So, I have two Pekin ducklings around 5-6 days old. This is my first time owning ducks, so obviously I don't know much.
They are currently living in an old guinea pig cage inside my house (yes, I cleaned the cage) and I am using a puppy pad underneath paper bedding. In order to try to keep them dry from the HUGE messes they make, I give them new bedding in the morning, as well as at night. I am feeling them non-medicated chick starter mash and their water is half fresh water, half electrolyte/probiotic mix. Whenever I need to fill their food or water, which is often, I clean everything out.They sneeze on occasion but have no discharge. They also have a container deep enough to stick their heads in to clean their nares and eyes, this it is too small for them to get in it. Their poop is normal and I swear they are both growing by the second. I turn away for a minute in their bigger. It's insane. I take them outside for about an hour every day when it is warm (90-95 degrees) to let them run around and just be ducks. Today when I took them outside, they had a blast running after flies and napping in the sun. They have an infrared heating lamp, but this is where it gets tricky.
While Arnold shows no indication of overheating and is perfectly happy basking in the light, Felix seems to overheat VERY easily. Felix will start breathing rapidly and start panting mildly. When I see this, I move the cage away from the lamp and put Felix's feet and legs in some water to cool him down, that seems to do the trick. Today Felix scared me half to dead because this got so bad. He/she does not have any wheezing or clicking when they breathe, but Felix seems to have irregular breathing habits. While Arnold takes consistent, paced breaths, Felix will go from breathing at a good pace to breathing faster. Of course, I could be overthinking all of this, but still, it makes me worried. Despite the odd breathing, Felix is perfectly healthy and is actually the bigger of the two by a landslide although they are the sam age. They are both eating and drinking like they normally do.I currently have the cage about two feet away from the lamp, but the lamp is pointing in their direction.
Does anyone know what could be causing Felix's rapid breathing and sensitivity to heat and how to fix this? I want to make sure they are warm, but I dont want to roast them. Also, the both of them stick out one leg out behind them and it seems like they are streching, is this normal? Any feedback, advice, or suggestions about raising ducklings would be deeply appreciated, as I love these ducks so much and they have quickly become my whole world. They have both imprinted on my and follow my around when we are outside. Arnold and Felix bring me so much joy and all I really want to do is make sure I am giving them the best care I possibly can. Thank you so much for reading all of those and I hope I get to read your replies soon!