On Friday we have two black east india ducklings coming to us. Aside from our 6 grown hens outside, we also have 7 easter eggers and 8 silkies that are about 5 weeks old, and 9 silkies that are 2 weeks old. My plan (I hope) was to add the new ducklings to the brooder with this group, since the older chicks accepted the newer silkies on day one with no squabbles at all.
My questions regard heat, and food. I already know that I'll have to provide extra water for the ducklings. The middle of my brooder (a six foot diameter swimming pool) stays about 85 degrees, and the chicks have plenty of room to get to the cooler areas if they like. They are all on a medicated starter from purina (I know a lot of people here hate it, but it's readily available at my very local feed store (I try to stay away from the chain places) and my chickens the last 3 years have seemed to do very well on it.) Do I need to try to find a non medicated for them, are they even able to have the same starter at all? I've read that once they are older they may be able to eat the same layer pellets as everyone else, but that information doesn't help me with newbies.
When everyone goes outside, they have a very very large area to roam in. We have a 1.4 acre yard of our 6 acres fenced off the the dogs/chickens, and 1000 sq ft fenced off in the woods right off of our yard. They do a lot of foraging, so they really don't go through much feed except during the winter months.
I've had chickens for about 3 years, and these two ducklings will be my first. I'm hoping to avoid any serious mistakes with them. Any pointers/help/advice would be very much appreciated!