Do Ducks Need Water at Night?

As a duck owner, you want to always keep your ducks happy and healthy. 

Part of this is providing enough clean water, but do your ducks need it at night?

Key Takeaway:

Adult ducks sleep at night and can go 8 hours without water, so you do not need to have water available to them overnight. However, if you have young ducklings, you will need to provide small amounts of water for them.

Read on to learn why ducks need a lot of water, how long they can go without it, and if they need it overnight. 

We’ll also discuss how the water needs of adult ducks and ducklings differ.

do ducks need water at night

Why Do Ducks Need Water?

Like all animals, birds need water to live. 

Water is essential for all metabolic and growth processes. 

However, ducks need water for more than just drinking.

Ducks don’t clean themselves the same way humans do, but they have developed a different way of washing their faces. 

Ducks submerge their whole heads to clean their nostrils, eyes, and tear ducts.

Ducks risk developing eye and sinus infections without access to a deep enough water source.

The third reason ducks need water is less about health and happiness. 

Most duck breeds are naturally drawn to the water and will become unhappy without water to play in.

How Much Do They Need?

Because ducks use water for more than just drinking, they need access to lots of water.

One duck requires a little over a quart or 1 liter of water daily. 

Multiply by how many ducks you have to figure out how much clean drinking water you need to provide.

It’s best to keep the drinking water and play water separately. 

Ducks are messy, and keeping a single water source clean is impossible.

Use a kiddie pool or similar water holder to create an artificial pond for your feathered friends to swim in, play in, and dunk their heads in. 

It has to be deep enough for them to completely dunk their heads in the water.

Do Ducks Need Water Overnight?

Now we’ve established how much water ducks need and why. 

The next question is how often they need water. 

Do they need constant access, or can you take the water dishes out of the coop at night?

Ducks are messy when it comes to water. 

They will knock bedding, feathers, and dirt into the water. 

They’ll also splash it everywhere, leading to wet straw bedding and a higher risk of bacterial growth. 

Mold growth is especially dangerous.

Luckily, adult ducks do not need access to water at night.

Related Reading: Where do ducks sleep at night?

Adult Ducks

It’s best for adult ducks to have constant access to drinking water, but they can go 8 hours without water. 

This means they will be fine without water overnight. 

Also, domesticated ducks sleep at night in their coop, so they won’t spend much time looking for water anyway.

If you choose not to provide water at night, make sure your ducks have enough access to water throughout the day. 

It’s easiest to check their water levels when you feed them. 

Refill any empty water containers and switch out dirty water for clean water.


Unlike adult ducks, ducklings can’t go without water at any time. 

For the first 4 to 6 weeks, ducklings need constant access to food and water.

Ducklings should be kept under a heat lamp in their brooder, which will also keep them from following the day and night sleeping schedule of adult ducks. 

Because of this, they will want to eat at night as well.

Luckily, the ducklings will eat and drink whenever their body tells them to. 

They’ll sleep when they’re tired, too. Ducklings can only eat a little at a time, so they must eat often. 

Whenever they eat, they also need water available.

Fresh water should be provided often, but deep water is a drowning hazard. 

Note how long it takes for the ducklings to drink the water. 

Plan accordingly to make sure they have enough water overnight.

How to Provide Water for Ducks

As we discussed earlier, ducks require a lot of water and are also pretty messy. 

It’s important to keep the water as clean as possible. 

Dirty water encourages the growth of bacteria, which will make your ducks sick.

To keep the drinking water clean, it’s best to provide two or more water containers.

The playing water must be deep enough for the ducks to fully submerge their heads. 

A kiddie pool is perfect, but any large enough container will do the trick.

Use a waterer to prevent your ducks from splashing around in it for drinking water. 

Waterers are available at many pet stores, but it is also easy enough to make one yourself. 

A simple dish also works, but it has to be too shallow for the ducks to dunk their heads in.

When it comes to ducklings in your brooder, use a small waterer. 

A large one will have too high of sides for small ducklings. 

A one-gallon waterer is a good place to start, then move up to larger waterers as they grow.

Another option is to add more waterers of the same size. 

This is pricey if you buy them, but not if you make them yourself.

Making a DIY Waterer

Depending on your comfort and skill level with DIY projects, there are different ways to make a DIY waterer for your ducks.

One of the easiest options is to take a large pail, typically 5 gallons, and cut three holes around the sides. 

Make the holes be at the height of your ducks. 

Sand the edges of the hole to prevent your ducks from getting scratched by them.

Then you simply fill the pail with water up to the holes. 

Your ducks will use the holes to stick their heads in, but they won’t be able to jump in the water and get as dirty.

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Growing up amidst the sprawling farms of the South, Wesley developed a profound connection with farm animals from a young age. His childhood experiences instilled in him a deep respect for sustainable and humane farming practices. Today, through, Wesley shares his rich knowledge, aiming to inspire and educate others about the joys and intricacies of rural life.

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