Advice for a first time mommy.

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Blondiega1, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. Blondiega1

    Blondiega1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, I had two male Pekings, Ben and Jmatt.
    Well, we lost Ben recently to a predator, probably a coyote.
    My boys have been free range on the lake since I got them as adults. They just show up for dinner every evening at 6pm and then back out on the lake.
    Now with Ben gone, Jmatt looks so lonely. He's been hanging with Dos, a wild male hooded merganser who kind of adopted us.
    (we had an Uno, but she moved on while Dos has just stayed)


    At any rate, I'm considering baby ducks from the local tact store, but I'm not sure what I might be getting myself in for.
    Advice on bedding?
    Housing?
    Water supply?
    What to use for a "baby pool"?
    Do I need a heat lamp? (I'm in Atlanta area)
    Feed advice?
    How old before they can be release on the lake? (we have a 5 acre lake.)
    Any other tips or advice?

    TIA
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Southern New England
    Miss Lydia showed us this:

    http://feathersite.com/Poultry/BRKRaisingDucklings.html

    I used towels for bedding, which involves some work (rinsing, washing, drying), but reduces the risk of dust or allergy problems, and in fact, makes the poop available for fertilizing the garden. Also, they didn't try to eat the towels. Mine tried to eat shavings and puppy pads. Gack.

    Housing - at first, warm, dry, safe, no drafts, no mold. . . then, relatively warm, dry, safe, no mold, roomy enough.

    For ducklings up to at least 8 weeks, water available 24/7. Managing the water is possibly the biggest hurdle. Take a look at tweetysvoice water system. And there are others, with very good systems, too. OldGuy43 is a few weeks ahead of you, still raising ducklings, so check out some of his posts. A search of the Duck Forum for "duckling water" or "duckling mess" may help you.

    I use a concrete mixing pan for a swim pan, and a doggie kiddie pool. Was also given two mini pond hard pond liners. One is plastic, one is fiberglass. Keep an eye on ducklings, even the ducks, as they need to be able to get out of their pool and straight-sided containers are a challenge. Ducklings can tire out and drown.

    For the first several weeks you will need to keep their area quite warm, but with cooler spots as each duckling needs a little different temperature, potentially. One rule of thumb is 90F the first week, dropping 5 degrees a week.

    If you can get waterfowl starter, go with that. Otherwise, chick starter crumbles, unmedicated (some say amprolium is okay). I could only get turkey/waterfowl starter, to which I added one part chopped rolled oats (not instant) to four or five parts feed, to reduce the protein percentage and add fiber.

    I am a protective duck mom so I cannot speak to lake releases. I have nightmares about snapping turtles, mink, raccoons, old fishing hooks and fishing line. So I wouldn't.

    Enjoy them! They are wonderful! They are ducks and cannot help the way they eat and their need for water. They need to be able to wash their heads frequently to avoid serious eye, sinus and ear infections. Watch the surfaces they walk on as these can contribute to injury and bumblefoot.

    Keep posting, share what you learn, and upload photo's if you can.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2012
  3. Blondiega1

    Blondiega1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great information! Thank you!
     
  4. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

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    FANTASTIC info. - thanks very much from me, too!
     
  5. Blondiega1

    Blondiega1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 5, 2010
    Dallas, Ga.
    So I guess my only question now is how old do they need to be to let them roam on the lake?
    I don't want to give them free run too early.
     

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