Ducks can’t vocalize their thoughts, so you probably wonder how to tell if a duck likes you.
But the good news is it’s possible to know how it feels about your presence by observing its initiation or response to a cuddle, petting, and vocalizations.
The key to knowing if your duck likes you are studying the usual duck behavior with humans who raised them and their love languages.
In this article, we compiled eight common ways a duck shows affection towards its human and fellow waterfowl.
Whether raising ducks as pets or as an egg producer, you’ll surely benefit from this guide.
How to Tell If a Duck Likes You
Ducks can be amazing and loving pets when raised the right way and from an early age.
Just like humans, they show affection through physical contact, vocalizations, and body language.
But how do ducks show affection?
To get more insight into how to tell if a duck likes you, let’s discuss eight common ways they show affection to their humans.
Ducklings can bond with their family or owners when they hatch from their eggs. They naturally think that the first large moving object they see is their mother.
This is called filial imprinting, and it’s powerful since it can program the ducklings’ minds into thinking you’re their parent and they’re of the same species as you. So, they will follow you wherever you go.
When a duck imprints on you, it can create a lifelong attachment, and it’s more likely to like you and be affectionate with you.
Filial imprinting occurs between 12 hours after birth to 36 hours of the duckling’s life, called the critical period.
At a peak age of about 16 hours, a duck will imprint more easily and quickly than at any other time.
How to know if a duckling has imprinted on you?
A duck has imprinted on you if it sees you as the mother and will look for you and ask for their needs.
However, an imprinted duck will think it’s a human, so it may become challenging for him to live in a flock.
Do ducks recognize human faces?
Research shows that birds like ducks can recognize people’s faces and can recognize their human voices or sound.
It’s a crucial life skill that helps them survive.
Just like cats and dogs, tamed ducks may enjoy cuddling to gain physical attention.
If they feel safe and comfortable with you, they’ll climb onto your lap or lay in your arms and legs for extra closeness.
Since ducks are social animals, they love the companionship their mother brings.
So, if your waterfowl has imprinted on you and thinks of you as their mom, they’re more likely to show you affection by cuddling.
And that’s one of the many ways you will know if a duck likes you.
Do ducks like to cuddle?
Ducks enjoy some cuddles and often show they like and trust you through it.
Since these avian creatures are intelligent and can quickly learn and imitate, they’ll realize quickly that they can show affection through cuddles.
Do ducks give kisses?
Ducks may give kisses by gnawing on their toes, hands, and feet.
It often occurs when you’re feeding them, or they’re simply excited to show gratitude to you.
3. Quacking and Vocalizations
Ducks may also use their quacking sounds to gain attention or affection like babies or to tell you he likes you.
Ducks produce noises when joyful or excited in addition to their hostile calls.
Whether they’re excited about receiving a treat, running into you after a long absence, or having their swimming pool filled with fresh water, they’ll honk loudly at you.
The tone of this noise makes it clear right away that they are joyful because the “honks” are loud and energetic.
4. Nibbling on Hands and Toes
Have you ever thought and asked yourself, “why does my duckling nibble me?”
When a duck nibbles at your fingers and toes, don’t panic because it’s actually a sign that it adores you.
It can also be their unique way of saying “thank you” for feeding and showering them with love and tender care.
So think of it as their way of showing gratitude and love.
Wild ducks will bob their heads toward potential mates as a gesture of attraction. You might call it a “duck flirting” sign.
This head-bobbing, which comprises a swift, up-and-down neck retraction, can signify various things.
The head movement is also made by domesticated ducks, but usually when they are excited about something or someone.
The most common time domestic ducks bob their heads up and down in delight is when they first meet you after missing you for a while.
Ducks will make this head movement to express their joy at their owner’s return, just like dogs do.
Ducks love to sleep and cuddle, which is another effective way to display their affection.
Ducks are inherently vulnerable while they sleep in the wild because of their stance. Sleep is a period when prey birds let their guard down and expose themselves to predators.
Since a duck is most vulnerable while sleeping, it says a lot if your pet duck feels secure enough in your presence to doze off, especially if they doze off on you!
A duck will feel safe with you if they fall asleep on your lap or cuddles in your arm. Ducks continue to demonstrate their very kind, compassionate nature in this way.
If you get tempted to caress and pet your baby ducks from time to time, you’re not alone.
These intelligent yet adorable creatures are hard to resist. But do ducks like to be petted?
Like other pets, such as dogs and cats, ducks enjoy being caressed and petted by humans.
Since male ducks are often more docile and kind than female ducks, they usually want petting more often.
Where do ducks prefer to be petted?
Ducks usually find pleasure when petted under the lower mandible. They may stand and close their eyes while you rub him.
They also enjoy being petted gently around their mouth and the “V” along the top of their mouth.
Other points in their body where they like being scratched are their backs, feathers, or neck.
Do ducks like hugs?
Tamed ducks are friendly and social, so if they have imprinted on you and like you, they will cuddle and hug you.
They’ll even initiate the hug by climbing into your lap if they like and adore you.
Obviously, your duck values your attention and cares about you if it tries to play with you or brings you a toy to throw around for them.
Even wild ducklings will wrestle with one another to pass the time.
They are pleasant to play with oneself and amusing to watch. Kids are drawn to bright toys and shining objects like mirrors and dazzling trinkets.
Now that you already have some ideas on how to tell if a duck likes you, let’s consider the signs a duck likes other waterfowl or ways it shows affection.
How Ducks Show Affection To Each Other
Here are different ways a duck shows affection to each other, which can help you spot who their favorite is.
Imprinting is the very first way a duckling shows affection to you, its mother, siblings, or whoever it sees first when it is hatched.
They bond naturally with the first moving object they’ve imprinted on. So if you’re not around when they hatch, chances are it will imprint on its mom or siblings.
While the courtship and flirting stage seem romantic, ducks can get aggressive when mating.
But despite being polygamous, they may still have their favorites.
For example, male ducks mate with any female when it’s in heat and a chance appears. However, they also have one favorite duck they’ll spend the most time with and hand goodies to.
On the other end of the spectrum, the females will search for their preferred guy, and they won’t let others freely mate and only allow him to do so.
RELATED: How Do Ducks Mate?
Another way a duck shows affection to each other is by flirting. Drakes often entice the females by raising themselves out of the water, striking the water using their bills, and waving their heads and tail.
Then the males and female ducks bow their heads up and down in response to each other’s movements.
When the female swims into the water and approach the drake, they’re ready to mate with their desired males.
Biting can be a sign of violence or affection in humans and their fellow waterfowl. But ducks are typically friendly birds whose bites can have the opposite meaning.
When drakes bite the hens, it could be a way of flirting or demonstrating their devotion towards the girls.
Ducks develop stronger connections and affection toward each other when they group themselves. They’re also more likely to be affectionate when they sleep in groups.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ducks and Humans
Here are other common questions regarding ducks and humans that will help you gain insights into how it’s possible waterfowl can get attached to humans.
Do ducks get attached to humans?
Ducks can build bonds with humans like dogs can bond with their owners.
And if the very first large moving object it sees after it hatches is you, it will imprint on you, follow you wherever you go, and bond with you more than its own flock.
How do you gain a duck’s trust?
You can gain a duck’s trust by having its imprint on you and cuddling with it. Treats are also an effective way to a duck’s heart.
Just give it some dried mealworms, tomatoes, lettuce, or kale sliced into tiny pieces to entice it to approach you.
If it’s pretty hesitant, place the treats at a distant place first and throw them closer and closer to you.
Do ducks recognize you?
These highly intelligent creatures may recognize human faces and their voice and sound.
And it’s more likely to happen if you show up more often, feed them, and make sure they imprint on you.
How long does it take for a duck to get attached to you?
Ducks can easily get attached to you during its critical period of imprinting, which falls between 12 to 36 hours after hatching or emerging from the egg.
After 14 days, the imprinting window will end, and it’ll be harder to bond with your duck if it hasn’t been imprinted on you.
Why do ducks chase you?
A duck may chase or attack you if it feels threatened or scared. It’s their defense mechanism, so don’t be surprised when they get a little aggressive toward you.
What does it mean when a duck follows you?
If the duck imprints on you, it’ll follow you wherever you go because it’ll think of you as its mother and leader.
It may also follow you after feeding to get more food and goodies.
How to Tell If a Duck Likes You: Final Recap
We hope this list of signs has answered your question “how to tell if a duck likes you” and will become handy and beneficial for you.
If your duck cuddles with you, quacks and vocalize, nibbles on your feet and toes, bobs its head, and sleeps on your lap, these are the signs he likes you. He’s comfortable enough to initiate showing affection and wants your attention.
And as reiterated earlier, imprinting plays a huge factor in getting a duck to like you.
If you’re not present at this crucial stage of the beginning of their life, you’ll lose the chance of being their favorite all their lives because they may choose their mother or siblings over you.
But don’t think of your duck as a hopeless case if it doesn’t like you and it’s too late for imprinting.
The guide below can help you tame your ducks, establish trust, encourage them to open their heart to you, and be vulnerable with you.