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Ducks Attacking Humans: Why It Happens and How to Stop It

ducks attacking humans

Ahh, the sound of ducks quacking in the morning!

You’ve heard it many times before, but lately, it’s been getting a bit too close for comfort, and you start to wonder: are ducks aggressive to humans?

The answer is yes (and no). While duck behavior can become quite violent as they compete for resources, they don’t usually attack people.

But if you have mean and aggressive ducks on your hands, you might be wondering what you can do.

Let’s take a closer look!

Are Ducks Aggressive to Humans?

Duck behavior can quickly turn violent as flocks compete for space and resources.

Being territorial in nature, they often become aggressive towards people and pets as well. When a perceived threat approaches the group, the ducks freeze and call out in alarm.

Duck attacks are not uncommon either, nor as benign as they might sound.

The ducks will use their wings, claws, and beaks to deter intruders—not to mention the commotion caused by an entire flock of angry birds can be quite disorienting and frightening!

But don’t worry—most of these attacks come from drakes (the male ducks) who display this kind of protective behavior towards their female counterparts because they feel threatened by humans approaching them when breeding season arrives.

ways to deal with aggressive ducks

Why Do Ducks Attack Humans?

Ducks are often seen as gentle, harmless creatures. But what happens when a duck decides to attack you?

It can be a confusing and sometimes scary experience. Integral to preventing and addressing a duck attack is figuring out why they do it in the first place.

Let’s take a closer look at the most common reasons why ducks attack humans.

No Fear of Humans

One of the main reasons why ducks attack humans is because they are not afraid of them.

Ducks have no concept of danger or fear when it comes to humans, so they don’t understand that attacking someone could mean getting hurt themselves.

They simply see humans as another object in their environment and will approach them without hesitation.

Dominant Duck

Another reason why ducks may attack humans is that they are trying to establish dominance over them.

If a duck has decided that you are its territory or if it feels threatened by your presence, it may try to establish itself as the dominant figure by attacking you.

This is often seen in male ducks who want to show their dominance over other males or even females in their environment.

They Feel Threatened

Ducks also tend to attack humans if they feel threatened or scared by them.

This can happen if someone gets too close to their nesting area or tries to handle them without allowing them time to adjust first.

If a duck feels threatened, it will likely try and defend itself by attacking the perceived threat—which just happens to be you!

It Wants to Mate You

It might sound strange, but some ducks actually think that people look like potential mates!

While this doesn’t happen very often, it’s possible for a duck to mistake a human for another duck and attempt courtship behaviors such as chasing after them or pecking at them.

They’re in Pain or Stressed

Ducks may also act aggressively toward humans if they’re injured or stressed out due to environmental conditions such as weather changes or overcrowding.

It’s important for all duck owners (or potential owners) to know the signs of pain and stress in ducks so that they can intervene quickly if needed and keep everyone safe from harm.

What Are the Most Aggressive Duck Breeds?

If you’re starting a backyard flock of ducks, you might be wondering which breeds are most and least aggressive. Let’s start by considering the most aggressive breeds.

muscovy meat duck

Muscovy Ducks

First on our list? Muscovies. Muscovy ducks are native to Mexico and South America, and they are known for their aggression and confrontational behavior.

These ducks can be extremely territorial over their mate, and they will even attack intruders.

If you have muscovy ducks in your flock, it is best to keep them separated from other bird species as they may become agitated or violent.

rouen duck for meat and eggs

Rouen Ducks

Next up are Rouen ducks. This breed originated in France and was bred for meat production purposes.

They tend to be much larger than other breeds of ducks, reaching up to 10 pounds when fully grown.

The Rouen ducks also tend to be quite aggressive when defending their territory or protecting their eggs or nestlings from predators.

They have been known to attack humans if provoked, so it is best to exercise caution when handling them.

pekin meat duck

Pekin Ducks

Pekin ducks were developed in China during the 19th century. They tend to be very defensive of their mates and nests, which can make them quite aggressive towards people or other animals that approach too closely.

This breed is also known for its loud quacking, which can be heard from miles away!

wild duck breeds mallard

Mallard Ducks

Mallard ducks are one of the most common duck species found throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.

They typically inhabit wetlands where they form large flocks with other mallards.

When defending their territories or mates from intruders, mallards can display aggressive behaviors such as chasing after an intruder or vocalizing loudly in alarm calls to alert other birds in the area of potential danger.

What Are the Least Aggressive Duck Breeds?

If you want a duck with less possibility of attacking you and anyone else in the flock, you might want to consider these less aggressive duck breeds:

Black duck breed- Cayuga duck

Cayuga Duck

One of the least aggressive duck breeds is the Cayuga Duck. It’s an American breed that originated in New York state in the early 1800s.

This is a medium-sized duck with glossy black feathers and bright yellow eyes. It’s also known for its sweet disposition and calm nature.

The Cayuga Duck is social and loves spending time with people, making it one of the best pet ducks around!

magpie duck

Magpie Duck

Next up is another American breed—the Magpie Duck.

This duck stands out from other breeds thanks to its eye-catching coloration—a mixture of black, white, gray, blue, green, and purple feathers!

It’s also one of the most gentle ducks you can find. The Magpie has a serene personality and loves interacting with humans. It’s also quite intelligent, so it can be trained easily to do tricks!

welsh harlequin duck

Welsh Harlequin Duck

Finally, there’s the Welsh Harlequin Duck—a breed that hails from Wales in Great Britain.

This breed has beautiful colors—a mixture of white, brownish red, buff orange, or yellowish orange feathers—and attractive markings around its eyes and head area.

It’s also known for its docile personality; it tends to get along well with other ducks as well as humans!

How to Prevent Ducks From Attacking Humans

Have you ever experienced a duck attack? If not, then great! You may want to keep it that way by following these tips on how to prevent a duck attack.

how aggressive ducks behave

1. Be Careful When Raising Ducks as Pets

When considering whether or not to get ducks as pets, think twice before taking the plunge.

There’s no denying that ducks are cute and cuddly, but they can also be aggressive if not properly trained and handled with care.

If you’re going to have ducks as pets, make sure you provide them with plenty of space, so they don’t feel too crowded or trapped. They should also have access to food and water at all times.

2. Discourage Nibbling and Pecking

Ducks like to nibble and peck at things—it’s their nature! But this behavior can quickly become dangerous if left unchecked.

To discourage your ducks from nibbling and pecking, keep them away from any potential sources of danger, such as electrical cords or other sharp objects.

Try to avoid too much physical contact with your ducks. While petting is okay in moderation, too much petting can lead to aggressive behavior due to overstimulation and them believing that they are the dominant animal.

3. Don’t Let Ducks Imprint On You

The last thing you want is for your ducks to become attached or “imprinted” on you. This means that they view you as their parent instead of just another human being.

To prevent this from happening, limit the amount of time you spend interacting with your ducks each day; otherwise, they may start seeing you as part of their flock instead of just someone who feeds them every now and then!

4. Don’t Feed Your Ducks by Hand

Ducks will associate people who feed them by hand with food, which can lead to aggression when the person does not have food.

For this reason, it’s best to avoid feeding your ducks by hand and instead purchase feeders specifically designed for ducks at pet stores or online retailers.

5. Avoid Raising Ducks in Your House

If you keep ducks as pets, try not to raise them inside your house or other enclosed space where they may feel threatened and become defensive.

Instead, give them plenty of room outside where they can roam freely and feel less threatened by humans or other animals.

6. Wear Pants and Closed Toed Shoes To Keep Yourself Safe

When interacting with ducks, make sure to wear pants and closed-toed shoes that cover as much of your body as possible.

This will help to protect you from any sharp claws or bills that a duck may use against you if it feels threatened.

7. Don’t Chase or Hit Your Ducks

Ducks may seem like they enjoy running away from their owners, but in reality, this could be their way of avoiding potential danger or punishment.

Chasing them will only further this fear and inevitably lead to more aggressive behavior in the future.

Moreover, hitting your ducks is a definite no-no. Not only does it cause physical harm, but it also reinforces that negative behavior is acceptable.

8. Add More Females to the Flock to Reduce Sexual Frustration

Male ducks tend to become more aggressive during the mating season if there aren’t enough females around for them to mate with.

To prevent this from happening, add more female ducks to the flock!

This way, your male duck won’t feel sexually frustrated and instead will focus his energy on courting new female companions.

9. Take Your Duck to the Vet to Make Sure It’s Not Sick or Injured

While some of these tips can help prevent duck attacks in general, sometimes an attack can stem from a medical issue such as injury or illness.

If your duck seems uncharacteristically aggressive all of a sudden, take them in for a checkup at the vet just in case something else is going on beneath the surface.

how to deal with aggressive ducks

How Do You Know if a Duck is About to Attack?

Ducks are generally considered peaceful and docile animals, but they can get territorial when they feel threatened.

But how can you tell if a duck is about to attack?

To help you out, we’ve compiled some of the key warning signs that a duck might be ready for battle!

Flapping Wings

The most obvious sign that a duck might be about to attack is flapping its wings.

Ducks will usually flap their wings in an attempt to look bigger and more intimidating, which signals that it’s ready for battle.

If the flapping persists, then you should definitely back away from the duck, as it could be getting ready to launch an attack.


Another key warning sign of an impending duck attack is charging. Ducks will often run forward in an attempt to scare away potential threats.

If you’re ever confronted with a charging duck, don’t stand your ground—make sure you get out of the way as quickly as possible!

Wing Posturing

If a duck begins posturing its wings in an aggressive manner, then this can also indicate that it’s about to become aggressive.

This could involve spreading its wings outward or flicking them back and forth rapidly.

In this case, making yourself look smaller and backing away slowly may help calm down the situation and prevent any violence from occurring.


Ducks can also make noises when they feel threatened or provoked. These noises range from low grunts to loud quacks and can vary depending on the type of threat they perceive around them.

Pay attention to these noises, as they are usually indicative of an impending attack.

deal with aggressive ducks

What To Do if a Duck Attacks You

Read on for some tips on how to handle yourself when faced with an angry duck.

Pin The Duck Down for Two Minutes

When faced with an attacking duck, the first thing you should do is pin the duck down for two minutes.

This will give it time to calm down and recognize that it can’t overpower you. You should approach the duck slowly and firmly but remain calm.

If the duck senses fear in your voice or body language, it will only further agitate them.

Once the duck is pinned down for two minutes, it should calm down enough that you can let go of it without fear of being attacked again.

Be Consistent with Your Discipline

It’s important that if a duck does attack, you respond consistently each time.

If your discipline changes from one incident to another, the duck won’t understand why it is being punished and may become more aggressive as a result.

It takes time for ducks to learn boundaries and respect humans, so make sure your discipline is consistent in order to effectively train them not to attack in the future.

If It’s a Sexual Attack, Use a Broom or Water Gun to Deter an Attack

If your attacker is male, then there is a chance that they are just trying to mate with you. In this case, using either a broom or water gun will usually scare off your assailant and prevent any further “attacks.” Using either of these items will also send them a strong message about who is in charge!

Consider Culling and Only Breed Friendly Animals

Breeding animals that are known for friendliness may also help reduce future attacks as well.

This way, only gentle birds will be present, which should minimize any future confrontations between humans and ducks!

Do Ducks Attack Each Other?

Yes, ducks do fight. However, these fights rarely come to blows (or breaks).

Fighting in the wild usually takes the form of a “duck duel”—two ducks facing off with their necks stretched out and their wings flapping. This is a way of asserting dominance without resorting to physical violence.

Ducks will also fight over food or mates. In these cases, the fights can be more serious and even result in physical contact.

Ducks may peck at each other, bite each other’s feathers or even attempt to drown their opponent.

These types of fights are more common among male ducks competing for mates than between two female ducks who are fighting over food or territory.

Do Ducks Bite?

The answer is yes—but this doesn’t mean you need to be scared! Ducks can become territorial and may peck or bite if provoked, but it often isn’t painful.

If a duck does decide to bite, it’s usually because they’re attempting to protect its eggs or a territory they feel belongs to them.

Ducks will usually give warning signs before attacking—such as hissing, ruffling feathers, and spreading wings—so it’s important to back away from them when you see these behaviors.

Ducks Attacking Humans: Final Thoughts

While there are certainly times when ducks have been known to attack humans, for the most part, these incidents seem to be isolated cases.

More often than not, ducks are far more scared of us than we are of them and will go out of their way to avoid any type of confrontation.

However, if you do find yourself in a situation where a duck is attacking you, the best course of action is to try and remain calm while slowly backing away from the bird.

Consider the tips above to help you prevent duck attacks on your farm!

READ NEXT: Why Do Drakes Attack

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