Ducks Guide

Why Do Ducks Dig Holes? Is It Bad?

Animals dig holes for many reasons. Some will dig holes for shelter, while other dig holes looking for some tasty insects to eat. As for ducks, do they dig holes and why do they do it?

Why do ducks dig holes? It’s natural for ducks to dig holes. They do this for different reasons which include foraging, bathing, swimming, protect eggs, and drinking.

In this short article, we’ll go through each reason and a detailed answer to it.

5 Reasons Ducks Dig Holes


When foraging for food, the ducks will dig many holes around the yard. They are searching for bugs, grubs, earthworms, and any other small insects that live in the soil.

Ducks will usually forage for food in soft, wet, or muddy soil. These soils are easy for the ducks to push through with their bills.

As the hole is dug, water will begin to fill up with water. This will force the bugs and insects to surface where the ducks can eat them.

If you have a garden, ducks love to dig in and around it. Bugs tend to be around places where there’s a lot of vegetation. The ducks know this and will forage for food.

When foraging for foods, due to the soft ground, they tend to leave small holes. The holes are usually not visible until the ground is dried.

While the holes don’t damage the garden in anyways, they could leave the garden looking messy.


If there is no pond around them, they may start digging holes used as a bath. They’ll dig a hole that’s big enough to fit themselves in.

On the other hand, if there is a pond near them, they may start to dig to keep themselves clean. When foraging for food, mites, and other pests may get into their feathers.

By digging a hole, they’ll use the dirt to remove pests from their body.


One of the things that ducks love most is a pond. They need a pond to be able to swim around. Ducks that do not have access to a pond will start creating one.

These waterfowl will find the most suitable place for making a pond. This will usually be around the garden, near the sewage system, or around the garden hose. As they dig the soil, water will collect in the hole.

When ducks create a pond, they will make the side slanted. This will make it easier for them to enter and leave the pond.

If they are trying to build a pond around the garden, their digging may affect it. As they are digging the hole, they will sometimes try to kill the grass and other vegetation around it.

For that reason, always have a pond or an area designated just for the ducks to swim in.

Protect Eggs

When it comes to duck eggs, they are very nutritious and tasty. This makes the eggs a favorite food among other animals. Foxes, raccoons, snakes, and even rats prey on duck eggs.

For that reason, ducks will dig holes to protect their eggs from predators. Even if you have a nest prepared for them, they may choose to lay their eggs in the hole.

After the ducks have laid all the eggs, they will cover them with several inches of bedding. This can be hay, leaves, and straw.

If you see your ducks doing this, there’s nothing to worry about. It’s perfectly normal for them to do that.


Ducks are very smart creatures. If they sense there is not a lot of water available, they will start digging holes. By creating holes, it provides them as sources of drinking water.

They will look for soft, moist, and muddy soil to dig the hole. This will give them the best chance of the hole filling up with water.

While muddy water won’t hurt the ducks, you should always try to give them clean water. Providing fresh water will be better for the duck’s health. Also, it will prevent the number of holes the ducks will dig.

Can Digging Holes By Ducks Harm The Garden?

The holes created in the garden by ducks are not harmful. However, they could keep creating holes until they become larger or create too many small holes. This could cause you to trip or fall as you’re walking through the garden.

Another way digging holes affect the garden is that it attracts insects. When you have a lot of plants in the garden, insects tend to be attracted to it. If there’s a hole in the ground, insects will try to make a home out of it. These holes are a perfect place for the insects to hide and be close to their food source.

Holes created in the garden are not all bad. If you have a lot of insects and other pests in the garden, letting the ducks forage will help keep pests under control.

Ducks will dig holes looking for grubs, earthworms, and bugs. Just make sure to not let them get too close to the plants or they’ll damage them.

How to Stop Ducks From Digging Holes In The Garden

If you don’t want the ducks to dig holes in the garden, there are different things you can do.

Below are some of the things you can do:

Build a Fence Around The Garden

Building a fence around the garden is a surefire way to stop ducks from foraging in the garden. Not being able to get into the garden, they will find other places to forage for food.

Increase Their Diet

When ducks don’t have much to eat, they will start to look for different places to forage for food. By providing them with plenty of food, they will have no need to go into the garden.

Ducks have a very large appetite so it’s a good idea to have food for them at all times.

Provide Them With A Pond

If you’re unable to provide access for the ducks to a pond, you can make one out of a tub or use a kiddie pool.

As long as the ducks have a place to swim and clean themselves, they have no need to go into the garden and dig holes.


If you see your ducks digging up soil, there’s nothing to worry about. Digging is something that’s part of their life. Sometimes, they may dig too much that it could cause a problem. If that’s the case, follow some of the tips above to prevent ducks from digging.

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