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Adding ducks to the flock....help?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

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!

I live with 2 Irish Wolfhounds, 1 Boxer, 1 Master Cat, 6 Hens (2 Buff Orpys, 2 Speckled Sussex, 1 Easter Egger, 1 Faverolle) and a whole brooder full of newbies (7 Easter Eggers, 17 Silkies, and coming soon-2 Black East India ducks) Also, a lovely ginger daughter, and a VERY tolerant husband!

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I live with 2 Irish Wolfhounds, 1 Boxer, 1 Master Cat, 6 Hens (2 Buff Orpys, 2 Speckled Sussex, 1 Easter Egger, 1 Faverolle) and a whole brooder full of newbies (7 Easter Eggers, 17 Silkies, and coming soon-2 Black East India ducks) Also, a lovely ginger daughter, and a VERY tolerant husband!

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post #2 of 9
Ducklings are super messy with their water so here's a link to help you with that http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/426909/non-spill-duckling-waterer. That should be very helpful in keeping the brooder dry. They can't have a medicated feed so you could either make a barrier so that the ducks can't get to the feed or you could switch to a flock raiser. You might have to check with the chicken people if it would be OK to switch off a medicated feed because I know chicks need it. I don't have chickens so I'm not very helpful there. Or you could ask someone at your feed store just ask if anyone who works there owns chickens and see what they say. Its better to ask for someone with experience. I have a guy at my local tractor supply who owns over 300 birds so I got lucky when I went in asking for help. Here's another link for duckling care http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/750869/raising-and-caring-for-ducklings. Hope this helps.

Edited to add: you may end up needed to put a barrier between ducklings and chicks as they will be "funny looking chickens" to the chicks you have. Which could lead to bullying. If you have to do this use poultry netting or some type of fencing so that was they can see each other but everyone is safe from harm. After awhile you will be able to take it down and all will be well. There might be some pushing around but that's just to establish pecking order. Just watch and make sure its nothing to bad.
Edited by ducklover87 - 6/5/13 at 4:07pm
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

I loved the threads you directed me too!  I'm a reader.... :)  

Another question, how soon should I start encouraging them to swim.  I plan on getting something from Home Depot or Lowes to fill up with fresh water for them outside that is deep enough for them, but light enough I can dump it out to clean.....  Should there be occasional swims in the tub?  I also read they tend to poo in the water.....Is that necessary for them to have normal bowel movements, or is it just a convenient "I'm have to poo and don't feel like getting out of the water" gig?

I live with 2 Irish Wolfhounds, 1 Boxer, 1 Master Cat, 6 Hens (2 Buff Orpys, 2 Speckled Sussex, 1 Easter Egger, 1 Faverolle) and a whole brooder full of newbies (7 Easter Eggers, 17 Silkies, and coming soon-2 Black East India ducks) Also, a lovely ginger daughter, and a VERY tolerant husband!

Reply

I live with 2 Irish Wolfhounds, 1 Boxer, 1 Master Cat, 6 Hens (2 Buff Orpys, 2 Speckled Sussex, 1 Easter Egger, 1 Faverolle) and a whole brooder full of newbies (7 Easter Eggers, 17 Silkies, and coming soon-2 Black East India ducks) Also, a lovely ginger daughter, and a VERY tolerant husband!

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post #4 of 9
Glad you liked them smile.png as soon as you'd like. I let mine swim the day I got them. The bathtub is the easiest when they are being brooded indoors. Just make sure to wipe it clean. I used Lysol wipes for that. They are cheap and aren't harmful. Don't make it too deep just enough so they can barely touch. Especially when that young. I find that letting them bath in the bathtub helps greatly with leg problems which is why I've never had to buy niacin but I know where to get it just in case. Also make sure the water is warm but not too hot. I stuck with the brooders temp. 90° the first week then drop 5° each week after. A little lower for temp is o.k. that's just a rough guide. I've never measured the temps in my brooder or the bath water. I just went by how they were acting too hot they will pant to cold and they will be constantly huddling together and shaking. With their bath for the first week I started it like I was gonna take a bath, as long as its not scorching. If the water isn't good enough for them they will let you know. Either by shaking (cold) or trying to desperately escape (hot). Never leave a duckling unattended as they aren't waterproof yet and can easily get water logged and drown. As they get older the temp can be cooler and the water higher just go with your momma duck instincts smile.png you will understand that once you get to know them. And yes they just like poop in the water, well they like to poo everywhere lol
post #5 of 9
Since your chickens can't swim I'd use bath time as a means to bond with them. You can give them treats but they need grit to process it. My ducks favorites are mealworms and apples. Mostly mealworms. Its like they know its the most expensive treat lol. Crush up everything super tiny and hand feed it to them it will be great for bonding experiences. Oh also don't let them swim for too long either at first as it really tires them out. I gave mine baths 2 to 3 times a day. Mostly when I was cleaning their brooder. I'd leave them in the empty tub clean their brooder then start the tub up and watch their silliness. That way after bath time they could go back to a nice dry and clean brooder.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

Would I want to fluff dry them, or just let them go in with everyone?

 

 With my chicks, I go in and whistle to them with my hand in the brooder and let them approach me as they like.  That way, I'm not chasing any one for lovings, and they get attention on their own terms...  All of them are super excited to hop up on my arm and them be held against my chest.  Especially my cockerel easter egger.  :)  (hopefully that lasts)

 

I plan to send the easter eggers out to the coop next week or so ( around 7-8 weeks)  I want to keep all the silkies (older and newer) and my cockerel  inside until they are a little older so that my silkies get some size to them, and I can get the cockerel more used to handling.  I was planning on keeping the two ducklings with this group since they'll be younger.  My understanding is that they will be about the same size as my silkies, so I thought that would be appropriate.

I live with 2 Irish Wolfhounds, 1 Boxer, 1 Master Cat, 6 Hens (2 Buff Orpys, 2 Speckled Sussex, 1 Easter Egger, 1 Faverolle) and a whole brooder full of newbies (7 Easter Eggers, 17 Silkies, and coming soon-2 Black East India ducks) Also, a lovely ginger daughter, and a VERY tolerant husband!

Reply

I live with 2 Irish Wolfhounds, 1 Boxer, 1 Master Cat, 6 Hens (2 Buff Orpys, 2 Speckled Sussex, 1 Easter Egger, 1 Faverolle) and a whole brooder full of newbies (7 Easter Eggers, 17 Silkies, and coming soon-2 Black East India ducks) Also, a lovely ginger daughter, and a VERY tolerant husband!

Reply
post #7 of 9
Pat dry with a towel and back under the light they go. They will hopefully start preening and finish drying themselves. If not dry them and fluff them up so they don't get chilled. Silkies must be small then. They are the really fluffy ones right? Im not very good when it comes to chickens lol
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Male Silkies will be maybe 2 1/4 lbs when grown, and females smaller than that.  I figure since I order a male and female east indian duck (2 and 1 1/2lbs respectively) that they would be good together....  Silkies also don't always roost, so I thought a couple of ducks in the coop cuddled up would be okay.

I live with 2 Irish Wolfhounds, 1 Boxer, 1 Master Cat, 6 Hens (2 Buff Orpys, 2 Speckled Sussex, 1 Easter Egger, 1 Faverolle) and a whole brooder full of newbies (7 Easter Eggers, 17 Silkies, and coming soon-2 Black East India ducks) Also, a lovely ginger daughter, and a VERY tolerant husband!

Reply

I live with 2 Irish Wolfhounds, 1 Boxer, 1 Master Cat, 6 Hens (2 Buff Orpys, 2 Speckled Sussex, 1 Easter Egger, 1 Faverolle) and a whole brooder full of newbies (7 Easter Eggers, 17 Silkies, and coming soon-2 Black East India ducks) Also, a lovely ginger daughter, and a VERY tolerant husband!

Reply
post #9 of 9
Wow they are small. They sound like they will be a great match for each other.
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