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My first chicks! And some... ducks? Have some questions!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hey guys!

 

 

 

 

Well-- I thought I would be walking away with ducks yesterday. But after nearly crying at how much I wanted to raise chickens, I ended up take home 3 unsexed bantams, 2 unsexed buff orpingtons, and 1 sweet little isa brown pullet. Needless to say, my chore list just doubled. I have always wanted to make sure I have THE PERFECT HOME EVER before I went and purchased these beloved little babies, but instead I dove in head first--- and I am so happy I did. Can't wait to build a nice huge coop this week, and I have so many plans now-- but first--- I have some little babies to deal with! I know only what I've spent years reading in books--- But as I've found out very quickly, textbook knowledge is sometimes weak!

 

I have some questions for the experts! (YOU GUYS!) Here we go...

 

 

1. I only bought one brooder! I was sure I wouldn't break down and get them chickens-- I am such a happy fool. So far though, the ducks seem to be getting along okay with the chickens. The smallest are of course the bantams--- I worry the most about them. They seem just fine right now though! They even boss the ducks around a bit. Should they be alright together until they start growing? Will anyone curse me for keeping them together? Any insight on this would be great!

 

2. I am trying to find methods to really bond with them so they don't run from me when they grow up. I want to make sure culling with both is an easy, fast, and stressless task (for me, and the animal)... I talk to them alot when I feed them, and sometimes just put my hand in the cage without trying to pick them up. However, they still seemed VERY spooked because of the Tractor Supply I bought them from. Do you all have any tips for befriending your babies? I want to make sure I don't bother them too much--- but I also am concerned about socializing them.

 

 

3. I heard that pullets scratch at food more when they are young. Is this true? I'm having so much fun trying to decide what sex the chicks are.

 

 

Thanks so much guys!


Edited by Coyox - 4/18/16 at 8:40am
post #2 of 7

So glad you're enjoying your quackers and squawkers! 

For #2: The best way to befriend them and make them docile is to hold and pet them often. Not for long, since they'd be out of the warm brooder, but once a day for a minute or two each. 

#1: The problem with housing ducks and chickens together is that ducks will eventually discover their love of water and play and splash around in the water dish. This is bad for the chicks because wet chicks could mean death. I believe there are a few more cons to consider, but that's the only one I can think of right now. 

I don't quite understand your #3...

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SJanay View Post
 

So glad you're enjoying your quackers and squawkers! 

For #2: The best way to befriend them and make them docile is to hold and pet them often. Not for long, since they'd be out of the warm brooder, but once a day for a minute or two each. 

#1: The problem with housing ducks and chickens together is that ducks will eventually discover their love of water and play and splash around in the water dish. This is bad for the chicks because wet chicks could mean death. I believe there are a few more cons to consider, but that's the only one I can think of right now. 

I don't quite understand your #3...

Hey thanks!

 

Alright--- hmm! I will definitely consider the ducks playing. Once they get a couple weeks older it will be much easier to separate them. I'll be sure to keep a close eye on what happens. I have a pretty small water feeder--- but considering how many times a day that water gets dirty and how much I have to replace and clean it--- I can totally see the destructive duckies getting in there and making too much wet.

 

 

As for #3---- Ah, sorry! One of my friends saw one of the bantams in the food bowl, scratching around in the food for about 30 minutes, running her toes through the feed. She said it might have something to do with gender, but wasn't certain. :)

post #4 of 7

Oh I understand now. I hadn't heard that before, so I'm not sure! 

post #5 of 7

1 - you can house them together, but figure out the water now. Ducks will make a mess with the water and soak everything. Chicks aren't a fan of soaked stuff. Be aware that one or other could start picking on each other - at that point, you will need to be able to separate them. But they could all be fine and remain fine with each other.

 

2 - spend time with them. Lots of people bring babies out and watch TV with them in the evenings. Just put a towel under them... Since you have a bunch, rotate them so you hang with a few at a time.

My chicks will spend a couple of hours curled up with me watching tv at night. If they get cold, they just cuddle up in my hand for warmth. With my ducks, I used to let them run around my bathroom (was cooler than it was outside when I was brooding them) for an hour or so and go for a swim in the tub. I just sat down on the floor with them. They also would sit with me and watch TV.

Spend time with them in their brooder - at their level if you can. I raise my brooder up so if I'm just sitting there, I'm not hovering over them like a giant.

The more time you spend with them the more likely they are to be friendly.

 

3 - chicks make a mess of their food (ducks make a mess of their water). If they can stand in their food, they will and they will scratch the living daylights out of their food. I figure they kick it out of the bowl, they can just eat it from where they kicked it to. I don't refill just because they made a mess... unless they also pooped all over it.

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TLWR View Post
 

1 - you can house them together, but figure out the water now. Ducks will make a mess with the water and soak everything. Chicks aren't a fan of soaked stuff. Be aware that one or other could start picking on each other - at that point, you will need to be able to separate them. But they could all be fine and remain fine with each other.

 

2 - spend time with them. Lots of people bring babies out and watch TV with them in the evenings. Just put a towel under them... Since you have a bunch, rotate them so you hang with a few at a time.

My chicks will spend a couple of hours curled up with me watching tv at night. If they get cold, they just cuddle up in my hand for warmth. With my ducks, I used to let them run around my bathroom (was cooler than it was outside when I was brooding them) for an hour or so and go for a swim in the tub. I just sat down on the floor with them. They also would sit with me and watch TV.

Spend time with them in their brooder - at their level if you can. I raise my brooder up so if I'm just sitting there, I'm not hovering over them like a giant.

The more time you spend with them the more likely they are to be friendly.

 

3 - chicks make a mess of their food (ducks make a mess of their water). If they can stand in their food, they will and they will scratch the living daylights out of their food. I figure they kick it out of the bowl, they can just eat it from where they kicked it to. I don't refill just because they made a mess... unless they also pooped all over it.

 

 

This is great advice!

 

I love your answers to 2 and this gets me very excited. Do you think under a week is too young for that? I'm afraid of stressing them out or taking them away from their heatlamp. I LOVE the idea to let my ducks take a swim in the bathtub-- but again, should I wait until they are a bit older? When I picked them up from the store, they were covered in sugar water. I tried bathing them, but they seemed really upset and cold.... hmm... Maybe you have some tips?

 

At any rate, thanks a load! This is great.

post #7 of 7

Ducklings and Chicks do not spend 24/7 under mom. She's a heat source to run back to when they need to warm up. They are out and about exploring a lot. It is not an issue to handle or get little ones outside. Just watch them and when they start to chill, back to their heat they go.

To be easier for ducks, swim water for the first couple of weeks should be warmish - they aren't very waterproof yet - swims will help that along, but since they are wet, you need to be cautious with swim time so they don't get too cold. Warmer water then dry them off and back to the brooder so they can preen and warm up is a safe way to go. They aren't swimming in my hot tub or anything, but I do use a least luke warm water for the first couple of weeks.

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