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Do Ducks Smell Bad? How to Keep Ducks from Smelling?

Ducks are intelligent pets and can understand basic commands. They are lovely to have around your farm or house. More often than not, you have wondered why ducks have such a smell and what may be the reason behind this.

Rest assured that our answer will touch upon all your confusion.

Do ducks smell bad? How to keep ducks from smelling?

Ducks do not smell bad or do not have any odor like other poultries. In addition, they rarely get fleas that cause a terrible odor. A duck smelling bad is due to external factors like dirty, stinky habitat where they spend a lot of time. If not cleaned often, your ducks will smell.

Ducks that live in pens or indoors will spend a lot of time pooping, eating, and sleeping in the same place. So, it is natural to get the odor of the stinky place on their body. Naturally, ducks do not smell bad.

Ducks are not the most hygienic animals out there. They do not bother living in a stinky place. But that does not mean that ducks are responsible for their foul smell. How you care for them determines their odor and appearance.

There are many ways to keep ducks from smelling, such as proper ventilation, cleaning their coop, proper diet, giving baths, and many more. The ways will be discussed below.

Do ducks smell bad? How do ducks smell?

Waterfowls do not smell bad naturally. Their terrible odor has a lot of reason behind it. Ducks smell just like they would naturally do. But as they are not picky about living conditions. They live and excrete in the same place. This gives off a quite distinct odor.

Ducks will smell like their living conditions. If their place is poorly accommodated, they will give around bad odor. Also, ducks poop around every half an hour. And if ducks are kept in their pen for a long time, they will stink badly.

A duck coop requires regular maintenance. You have to take care of every minor factor from top to down so ducks do not create a mess. So, if you cannot commit, you should avoid taking ducks as pets.

Why do my ducks smell so bad?

There could be several reasons, from silly to serious ones. Do not worry because we have got you covered. If you do not find any help, it would be best to consult a vet.

Living condition:

99% of the time, a bad living condition causes your ducks to smell bad. Ducks require adequate space to roam around. Small living space is often the reason for your ducks to smell bad.

The reason is, ducks usually defecate every thirty minutes, and they roam around the whole pen. Their feces get mixed up, spread around, and ultimately take up on them.

The damp, shabby place also gives off a distinct odor. Stagnant water in ducks’ pens will contribute to their smelling bad.


Ducks should live in a well-ventilated place. They need adequate space to grow. Overcrowded pens are a hub for spreading bad odor. And given the hygienic practices of ducks, it soon creates a reeking combination.

Their feces get spread around ducks easily as there is no breathing space for them. Add that with no ventilation, and you have headaches for a month.


It might sound absurd, but you are what you eat, and it is no less for ducks. Too much protein will cause their excrements to get smellier. Protein is generally the cause of stinky feces.

However, your ducks need all those proteins during laying eggs. So, do not cut off their protein just for the smell because it is essential for them.


Ducks do not often get fleas or mites like other poultry animals. But if they get the disease, they will give off a foul odor. Monitor your ducks for unusual behavior and consult with a veterinarian if your feel they are sick.

How to keep ducks from smelling?

Keeping ducks from smelling is no rocket science. Follow these simple methods to make your flappy farm animals odorless.

Keeping their place clean:

The main contributing factor to foul smell is a stinky place with stagnant water. As stated, ducks will live and mix with their feces. So, in order to keep that from happening, you can clean ducks’ coop twice every week.

Look for stagnant water. Maintain a proper drainage system, so water does not accumulate in your ducks’ living place. Trapped water spreads odor, and it can get easily on your ducks’ bodies when they trek over it.

Use straws, wood shavings, and hays to cover the flooring. The floors should be as dry as possible. Ducks also need adequate space.

Good ventilation:

Proper ventilation is a must for ducks’ living space. A well-ventilated coop will automatically be less covered with an unpleasant odor.

Their coop should be 3-4 feet tall. Install vents on the top of their coop. Make sure air flows properly through the vents. This way, the natural airflow will take away foul air from their pen. The more ventilation, the better.

A costly solution would be to install a solar-powered vent fan on their coop. It entirely depends on you and is not necessary either.

Masking the smell:

A temporary solution is to spread lime with sawdust around the coop. This masks the awful smell of the ducks’ coop until you finish cleaning it.

Spreading lime with sawdust helps keep the ducks less smelly in the short run. Sawdust generally keeps the floor dry. In the long run, you have to switch to better methods.

Changing diet:

High protein is needed for ducks in their breeding season. Their offspring need nutrition. But this protein contributes to their stinky smell.

You can change the balance between protein and other nutrients in other phases of their life to get less smelly poop. But do not do this when they lay eggs.

Also, do not try to adjust on your own and hinder their growth. Consult a veterinarian before changing their diet.

Giving bath:

Ducks love to swim in puddles and waters. This is also an effective way to clean off the smelly residue on their bodies. For this, you need a small pool or bathtub and flowing water.

Keep the small pool or bathtub beside their coop. When they go out for the sun, they can bathe in the pool and clean themselves. Keep changing the water every day, so the ducks do not wash in dirty water.

If you have a pond nearby, you can also give them a bath in the pond. Make sure the pond is clean. The dirty pond will undo your work.

Cleaning schedule:

Make a cleaning schedule for your poultry. Do not always keep your ducks indoors. Let them go out and enjoy the sun while you take care of their coop. Cleaning once or twice every week is enough if the smell is bad enough.

Are ducks messy pets?

Yes, ducks are messy pets. They poop a lot. Ducks are known to love waters. So, you have to be prepared to have a wet place if you keep ducks as pets.  They are also messy eaters.

One thing to keep in mind is that ducks are social animals. They need to have companions; otherwise, they will get depressed. So, you should never keep only one duck as a pet. Keep 3-4 ducks if you want them to live a happy, social life.

Does raw fresh duck meat smell bad?

No, raw fresh duck meat does not smell bad. It smells just like fresh meat with no decaying odor. Duck meats are generally smelly, so do not confuse their natural smell with rotting odor.

Rotten duck meat will have a putrid odor. To make sure, wash the meat with water and sniff it again. If you find the same rotting smell, it means that your duck meat has gone bad.

Does duck smell bad when cooking? How to get rid of that?

Duck does not smell bad when cooking. Duck meats naturally have a strong smell that people find unpleasant. But there are ways to get rid of their unpleasant odor.

Ginger and white wine:

Crush ginger and add it to white wine. Rub the solution on the surface of the meat duck to eliminate the odor. If you do not have white wine, you can use salt and vinegar or salt and lemon alternatives.

Final thoughts

Ducks brighten up your backyard and add distinct beauty to it. Poultry farming itself is hard enough, and the added consequences make it frustrating. Start working on your ducks from the beginning and look for signs for improvements. Your ducks will be odorless in no time.