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new to the duck/duckling world - Page 3

post #21 of 22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyIsadora View Post

Congratulations on getting ducks! I love them way more than chickens. They are heartier, less prone to sickness & mites. Less damaging on the pasture, yard area.  Easier to build for (no perches or poop boards or dust baths or all the other stuff that goes into chickens. I think they are way cuter and mine lay almost every day---huge eggs ;-)  I hope you grow to love them as much as I do.  
      That said, no one could have prepared me for the poop.  The sheer amount of it, The enthusiasm with which it leaves the body, The smell, the WET of it
   Also I was not prepared for what they do with water.  I believe it is their mission to spread it all over the world, this is why their poop is so watery, My baby ducklings in the brooder would go through gallons of water every day. They dont drink as much as they play.  and it is  A LOT.  I tried so many different waterers and water set-ups to try to cut down or control the splashes and keep the brooder clean and dry, it was hopeless, they went outside in a coop after two weeks.  I built a drainage system set on an expanded metal grate that their water is on in their outside pen.  This worked for me, many people choose not to put food and water in their coops at all (letting them outside to eat all day)   You probably already know that you cannot offer food to ducks without water EVER. They need water with food.
     I know some people put pools in their duck coops, One or two did so very sucessfully.  They have very big coops and an expensive drainage and filtration system.   I would never do it nor would I recommend it.  Hard to clean (and it must be done often)  more chance of drowning problems (think toddlers around a pool unsupervised) freezing in the winter, all around MESSY MESSY MESSY.  
     You can put them in the water early as you like.  mine took sink or bathtub swims in the first week of life.  They were swimming, supervised, for short periods of time, several times a day, by the time they were a week old.  You really need to watch them closely for chilling even after they are well feathered out.  I had one incident where the dogs had knocked over the ramp for them to get out and they got so chilled I thought I was going to loose a few.   That said, it is very important they can easily get in and out of any water they are exposed to.  I do have a huge pond for my babies in the opposite corner of the yard, they love it and I built shelves into it so they can get in and out easily, as well as any littles that may come along some year.  Sometimes they just like to hang out on the shelf instead of swimming.  

      Some of the best advice I got when I first got ducks it to add Raw, organic Apple cider Vinegar to their water. This builds their immune system, builds the good bacteria in their gut, helps them process the vitamins in their food more efficiently just so much benefit.   I added 1 or 2 tablespoons per gallon of water. And they love the taste. 
     I also fed mine fermented feed which does basically the same thing.  There are some great (really long) threads on this forum about fermented feed. 
Second best was adding nutritional yeast to their feed.  I had a few ducklings I am certain this saved.  

   The only duckling I ever lost was one in the first set of ducks I got.  Im sure it was due to the brooder being too hot.  I think I cooked the poor guy.  I learned not to follow recommendations after that, I follow the duck behavior. A bit cool is better than too hot. 
   
     Personally I suggest getting 3 or 4 ducks ;-)  they will be happier and still quite managable. 
Thank you so much for all the advice .... I do have a few questions, when is it okay to put water in the brooder for them to swim in if anytime is good ? Mine will most likely be inside for 4 wks. As it still gets extremely cold near me still at night ? Also, I would love any suggestions on a good waterer? I have read and seen people half gallon containers with a small hole cut in them snouts for them to stick their head in or maybe a chicken waterer ? I don't want them to drown but I want them to have enough when they are eating ? Thank you again so much

stay at home mom to a 5 yr old and a 9 yr old!!  stay at home mom -part time student

1- american pitbull, 1- staffordshire bull terrier, chicken owner and lover

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stay at home mom to a 5 yr old and a 9 yr old!!  stay at home mom -part time student

1- american pitbull, 1- staffordshire bull terrier, chicken owner and lover

Reply
post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnr1530 View Post


Thank you so much for all the advice .... I do have a few questions, when is it okay to put water in the brooder for them to swim in if anytime is good ? Mine will most likely be inside for 4 wks. As it still gets extremely cold near me still at night ? Also, I would love any suggestions on a good waterer? I have read and seen people half gallon containers with a small hole cut in them snouts for them to stick their head in or maybe a chicken waterer ? I don't want them to drown but I want them to have enough when they are eating ? Thank you again so much

     I would suggest they do not have free unsupervised access to swimming water before they are fully feathered.  There are just too many bad things that can happen.  I am speaking both from a terribly over-protective duck mama place as well as some experience. I personally would not put swimming water in the brooder or coop. Your mileage may vary. 

     On the subject of good waterers, that changed a lot with their growth as well as the weather.  I used a gallon size chicken waterer, with a tray too small for them to climb into for a while, that worked well, though I had to refill it often, ducks love to splash water out. I had a dozen ducklings so I bought another.   then their bills got bigger so I moved to gallon containers with the hole cut in it, that did not work as well for me so I bought a bigger chicken waterer (2 actually) that I could plug in to heat the water for the winter but never used it when winter hit. All summer long I had small gallon buckets around the yard so they were never further than 15 feet from a bucket of fresh water they could drink and play in.  They got used to drinking from the bucket and not climbing in it (i heard from one byc'er that they used bigger buckets and the duck got in it, couldn't get back out and drown. So I stuck with smaller buckets and the ducks were pretty big by then.  Winter came and they were large adults so I bought a 2 gallon (i think) bucket with a heater in it for winter.  

    In short, your needs will change.  

edited to add: they do need water to dunk their heads in and clean out their nares.  The tray waterers were deep enough to keep their nares clear and that is one reason for the buckets outside during the day. 


Edited by LadyIsadora - 2/23/16 at 5:24pm
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