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post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
So I have been researching chickens for about a year now. We had wanted ducks as well but everyone talked us out of them saying they were way too messy. We went to pick out our chickens last night at the Tactor Supply Co and my husband fell in love with the ducks. So we bought 3 ducks and 7 chicks. I am a stay at home mom with one daughter and we love animals and have the time and patience to dedicate to them all. Right now they are in a large oval metal horse feed/water thing. There is a heat lamp and a large water device for chickens( but we were told it is also okay for ducks) and a feed device with little circles to eat out of. We bought organic chicken starter and were told that's also okay for ducks. Last night everyone was getting along and today as well. They all huddle together and then roam as well. My husband will be building the coop and run shortly but I would like to keep them inside for at least 10 weeks. Is there any advice or tips you can give me? I would like to offer them fresh greens( spinach or endives) but don't know when it's an appropriate age to do so. Also do you recommend handling them several times a day to form a bond so they are more comfortable with people( chickens & ducks)? Thank you very much!
post #2 of 6
So far ot seems your doing everything righ. Yes ducks, especially ducklings are very messy, the reason is that they use water while they eat and tend to splash it everywhere. You'll probably be cleaning their beding a lot. Also ducklings stop needing heat sooner than chicks, about 2 weeks so if theu get too hot with the chicks you'll have to move them. I personally think that using a ceramic bowl for ducklings water is better since they get food in it while eating, it's judt easier to clean a bowl. Watch the ducklings feet, if they start turing in that means the ducklings need more niacin, chick food usually doesn't have enough of the niacin vitamin that ducklings need so if that hapoens you can put brewers yeast in their food to help it or you could do ot now if you want to prevent it
You should handle them a few times a day, both the chocks and ducklings. You can actually take the ducklings outside to play for an hour or so and sit with them, that's how I bond with mine. I lay in the grass and let them run around me and when they get tired or cold they cone and snuggle. I would give them all dandelion leaves but pretty much any green will do, for the ducklings cut them up really really small and float them in the water and put some on a tray for the chicks.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thank you! It's a little overwhelming. I feel like a new mom again lol. I just want to keep them healthy and happy.
post #4 of 6

Congrats on your ducklings! Sounds like you have a good setup. I have a flock of chickens and ducks, too. The poster above is right about the niacin. I just went to the grocery store and bought niacin in caplets, the kind you can take apart and get to the powder. The ratio they need is 100 mg per gallon of water. Just measure the amount of water in the dish and sprinkle in the correct amount of niacin powder, put the caplet back together to save the rest. Ducks ALWAYS need access to water they can dunk their heads into as they absolutely need to clean out their nostrils/eyes when they eat. 


One thing, make sure the chick starter feed is NOT medicated. That medication will kill ducklings. 


Ducks grow WAY faster than chicks so they will outgrow the heat lamp much sooner and need to be moved out. I just fenced off a portion of my chicken coop to separate them and kept them there for a while. 


As far as swimming, yes they can swim but only supervised until they get a good amount of adult feathers. Without a mother duck to provide her oil on their fluff, they can get waterlogged and drown. 


Ducks are, I would say, about three times as much trouble as chickens but they are a good addition. They eats slugs like crazy and there's nothing more comical than watching them splash around in the kiddie wading pool! 


Good luck with your ducks! 

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

This is my setup and the food I use. Can I use the niacin tablets in the water and let the chickens drink it as well? If not I will need to separate them because they share water. They all seem to get along well so I was hoping to keep them together for as long as possible. We went with a very large container for them so that they had plants of room and area that wasn't as warm. Thank you all for the info. It's very helpful!
post #6 of 6
I haven't heard about bad things happening to chicks that get extra niacin so putting it in their water should be fine.
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