Am I ready for my ducklings?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by GiantDogs+Ducks, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. GiantDogs+Ducks

    GiantDogs+Ducks Out Of The Brooder

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    I've been waiting to get ducklings for almost a year and they're finally arriving this week! I got 4 Indian Runner drakes, as I don't eat eggs and hope the boys will be quieter for the sake of my neighbors. I'm really getting these ducks as pets and gardeners. I'm SO excited, but I want to make sure I'm ready. Here [LINK] are the pictures of where they will live for their first month. As my name suggests, I have English Mastiffs, so I luckily had a giant kennel that I suited up just for the ducklings. If you can see anything I'm missing or anything I've done wrong in these pictures, please let me know so I can fix it before the babies arrive on Wednesday. Thanks for any help!
    [URGENT UPDATE]: They've arrived!! I haven't had much time to enjoy them yet because amost as soon as I let them free in their setup, they started falling out from between the wires :barnie !!! How quickly will they grow big enough to be kept inside the crate (~1.5in)? Here is what they're living in while I go out to find a good box for the week: http://sdrv.ms/WZXIRT Sick, I know. But I didn't have anything else!! If you have any suggestions, please pass them my way! Also, I still haven't figured out a good way to protect the heat lamp bulb, but I think I'm going to get some screen from the hardware store.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012
  2. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I've brooded before in a dog kennel and it worked out fine.

    Congrats on becoming a duck owner! [​IMG]
     
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    So proud of you! Looks like a great start!

    [​IMG]

    You may want to add a sprinkling of brewer's yeast to their food since you are using chick starter. Some ducklings develop leg and nervous system problems on chick starter, just because they seem to be more sensitive to low niacin intake. Brewer's yeast has niacin. Or you can dissolve 100 mg of niacin in a gallon of water. That is the recommended dosage in case of deficiency symptoms. I like to play it safe. Look around on the forum and see some of the discussions we have had about this in the past.

    Beautiful crate. I liked having a thermometer under the heat source so I knew if it was warm enough or cool enough in the brooder. Also, think about positioning the heat lamp to reduce the risk that a duckling splashing water or poo won't hit the lamp with whatever he is flinging and shatter it (happened to a friend of mine).

    I hung sheets around the brooder to prevent chilly breezes, even inside the house (I keep my house coolish, like around 60F. The room they will be in may not have this as a concern.

    I would put the waterer on something that will catch the splash. Ducklings cannot help it, they seem to splash more than they drink. It causes odors, and sometimes mold, and ducklings can get chilled in a hurry. tweetysvoice has a nice setup you might want to look at.

    Is that grit in the waterer? I don't know if the ducky babies will ingest too much of it if it is free choice like that (yes, I am a worry wart duck mom). I read somewhere of a duckling that filled up on grit and was starving. I am sure they are not all like that. That waterer looks like it would be fine without pebbles. I did give mine chick grit, just a teaspoon on their food in the morning.

    Looks like you have it covered, watch out for when the ducklings go over the doorway, that they don't get a foot stuck in the cage (mine did and I covered it with a towel).

    I want you to enjoy them, runners are so wonderful!

    And be aware that they can get themselves into the most improbable, unimaginable trouble that you cannot possibly anticipate. Just watch them closely and often.

    At about three weeks of age they may suddenly become terrified of you and anything else taller than they are. It is a phase, but staying low and making sweet noises help. Treats help, too. And loads and loads of patience.

    Have fun, they will change your life for the better! Runners are excellent gardening partners. They have knocked the slug population down around here by, I would guess, 80 to 90% in three years. Their poop is some of the best fertilizer I have ever come across.
     
  4. Diamond88

    Diamond88 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Looks like a great setup and congrats on your new pets! As Amiga mentioned, I'd probably add a sprinkling of brewer's yeast to the chick starter, and watch out that they don't get anything cold on the bulb to shatter it. Otherwise, it seems like you're ready for ducklings. Good luck and post pics! [​IMG]
     
  5. GiantDogs+Ducks

    GiantDogs+Ducks Out Of The Brooder

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    Excellent info! Thank you so much. I'm on a plant based diet, so I have plenty of brewers yeast at home--thanks for the tip. The sheet around the kennel is a great idea too. I also have a thermometer I can use, but I'll have to brainstorm about protecting the heat lamp.

    As for the waterer, I read that putting rocks in the bottom would prevent them from drowning when they're very young. I just figured I'd take care of two things at once by putting grit in there, but I will replace it with river rock. The spillage I am prepared for I think. I have assembled a deep liner with plastic mulch and gorilla tape (that's what you see on the sides of the crate). Above that is a thick layer of newspaper, then of course straw. I will be pulling out the newspaper and straw layers daily, wiping down the plastic, and replacing with fresh stuff while my partner watches them in another room. Let me know if you still think more is needed. I also have a large shallow tub for supervised warm water play.

    I will definitely be visiting more often after they arrive! Again, thanks for all the help and I just can't wait for when I've learned enough to pay it forward! :woot
     
  6. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]
    It looks like you have gotten great info. I wasn't able to open the link [​IMG] The only thing I will add is make sure its all ready for when they arrive. Put the heat on several hours or the night before to ensure that you have the temps right. Again, since I can't see the pic, make sure that they have areas to get away from the heat. Try to place their food and water on the perimeter of the heat source. That way they will still get to food. If they are too warm and the food and water is under the heat or if the reverse and they are cold and the food/water is not near heat they may not eat/drink.
    Congrats on your decision to get some duckies. They are addictive.
     
  7. GiantDogs+Ducks

    GiantDogs+Ducks Out Of The Brooder

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    Alpharetta, GA
    Thank you!! I'll definitely post pics. My ship date was yesterday, so they probably won't be here until tomorrow.
     
  8. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    [​IMG]
     

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