Do ducks eat mice and rats? Other rodents?

If you have started a new farm or homestead and found yourself having to deal with some rodent-related issues, you’re not alone. Animals require food, and when there is food available, rodents start to appear. Nobody wants to have a mouse or rat problem, so you might have already started to look up ways to fix this issue. 

Ducks can eat small mice and rats on occasion. Generally speaking ducks don’t hunt rats and mice as they are not part of ducks’ diet. Ducks can kill even bigger rats but they won’t necessarily eat them. Muscovy ducks look for and hunt mice and rats as they are part of their diet.

Rats and mice are not part of ducks’ diet. They don’t go searching for them. They typically eat grains, aquatic plants, and water-based animals. That being said, they can and will hunt down mice that invade their territory and space.

If you want to find out whether rats and mice (or other rodents) are dangerous for ducks and what you can do to keep them away from your flock, read on!

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Are rats dangerous for Ducks?

Are rats a danger for the ducks? Rats and mice aren’t a direct danger for fully grown ducks as they can kill those rodents. Nonetheless having rats and mice around your egg layer ducks is a danger, as they can steal and eat duck eggs. 

If you have your flock near an urban area, not only rat bites but also the droppings and urine can be a danger as those might carry all kinds of diseases and pathogens.

Ducklings are too small to take on rodents by themselves. So make sure that there is no way they can get close to your ducklings. 

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A rat that is big enough can take away a baby duckling. In some cases rats might attack multiple ducklings. 

If you keep ducklings in a coop or you have the brooder outside, make sure that the ducklings are properly protected to avoid possible attacks from rats. 

Which duck breeds are more likely to eat rats and mice?

Specifically, Muscovy ducks are listed as a more aggressive and efficient breed when it comes to hunting down mice and rats. 

This breed thrives on hunting and chasing down its food sources. Most ducks will stick to eating grains and plants while occasionally eating animals. Muscovy ducks actively have creatures like mice, rats, lizards, and snakes as part of their diets. 

So, if you are looking for a duck breed that will do the best job at tackling a rodent problem, the Muscovy ducks might be a good bet. 

How do you get rid of rats and mice?

Having any kind of rodent problem is hard to deal with. 

If you clean it regularly rats will not show up as they are attracted to droppings and food.

If you don’t have to deal with this problem and you are looking for the best prevention then the best way to prevent rats from showing up is to make sure that you keep the coop clean and you store the feed properly.

If you already have this problem then you know that having a colony of rats can cause you serious headaches. 

If you want to rid yourself of rats there is really one way to exterminate the whole colony: poison them. Rat poison might be a bit slow at times but very efficient. 

Obviously, you need to make sure first that the coop is kept clean and the feed is stored properly. Then place the poison in a box or a place where only the rats can access and none of your ducks.

It is likely that you will have to use multiple poisons as rats are pretty smart and after a while they will not eat the same type of poison anymore as they are able to learn. This is when you will have to change to another type and maybe to a third type of poison.

It takes a long time for most rat poisons to have an effect, for some it takes even several weeks.

Ridding your ducks from rats can take a lot of time and determination.

Minks weasels and martens are a danger for ducks

Mice and rats are hard enough to deal with on their own, but unfortunately, there are other bigger and more problematic critters that at first appear to be rodents but are not. Minks, weasels, and martens are Mustelids and are Carnivores.   

The bad news is that these larger critters are typically predators to ducks. Even though Mustalides are smaller in size than larger predators like Coyotes and Raccoons they can easily kill ducks.

What makes it harder to defend the ducks from them is that because they are super small and sneaky and they can fit into small holes and cracks (size of a quarter) and thus it is harder to defend against them.

Mustelids like weasels and minks are so vicious that they have been known to take out entire flocks in a single night. The good news is that unlike rats and mice they won’t reproduce as fast and as close to the coop as mice and rats.

If you want to prevent the eggs from being stolen by rats or your ducks from being killed by Minks and Weasels there are certain measures you can take to defend your flock.

You can’t stand guard at your coop every hour of the day. There are some precautions that you can take to better protect your flock against these pests.

  1.  The first way to defend against these predators is by building a duck house that has a protected structure. Make sure there are no extra entry points and use locks on the door that are not easy for animals to access. Cover the structure with a metal mesh if possible on all sides so that no rats or any minks or any other predators can enter the coop. 
  1. Another way to defend against these pests is to raise the duck house about 2-2.5 feet off the ground. This won’t prevent every attack, but it will be much harder for all predators to enter their house. 
  1. The third option is to train a guard dog (or cat) to protect your ducks from outside danger. You want to make sure you choose the right breed for the job, some dogs are made for hunting and may end up attacking your ducks out of pure instinct.
  1. Introducing guard geese can also away minks, martens, and weasels. They will defend your flfloch against these predators  

Final thoughts

Overall, rodents are a huge nuisance for anyone that has to deal with them, but they are a pretty common part of farm life. Just know that there are plenty of ways that you can take care of this problem if it gets out of hand. 

Ducks are fairly easy to take care of and they can help to keep the rat and mouse population down. If the rodent issue you’re dealing with is bigger than mice and rats, consider trying any of the three options mentioned above. 

Hopefully, you now feel a little more informed about any decisions you might make regarding ducks and their ability to defend your homestead against members of the rodent family.


Sam is an outdoor enthusiast, who loves spending time in the garden and learning about animals. His motivating forces are his wife and 5 beautiful children. When he doesn't get it right, he will go and try again!

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