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Should I get a few chickens or ducks?? - Page 2

post #11 of 21
😄 ha ha, mission accomplished!

(Phone is acting up- not sure what happened to my previous post.)

Chicken math:  "Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it!" + "If you go looking for trouble you will find it." =  "I got up here, now how do I get down?"


Check out my mini fridge incubator build:


Chicken math:  "Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it!" + "If you go looking for trouble you will find it." =  "I got up here, now how do I get down?"


Check out my mini fridge incubator build:

post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 

Alright yall thank you for the help! I ordered some silver Welsh Harlequin ducklings and they will be here on Friday. I ordered 6 because I'm afraid they will die. Is there anything I do when they come out of the box? Is it like baby chicks where I dip their beaks in water? I'm really nervous that they will die. I am going to keep them in my basement in a very long large plastic tote for a christmas tree with a heat lamp and water and food. I have kept ducklings in the past for a friend who was out of town and two of them died and I do not know why.


They were about a week old when she brought them over and I kept them for two weeks. When I got them two had a twisted neck, and one had a hurt leg and couldn't walk. At the end of the two weeks the hurt leg duck was walking and two of the ducks had died. One of those that died being a duck with a crooked neck. The living crooked neck duck still has a crooked neck. They were pekins and mallards. SOOOooo I am SCARED!! Maybe those ducks were just not healthy?? I don't know. They live with my friend and are fine I guess. Otherwise I have only ever dealt with chicks. Please help me. I am googling and youtube-ing like crazy. I see a lot about chicks but not ducks. 

post #13 of 21

I use this for heat for ducklings. It is a Victor Ultimate Flea Trap. The heat source is just a night light bulb but it is held in under the dome design to make a warm bed for the babies. Ducklings do not need as much heat as chicks so it is important not to overheat their brooder, which can cause death.

I also use washable shelf liner without any absorbant bedding as long as the tub has a channel for spilled water and the ducklings are higher than the water line. The tubs I use are about the same size as yours and I have plastic mats that fit in them so spills and poop go through the shelf liner while the ducklings stay clean and dry.

I hatch and raise hundreds of ducklings a year so I have found out what works without wasting resources on throw away bedding. Having absorbant materials such as shavings can kill ducklings if they ingest them but it also stinks far worse when it gets wet. It seems that the people who complain the most about how messy ducks are give ducklings the means to create a mess.

I feed wet feed but some people feed dry feed and then the ducklings have to either put their feed in the water or put water in their feed in order to wet it themselves. I add water to Purina Flock Raiser crumbles so it is the consistency of thick oatmeal. The ducklings will still clean their bills in their water so I use that water to wet the next batch of feed and give them clean water. The ducklings will get wet feed on themselves when they eat but they clean themselves and I give them baths, more because they love to play in water than to bathe in it. They love showers too and that eliminates the risk of drowning before they produce their own preening oil.

As long as you embrace the concept that ducks love water and they love getting wet, you will enjoy their antics. For people who are used to raising chicks and want to raise ducklings the same way, ducks can seem "messy" but in reality they are far cleaner than chickens (that bathe in dirt instead of water).
Edited by Duck Drover - 4/9/16 at 5:30pm
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 

I have a clip on light, would a 100 watt bulb be good for them for heat? Id usually use 250 watts for the chicks. 

post #15 of 21
The most important consideration about a heat source is to allow the babies to move closer and farther away from it without being too hot in the farthest area or too cold in the closest area. Baby birds venture away from their mothers to eat and then they snuggle under them to warm up and sleep. They can handle temperature extremes for short periods of time but then they need to have the ability to regulate their body heat with proximity to a heat source.

Once the ducklings are too big to fit in the heat traps they will lie next to them or on top of them. When they stop sleeping near them I take them out. I do use lids on my tubs and ventilate them by sliding them more closed or more open to use the ducklings' body heat as well as trapping heat from the night light bulb so as they get older I open the lids more to let out more heat.

Also, ducklings sleep piled together so they use each other for warmth like they would a mother hen. If they are trying to get under the other ducklings they are too cold, they should just rest their heads on each other.
post #16 of 21

Here is a picture of the plastic mat with shelf liner over the top. The idea is to allow the mess to go through while giving the ducklings a comfortable surface to walk on. The tubs are much larger than they appear in this stack but I can carry them from my bird room to the bathtub to clean. I just move the ducklings into a clean tub and then wash out their tub for the next use. I have two shelving units with three tubs each on them. Again, I hatch and raise alot if ducklings so I have invested in reusable materials that are easy to clean with no disposable by-products.

Ducklings grow so fast and they are only dependent on heat for a relatively short time so they are typically only indoors until they feather out (mine go out when their bodies are feathered, before their wing feathers come in, but most of them go to new homes before they are 2 weeks old). Ducks feather out bottom to top (so they can swim) while chicks feather out top to bottom (so they can fly).
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 

that looks like it would work really well. Much better than r- newspapering three times a day. That could be a full time job in itself. 


I have been looking online for a good place to buy duck food and I am not having any darned luck. I went to my local store and they only sell 50 pound bags of duck starter. I only have 6 ducks. That would last me 10 life times. I would like to buy from amazon because they are usually affordable with shipping but I am only seeing chick starter.


I was thinking about it and maybe the baby ducks that babysat had something wrong with them because they were raised on the wrong food. I gave them cut up kale, fine chopped carrots, and peas with unmedicated chick starter and the one with the swollen leg got better but maybe they were missing something because when I got them two had really wonky looking necks. 

post #18 of 21

A 50 pound bag of duck starter will be eaten by 6 ducks no problem.

post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
How long do I feed them starter?
post #20 of 21
I start ducklings on wet Purina Flock Raiser crumble and then when they get older they work up to dry pellets. The Flock Raiser us a complete feed that I feed my Silkies and Orpingtons as well. We go through 50 pounds every other day, lol.

If you feed something else make sure the protein and niacin levels are appropriate for ducks or you will need to add supplements. Our ducks free range and they are great foragers so that helps keep their nutritional needs balanced. The ingredients in Flock Raiser change slightly through the year so at times it is more yellow or more green but at least they are getting some variety without changing the nutrition of the pelleted feed. Dave Holderread mixed his own feed but he told me that Flock Raiser is the best manufactured feed for ducks.
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