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Very new to ducks...

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hello, we are very new to raising ducklings and have been reading some advice from you all on this forum. I have a couple questions I was hoping to get answered.
1. On average, how old are ducklings sold at commercial stores like TSC or CAL Ranch? I've read that they don't produce waterproofing oils until they are a little older, but ours look like they are waterproof.
2. I've read some things about what the temperature of their environment should be, and try to maintain about 90*, but our ducklings seem to move around a lot away from the heat source. How critical is it to maintain a certain temperature?
post #2 of 6

I don't know what age they are sold at stores as I don't buy ducklings from farming stores. They start making oil when they feather out which is around 5 to 6 weeks. The only time I make the temp a set/measured temp is when I'm hatching eggs, when I'm brooding them I watch their behavior and change the heat according to it. They stop needing heat around two weeks of age, if the ducklings are staying as far from the heat as they can you should reduce it.

post #3 of 6

@ConradMcKlusky , welcome!

 

They probably arrive at stores a day or two old, and sometimes are there for a few weeks.

 

If you have a kitchen scale you might be able to get a weight on them and some of our more numeric-minded experienced duck folk can help you figure out their age.  A photo would also help.

 

90F is only for the first week.  The temperature needs to be lowered by 5 degrees F per week.  So at three weeks, 90 minus 15 is 75 degrees.  And that's a ballpark.  But it worked very well for us and the Runners.

 

So the exact number is not critical, per se, but if it calculates out to 75F, then no lower than 70, in my opinion, and 80 might be too warm.  Having room in the brooder for them to move away from the heat is good.  With our eleven, I found that some of them want it warmer, some want it cooler.

 

Giving them time in water up to the tops of their legs, and the same temperature as the brooder was helpful for us.  I read an academic paper that reported that giving ducklings time in the water (supervised at all times, and not for too long) initiates preening behavior, that helps them get their oil glands going sooner than if they don't have time in the water.

Please PM me, or use @Amiga in the message if you would like to hear from me soon.  

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Please PM me, or use @Amiga in the message if you would like to hear from me soon.  

Reply
post #4 of 6
We just got ours at tsc this week. We live between about 4 TSCs so I called each one and asked about their ducks. 3 said they get ducks weekly and they are day or two old and they rarly have one more then a week old.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys! I really appreciate your advice.
post #6 of 6
From a feed store they will be one to three days old upon arrival. For temp I've given up tracking it. I just use a 75 watt (actually 53 Watts) conventional bulb. For young ones it starts about one foot from the floor. If they need more they will huddle directly under the light. If they need less they will huddle away from it. As they grow I raise the light higher and offset the angle more.
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