Baby Ducks keep dying!!! We don't know why!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by SadRightNow, Jul 10, 2016.

  1. SadRightNow

    SadRightNow New Egg

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    So.. We have about 7 ducks (4 males and 3 females). The 2 'Mother and Father ducks' SUCCESFULLY made 1 batch, 5 survived and became full grown.

    Anyway, to the point, one of the females has made 1 batch already. ALL of the ducklings from her batch died in a few weeks. Usually only 3 or 4 die in the batch, but the ENTIRE batch died :(

    But we found another baby duck in the corner of the pin (One of the females is BACK on another batch btw) . Not even in a nest, we think the heat might have incubated it because it's just right temp for the baby to hatch without being sat on. So we took it inside in a box with food, and water for a few weeks. He/she was VERY friendly, then sometime last night all of a sudden he/she died :(. It was perfectly fine last night, we played with it again for a few minutes then put it away. It was in the A.C., had warmth inside the box. I just don't know what to do.. It makes me very sad when they keep dyong and we were very attached to this one..

    Someone, please help us!
     
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Dark Sider Premium Member

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    :welcome and sorry for your losses.

    Okay, some quick questions:

    What are you feeding the babies? What temperature are you keeping the ones that you are raising inside away from the mothers? The ones outside that die, could the drakes be killing them? You have too many drakes - you should at the very least have male female pairs but the best ratio is one drake for every three females. You should never have more drakes than females.
     
  3. SadRightNow

    SadRightNow New Egg

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    Well, it's regular egg makers crumble. Same thing we feed ALL of the birds and they do just fine. Temp of the one inside was 78 in the daytime and the A.C. was off at night.

    We have 2 pins, one we use to seperate the 3 Rhode Island red chickens because they were eating the eggs. Then 3 of the males because they would terrorize the females. The original male is still with the 3 females. Then there is 3 chickens. 2 banny hens and 1 Rhode Island red that's only a few months old at the least.
     
  4. Pyxis

    Pyxis Dark Sider Premium Member

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    Okay, so the first thing you need to change is the food. Ducklings cannot eat the same food as adults. They need higher protein to grow and they don't need the extra calcium included in the food to help the adults produce eggs - in fact, this extra calcium can cause kidney failure, liver damage, bone problems, and death. You need to put the ducklings on a chick or duck starter. If a chick starter, you may also need to supplement with additional niacin because often chick starters don't have enough for ducklings.

    78 degrees is too cold for a newly hatched duckling - they need to have access to a place that is 95 degrees that they can get to and get warm if they get chilled. Most people provide a heat lamp for this purpose.

    I think your biggest problem here is the feed - the ducklings are not getting enough protein and they are getting too much calcium which could be sending them into kidney failure and killing them.

    Also if you have young chickens that aren't laying, the same feed rule applies to them - they need to be on a starter/grower feed.

    And a word of caution about your setup - it sounds like you may be keeping three bachelor drakes in with your chicken hens. They can and will attempt to mate with the hens because they have no duck females of their own, and because of anatomical differences, this will lead to the injury and even death of your hens.

    I hope you can get this sorted out so you don't lose any more ducklings :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2016
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  5. HannahDuckLover

    HannahDuckLover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mother ducks will keep their ducklings warm, if they’re good parents. When it gets that cold (78 degrees) here, the young ones just sleep under or beside Mama until they start getting bigger. I’ve never had to put them in a box with brooder lamp and whatever.

    I’ve only had three ducklings die out of ALL the babies I’ve had, and we let our mothers raise them all. (One got trapped and was suffocated, and the other two were killed by fire ants.) So when you say ‘usually 3 or 4 die’ – that shouldn’t be normal either.

    So, yes, you should definitely change the feed and you don’t need A.C. It gets up to 110 degrees here and the ducks are okay with heavy shade and water. And you should only have one drake.
     
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  6. SadRightNow

    SadRightNow New Egg

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    Well, we fed the 2 original ducks the SAME feed and the 5 other ducks we have amd they ended up perfectly fine. These are the ONLY batches that we have had any aort of problem with.
     
  7. Pyxis

    Pyxis Dark Sider Premium Member

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    Still, why not change the feed if it is likely the problem? Better safe than sorry. It's a simple change to make and it can't hurt, it can only help. Maybe your first ducks did okay with the layer feed but since you're losing at least three to four ducklings from every hatch and now entire hatches, I think it's safe to say something is not working. You said all your birds are doing fine on this feed but since a lot of them are dying, I would say that is not the case. Sorry if this comes off as harsh, but you could be actively killing your ducklings just by not doing this one simple thing. The extra calcium causes bone, liver, and kidney problems and, as you have seen, death.

    Since you said you have three to four dying out of each batch I wouldn't say you didn't have problems with the other batches, either. That is not normal.

    Here's a link that talks about proper duckling care (and also covers not feeding them layer feed):

    http://islandseed.com/poultry/ducks/
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2016
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  8. Ravynscroft

    Ravynscroft For the Love of Duck Premium Member

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    Please change the feed for the babies... just because there wasn't an issue once before does not mean that it isn't causing an issue now... and I think the Egg Maker layer formula has even more calcium than regular layer... losing 3 or 4 per batch is just not normal, much less losing all of them...

    Most of my broodys have never lost a baby, and when it has happened it was due to a tragic accident and was a single one... if a broody won't care for the babies properly either, then I don't allow them to brood... these animals look to us to be responsible for them, care for them, keep them safe and to provide proper nutrition... you asked for help to change your outcome... the only way to change that is to accept good advice and make changes...
     
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