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When to take away the heat lamp/move ducks outside?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Now before you guys say anything, I know it's still a little too early to do this, but i thought I would ask anyways. My Rouens are around 2 weeks old now and are getting VERY messy. They have been outside and been swimming plenty of times already and they LOVE it!! I am building my pen this weekend that will include a fenced in area for them with plenty of space, and we are also converting part of my wood shed into a little coop for them. I live in Minnesota, so it can be chilly, but in the summer daytime temps are actually not bad on a nice day (75-80 degrees) and (low 50-60s at night) If I were to move them outside next week (which I have heard of people moving 3 wk. ducks outside) the heat lamp would most likely be available to them at night. Now I was just wondering when I can move my duckies outside and/or take away the heat lamp?

Thanks,
Katie.

2 Rouens - Jack and Sam.
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2 Rouens - Jack and Sam.
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post #2 of 5

I live in northern MN and I moved my ducks outside at 4 weeks. This was back in May when we had that nice warm week. As long as it stays in the 50s at night I keep the light off out there.

You think they are messy now.....give them 2 more weeks, LOL. I couldnt take it.

post #3 of 5

Hi, Katie,

the rule of thumb - and there is some wiggle room here if you are paying close attention to the ducklings - is 90F the first week, dropping about 5 degrees a week until the outdoor temperature goes no lower than their optimal temperature, until they are fully feathered and acclimated to outdoor living.

Ducklings surprise some people with their behaviors especially with water and feed.  If you find the way to manage their water, many concerns become less of an issue until the time is right for them to be outdoors.

Some people put ducklings outdoors at just a few weeks old in chilly climates.  And many times, the ducklings survive.  It all depends on what kind of shelter they have, their diet, the number of ducks, the breed/size, and a few other things.

So at three weeks, the minimum recommended temperature for ducklings is 90 - 15 = 75.   In that case, I would say the night temperatures there are too low.  You could provide a heat source, and some things I strongly suggest are (if you go that route), get a thermometer out there with the ducklings, be absolutely sure there is no fire hazard with your heat source, no risk of burning feathers or skin, no drafts, no way for weasels or raccoons or other predators to get at the ducklings, and you still need to manage their water so that you don't move a wet, messy environment outside where it can be a risk to their health.

A number of us have an area in the ducks' night shelter where they can have food and water, but it stays out of the sleeping area.  Some people keep food and water (no food without water - ever) away from the ducks at night.  This is not a good idea if the ducks are less than about eight weeks old.

Another option is to have a safe secure outdoor area where they can play during the day, and come into the brooder at night.  They need shelter, water, and food outdoors, but with the temperatures above 75, they would likely be okay out there and then their use of the indoor brooder would be reduced quite a bit.

Do you have a thermometer in the brooder, by the way?

"stable families living peaceful lives in prosperity and physical security while free to pursue our own spiritual or religious beliefs. Adequate nutritious food and clean water. …  balanced lives with time for family, friends and community .... All to be ensured, ... on a foundation of regenerating soils and biologically diverse communities on Earth’s land and in her rivers, lakes and oceans."...

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"stable families living peaceful lives in prosperity and physical security while free to pursue our own spiritual or religious beliefs. Adequate nutritious food and clean water. …  balanced lives with time for family, friends and community .... All to be ensured, ... on a foundation of regenerating soils and biologically diverse communities on Earth’s land and in her rivers, lakes and oceans."...

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post #4 of 5

i took mine outside when they were 4-5 days old. i live on parallel 45 (new york's latitude, i think).

post #5 of 5

Forget the 5 degree drop per week rule.  It is not accurate at all.  In the first week alone you can go down 10-15 degrees.  That is the reason why I go by behavior.  They move away from the lamp the temp goes down another 5 degrees.  If they huddle they need more.  Mine are off the heat lamp by the time they are 2 weeks old, but they are still in the house at that time.  At two weeks they do get outdoor time when the temps are above 70.  At 2.5 week I move them into the duck house, but I make sure the temp does not go below 60 during the night.  So monitor your heat in the duck house you will have.  At week 4 you are absolutely fine as long as them temps don't go below 45.

Author of the upcoming duck book "The Duck ABC's" ©
A guide to small flock ownership with tips for the daily life.
I'm not a know it all guru, but I'm proud of working on this book.
"The Duck ABC's" is a registered trademark of German Corner, Inc.
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Author of the upcoming duck book "The Duck ABC's" ©
A guide to small flock ownership with tips for the daily life.
I'm not a know it all guru, but I'm proud of working on this book.
"The Duck ABC's" is a registered trademark of German Corner, Inc.
Reply
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