Can Ducks Swim Without Being Taught?
Like all young waterfowl, ducks don’t have to be taught how to swim. A baby duck knows how to swim as soon as it hatches from the egg. The mother duck leads the ducklings to the water as soon as they can travel.
It will take a duckling six or more weeks before learning to fly. During their first few months, the young ducklings live on water insects, grasses and other kinds of plant life.
Ducks have webbed feet, which are designed for swimming. Their webbed feet act like paddles for the ducks. Because their feet are webbed, they tend to ‘waddle’ instead of walking straight.
Ducks cannot feel the cold in their feet even when swimming in icy cold water. The reason for this is because their feet have no nerves or blood vessels in them. The webbed feet are powerful and allow the duck to swim rather fast.
Ducks and most other water birds have a special way to keep dry. They use their bills to spread waterproofing oil over their feathers.
The oil comes from a gland called the ‘Preen Gland’ near their tails.
Without this protective barrier, a ducks feathers would become water-logged. Beneath the water-proof coat are fluffy and soft feathers which keep the duck warm.