This is our first batch of ducks just around 2 weeks old. We ordered 20, got 21. 2 were dead on arrival, and 2 died later that day. 15 appear healthy, but 1 (blinky) has an eye missing and another 1 (goofy) must not have been turned enough as an egg or has neurological issues because it spins in circles and does just about everything but eat and drink with its head cocked to one side.
If you are wondering why we have so many ducks the first time around, you are not alone… so am I. Especially after the fact! You see, this is really my husbands thing and he’s ordered and raised a few batches of chickens on our farm and I suppose he thought that brooding ducks was similar. I don’t know, I can’t explain it. But now I have 17 ducks that obviously need a LOT more care than we have grown accustomed to with chicks and I am attempting to give them the best care I can possibly provide.
My biggest problem is WATER: I read that they should have water readily available at all times. Every time we give them a quart of water it is gone within 5 minutes time. We have a gallon jug but I was worried about them swimming in the base of it and thought we should wait until they are bigger. They are in a 150 gal stock tank and keeping the pine shavings dry is a chore as the ducks slop the water all over and make puddles. When the water is gone from its container, they will “bathe” in the puddle. It’s like they cannot get enough no matter what. We backed off on their water a bit to keep the area dry. We also kept adding pine shavings to soak up any excess water.
A weeks time had passed and they just looked kind of dirty to me. A few appeared to have sores on their feet, so I decided to let them swim in small groups in our slop sink (disregarding what I have read about oil glands & waiting for feathers, etc.) The water and the room was warm and each duck had their own towel do dry off in. After being held in the towel for about 5 minutes each, they finished drying off under increased light which was later returned to its higher position. The ducks loved the bath, they looked nice and fluffy and happy afterwards and luckily they didn’t get too cold because they are all still with us. Today the sores appear to be dried out and I am watching them to see if Epsom salt soaks and Neosporin are necessary.
I guess my question here is what amount of water is really necessary? And are there ways to get around it? Or maybe their tub is too small? I thought about putting them in a hutch to keep their feet dry, but read that might hurt them. We have other tubs that are currently in use, but might be able to free up soon?
Ok> Next question. We ended up getting a refund for blinky and goofy, along with the DOA’s and such. But I don’t think goofy will survive outside because I don’t believe he will be able to get to shelter quickly and he appears incapable of swimming unassisted. Blinky has a hole where his eye is supposed to be and it doesn’t appear to be healing. No eye boogers, puss or crustiness, just a tiny bit of clear ooze around it. My question here would be basically what would you do with these two? At this point we are thinking let nature take its course… I just don’t want them to suffer.
Sorry it’s so long, I tried to be thorough. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.