Duckling Care






The ducklings have more than doubled in size since we got them. Seriously they are monsters. Thankfully we got them at two weeks old and its been a very warm spring so no lights were needed. First week we had them we kept them in our 3×3 brooder cage. They quickly.were outgrowing it and we had a horrible time keeping it clean. Ducklings are very nasty creatures. Well ducks are too if they are confined. Thank God when they are adults they won’t be.

I got tired of the stench on our front porch and the flies are horrible this time of year. Once a day dumping bedding didn’t seem to help much. First we tried shavings for bedding. Got soggy immediately and could easily have been a breeding ground for the flies to lay eggs. So we tried no bedding and we will just spray out everynight. Made a nasty mess. I think I posted a pic of that day we tried this. Horrible idea. That and the ducklings freaked everytime we moved them. Some would get out and ducklings run a lot faster than you think. Finally we tried wood mulch. Was a tad better result than the shavings but now their poop or spilled food would matt up in places. And not even 24 hrs!!

I had enough. I was tired of the smell and the flies it attracted. These cute but stinky guys were getting off my porch! So I took the top off the brooder cage and rounded up the ducklings and set their pen out in the grass. I was quite pleased with myself until I saw the neighbors dog eyeballing them so I grabbed some tent stakes and staked it down. Haha!

The ducklings were happy. Had their first taste of grass. They were probably tired of all of the moving around and cleaning their bedding daily too. We did this arrangement for a few days, moving their bottomless cage when they soiled the grass too much.

Quickly it came time for a bigger living arrangement. I swear you can watch them grow. This past thurs my daughter took our broken down Chick-n-pen and put it together as best she could with baling wire and finishing nails. The open part that had attached to hutch at one time she tacked on the spring frame to an old baby bed. I knew I saved that for something! She then covered with chicken wire. Cool deal it worked! We carefully carried the southern engineered pen out to the pasture then set the ducklings up in it.

The goats and geese all came to investigate. The goats got discouraged they couldn’t get at the ducks feed so they got bored and went back to grazing. The geese however do not wander far from the ducklings cage. I guess Gray, who had thought for a while he was a goat, now remembers he is a goose. I know why their fasination with the ducklings is, its because the used to try to breed Mama duck when we had her torturing the poor girl and about drowning her in the water trough. Those evil ganders better get that out of their mind or they are gone. Hubby and son can just get over it. These geese need mates!

Here are pics of us moving the duckling cage today. Their patch of grass was horribly soiled. I took a few pics so you could see the before and after. No need to remove ducklings. Just remove waterers, food pans and tent stakes holding it down so a bored goat doesn’t flip it. Then have someone at each end and slowly walk pen only barely off the ground. The ducklings will walk with you and not be stressed about it at all. Then just clean all feeders and waterers and back in the pen. Reapply tent stakes and put back on sheet metal we added for shade.

Please note this is very important for those new to ducklings. Ducklings who are not raised by their parents are not waterproof. Yes they can swim and yes they will float at first but soon become soggy and start to sink because they are not protected by their parents waterproof oil that they apply on the babies while preening. Ducklings start to produce their own oil from a gland on their tail at about a month old. I’ve had young ducklings drown in half an inch of water. But as big as these guys are I still wouldn’t put more than two inches in their splash pan.

They go through a lot of water. They are messy drinkers making a kinda smacking sound. To groom themselves they need a splash pan being very careful with how much water to put in. I use a metal hog pan. I once heard as soon as a ducks tail hits water they poop. I don’t doubt it. Even with a few ducklings you develop a thick sludge in the splash pan quickly.

Never let them run out of water in their waterers especially in hot weather. You will also notice they won’t eat as much if they run out of water. Eating means growth. So always keep them full. And feed them a nonmedicated starter or grower. Ours are older babies so they are on a grower. Do not be tempted to give them lay ration early. It does not carry enough protein for their growing bodies.

Samuel’s ducklings will start to change their feathers soon. Right now they all look alike except for the Crested Rouen but soon we will be able to tell females from males. This second month is gonna be great. Hopefully we have a good ratio of males and females. Just have to wait and see.

I’m sorry I’m not able to caption photos like I was able to when we had a computer. My only internet is my smart phone right now. It works but I wish I could polish it up a bit.

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