Ducks are strange creatures, but duck dibbling must be one of their strangest behaviours!
Dibbling is basically duck slurping. Ducks love drinking water, and when water is dropped from their bills or splashed from the water container the duck will search for it and try and drink that drop of water. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? I’ll try and post a video of it happening at some stage.
Even when there’s plenty more water in the container, the duck will beginning dibbling away and try and drink that drop of water that’s been flung from the container. If the water has hit the ground it’s already soaked into the soil – but that doesn’t stop the duck!
To get to that drop of water, the duck will penetrate the ground with its beak. Doing so, the duck’s dibbling causes holes in the ground at the base of the water container (and also makes the duck’s beak very muddy and dirty).
These holes don’t sound like a big deal, but it can destabilise water containers leading to them falling over and emptying. To prevent this from happening, I put the water drinker on pavers.
The dirty duck beaks go back into the water drinker and muddy the remaining water, which doesn’t seem to bother the ducks. Unfortunately dirty water can clog the water container and limit the water flow coming out leaving the ducks thirsty.
To combat this issue there are a range of suggestions made online, but I’ve decided to just limit downside (muddy water) rather than restrict this behaviour. I just change and clean out the water more frequently than I would need to otherwise. At this stage, my labour costs aren’t a big deal.
There are many other options that have been used by others keeping ducks, but my preference (at least at this stage) is to give them as much freedom as possible. It’s just another issue to manage when looking after these wonderful creatures!