asleep so you can sleep yourself.
The same goes for temperature. If your ducks are quacking a lot at night and it’s a cold season, that coldness may indeed be the culprit. Make sure your ducks’ coop is well-heated. It will be more comfortable for the ducks and, if this allows them to go to sleep, more comfortable for you sleepwise.
Finally, you should be on the lookout for any sudden changes in your ducks’ sleeping patterns. Are they sleeping much more or much less than they used to? Have they completely stopped sleeping at night or are they oversleeping during the day? Even after they are done sleeping, do your ducks seem lethargic? As mentioned above, duck sleep schedules can prove various in nature, but if the variations are too extreme and your ducks seem unwell, you should visit a veterinarian immediately.
There is a lot to keep track of regarding your ducks and sleep, but that doesn’t mean that you should snooze on these facts. On the contrary – by paying attention to the essentials now, you can make sure that you and your ducks can enjoy restful periods of rejuvenating sleep.