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WHAT IS A DUCK?

Ducks are birds. They are also called "waterfowls" because they are normally found in places with water like ponds, streams and rivers. They are related to geese and swans. The duck is the smallest of them all. Ducks also have shorter necks and wings and a stout body. They can live from 2-12 years, depending on species.


Ducks have webbed feet, designed for swimming. Their webbed feet act like paddles for the ducks. A duck waddles instead of walk because of its webbed feet. Do you know that the duck's feet cannot feel cold even if it swims in icy cold water ? Well, the reason for this is because its feet has no nerves or blood vessels.













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Another special thing that the duck has is its water-proof feathers. There is a special gland that produces oil near the duck's tail which spreads and covers the outer coat of the duck's feathers, making it water-proof. Beneath the water-proof coat are fluffy and soft feathers to keep the duck warm.

Ducks keep clean by preening themselves. They do this by putting their heads in funny positions and putting their beaks into their body. They preen themselves very often.

Ducks give out a special sound. Listen to the sound of ducks quacking here. However, not all ducks quack. The Wood Duck does not quack, it gives out a "squeal" instead.

Ducks were once wild until they were domesticated by the Chinese many hundreds of years ago. There are still many different species of wild ducks. Most of the farm ducks are of a species called "Pekin". It is harder to tell a male from a female with the Pekin ducks because they look almost the same. The male has two to three curly feathers on top. Pekin ducks have white or cream colored feathers and orange colored bills. They do not fly and do well in captivity. They are also excellent for egg and meat production. The Pekin duck orginated from China and is the most popular breed in the United States.

Ducks usually look for a mate or partner in winter. The males will attract the females with their colorful plumage or feathers. The females will then lead the males to their breeding ground in spring. The breeding ground will usually be the place where she was hatched. The female builds her nest with grass or reeds or even in a hole in a tree. The male will guard their territory by chasing away other couples. Once the female lays 5-12 eggs, she will start to sit on her eggs to keep it warm so that they can hatch into ducklings. The males on the other hand, will be with the other males. The eggs will hatch within 28 days normally.


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