Baby Duckling - Newbie and need help giving it a fighting chance

Jen Denton

In the Brooder
Apr 7, 2021
8
23
26
Hi,

My baby duckling still has its egg tooth on-top of its bill, I think it is 4-5 days old but not sure. It arrived yesterday in the cats mouth 😩 .
Any idea on its age? It has no hard feathers (all down) and tiny little wings.

I have set it up with a towel (which I change daily) and a heating pad which we have set to 26 Degrees Celcius (it can move away from the pad if it gets too hot).
Yesterday I put a bowl of water in with a bowl of chicken starter feed. It didn't touch the food or water at all but survived the night. It didn't seem to know what to do with them.

This morning I made it my mission to work out how to get it happy and eating as its very strong and lively so i believe it has a fighting chance. It has already bonded with me and loves to sleep on me and chirps as soon as it hears my voice.

I filled a sink up a little with some warm water (standing depth) and popped the duckling in, it loved it! Then I added some finely chopped up lettuce and parsley and it loved it! I then tried sprinkling some chicken starter feed in the water and it ate that too. I thought I would try and replicate the sink in the ducklings box (safe space away from the cats) in a shallower smaller bowl which it seems to love, it is not too deep as I am terrified of it drowning. I added some scrambled egg to it and it seems to enjoy this too.

So it seems to love VERY WET food where the food is almost diluted in with water and it missions around in the bowl eating the food and drinking the water at the same time. So I only have one bowl with both food and water in there.

So I have a few questions:
- How long can I leave the wet food in there before it is not safe to eat?
- Realistically how much feed does the duckling need daily? I want to be able to tell if it is eating enough?
- I have not seen it poop since it arrived? How often do they poop?
- Is 26degrees C too cold?

Thanks so much.
 

CaliFarmsAR

Crowing
Apr 26, 2019
4,349
9,003
497
Hi,

My baby duckling still has its egg tooth on-top of its bill, I think it is 4-5 days old but not sure. It arrived yesterday in the cats mouth 😩 .
Any idea on its age? It has no hard feathers (all down) and tiny little wings.

I have set it up with a towel (which I change daily) and a heating pad which we have set to 26 Degrees Celcius (it can move away from the pad if it gets too hot).
Yesterday I put a bowl of water in with a bowl of chicken starter feed. It didn't touch the food or water at all but survived the night. It didn't seem to know what to do with them.

This morning I made it my mission to work out how to get it happy and eating as its very strong and lively so i believe it has a fighting chance. It has already bonded with me and loves to sleep on me and chirps as soon as it hears my voice.

I filled a sink up a little with some warm water (standing depth) and popped the duckling in, it loved it! Then I added some finely chopped up lettuce and parsley and it loved it! I then tried sprinkling some chicken starter feed in the water and it ate that too. I thought I would try and replicate the sink in the ducklings box (safe space away from the cats) in a shallower smaller bowl which it seems to love, it is not too deep as I am terrified of it drowning. I added some scrambled egg to it and it seems to enjoy this too.

So it seems to love VERY WET food where the food is almost diluted in with water and it missions around in the bowl eating the food and drinking the water at the same time. So I only have one bowl with both food and water in there.

So I have a few questions:
- How long can I leave the wet food in there before it is not safe to eat?
- Realistically how much feed does the duckling need daily? I want to be able to tell if it is eating enough?
- I have not seen it poop since it arrived? How often do they poop?
- Is 26degrees C too cold?

Thanks so much.
Wet food is always ok. Not sure how much they need a day but is he eating a good bit? As they older the more they eat.
 

Miss Lydia

~Gift of God ~ Eternal Life ~John 3:16
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Oct 3, 2009
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Mountains of Western N.C.
It's great you were able to save the ducking, if it's wild it would be best for you to hand it over to a wildlife rehabber they will know how to take care of it so it can be released back where it belongs ..in the wild. Now you see since this little one has bonded with you if you want to eventually release it, more than likely it will not survive since it has depended on you to feed and care for it, like a domestic duck. Is your plan to raise it up till it can fly away? You can't let the duckling have access to water that isn't warmed where it can get in and get wet and chill. At the age of your duckling, they need constant warmth. so best to let the little one have a warm bath then pat dry and right back to heat. around 80-85 degree. At age zero to 5-6 weeks they should have access to feed and water 24/7 if you want to feed a soupy mix then you'll have to keep up with changing out often during the day also keep a bowl of dry available and always fresh water not cold for the first week. You need to offer chick grit {pet stores] feed stores, in a small bowl when feeding anything other than starter feed. they haven't any way to chew up lettuce so they need to eat chick grit which then will be used in their gizzard to chew their food. But always offer separately from their main feed, they will only use the grit as they need to. Alot to think about but sounds like you want the best for this duckling you just need to think past 6 weeks because until then it is going to need your care every day. once 6 weeks then it's time to decide what you want to do keep it for ever or let it be wild. if your goal is to let it be wild then I'd find a rehabber now.
 

Jen Denton

In the Brooder
Apr 7, 2021
8
23
26
Try some crunched up mealworms in water too, get you some duck starter crumble and make it very wet... you should see poop shortly after water/food consumption. I think its just a straight tube from bill to vent :lol:
Thank you, it is pooping now and I got it two baby chicks to cuddle with, it is so happy and healthy, long may it last!
 

Jen Denton

In the Brooder
Apr 7, 2021
8
23
26
We are in touch with a wildlife rehabber and it will be released back on the farm where it was found and where we live. There are big flocks of them here so we are hoping it will fit in with the rest of the wild ducks :) The Dam is close enough to the house for it to be fed if it needs to but its instincts are pretty strong and I have no doubt it will be able to feed itself in the wild.

We got two one day old chicks today to keep it company and hopefully through watching them eat the starter feed dry it will learn to do that too, until then I'll keep feeding it the wet started food in warm water 3 times a day (I am just not sure how much is enough as I am scared of under feeding it). The chicks will be put in with the rest of our chickens which roam around the farm as they wish and ideally the duck will return to the dam :) if it doesn't we live here so are more than happy to look after it or we have friends on another farm who have a flock of adult domestic ducks which they feed. So there are plenty of options for this little one. Its just getting through the next 6 weeks and giving it the best chance :)

Ok, thank you. Noted on the warm water, we will do this. I spoke to a specialist today and he said rather stick with just the starter food and then we won't need the grit.
It's great you were able to save the ducking, if it's wild it would be best for you to hand it over to a wildlife rehabber they will know how to take care of it so it can be released back where it belongs ..in the wild. Now you see since this little one has bonded with you if you want to eventually release it, more than likely it will not survive since it has depended on you to feed and care for it, like a domestic duck. Is your plan to raise it up till it can fly away? You can't let the duckling have access to water that isn't warmed where it can get in and get wet and chill. At the age of your duckling, they need constant warmth. so best to let the little one have a warm bath then pat dry and right back to heat. around 80-85 degree. At age zero to 5-6 weeks they should have access to feed and water 24/7 if you want to feed a soupy mix then you'll have to keep up with changing out often during the day also keep a bowl of dry available and always fresh water not cold for the first week. You need to offer chick grit {pet stores] feed stores, in a small bowl when feeding anything other than starter feed. they haven't any way to chew up lettuce so they need to eat chick grit which then will be used in their gizzard to chew their food. But always offer separately from their main feed, they will only use the grit as they need to. Alot to think about but sounds like you want the best for this duckling you just need to think past 6 weeks because until then it is going to need your care every day. once 6 weeks then it's time to decide what you want to do keep it for ever or let it be wild. if your goal is to let it be wild then I'd find a rehabber now.
 

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