Brooding ducklings in the "cleanest" way possible - your advice/experience?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by wordgirl, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. wordgirl

    wordgirl One of the Shire-folk

    Apr 14, 2009
    I'm trying to get ducks in May and although I've raised chicks before, I've heard that ducklings can be a bit more...messy. :p So I'd like to get some advice from my more experienced duck-keeping friends about how to best keep them clean and dry (or as clean and dry as possible) and warm and happy in the brooder. :)

    What is the best type of bedding material? I've used aspen chips with my chicks, but would pellets, or something else, be better for the ducklings?

    What's your favorite/best way to give them water without soaking everything? :)

    What do you feed them in? Should I use a bowl/pan, a chick feeder (with the holes - though do their bills get too big for that pretty soon?), or a trough-type feeder?

    Any other tips? :)

    Thank you very much!
     
  2. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Control the water and the rest isn't too bad.

    I kept food and water a distance apart which worked great when they were tiny and took 39238 steps to get to the food from the water. But as they got older and could take a step and be at the water... not so much lol


    here's an option that I bookmarked a while ago
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/469752/my-husbands-solution-to-the-stinky-soggy-brooder-problem
    There are also other options I've seen posted recently with hardware cloth over a box/drawer type thing and the waterer on top of that
     
  3. wordgirl

    wordgirl One of the Shire-folk

    Apr 14, 2009
    Thanks! Feeder and water apart - that's good to remember. That thread that you linked to - that looks like a great idea, and maybe I'll have to try it.

    The hardware cloth over a drawer thing - I'm glad to hear other people use that, because that's what I've been planning to do for my coop when they're adults, with a splash guard around it to try to keep the water contained to the "watering station." :)
     
  4. knightie

    knightie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Puppy pads under your shavings/chips whatever helps too just make sure they are covered and that the ducks don't start eating them... I use the pellets like they use for horse stalls <I use the pine ones> some i put water on to fluff and others are in there unfluffed <they fluff after a while> to help absorb the water. Once in a while the Pekin trio decide to empty their waterer <usually in the middle of the night when I'm not about to take em out and change the whole thing... I put pellets down, newpaper over that and fluffled pellets then change em in the morning. <G>

    My brooder doesn't have room for the drawer or I'd soooo have it!
     
  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    My ducklings were a contrary lot. Ate shavings, ate puppy pads. I used towels. If there is ever a next time, I think I will make a raised brooder box with hardware cloth bottom and a towel on top, with a tray underneath to catch drip. Was it 70%cocoa who had something like that? (It wasn't my original idea.)
     
  6. tweetysvoice

    tweetysvoice Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Here's a pic to the drawer idea I created a couple weeks ago. It still works like a charm! I pull out the drawer and dump it every morning. The ducks have finally stopped emptying the water every night - I think the thrill if playing in it wore out a bit. But we do give them a swim in the kiddie pool every afternoon as well for them to wash off their bills.

    I still have to deal with the poopy mess, but it doesn't smell 1/2 as much compared to the poop with wet shavings! https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/641902/created-a-water-saver-for-my-duck-brooder

    They will all move outside later this week and I plan on making a more perminant system into the coop with a drain to drain out the water, so I don't have to dump.
     
  7. tweetysvoice

    tweetysvoice Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    As for your other questions:

    The best bedding I've found (only because it's cheep) are pine shavings.

    As for the food, Mine just eat out of a chicken feeder - I have to dig shavings out of it now and then, but other than that, it works great!!

    It looks like this:
    [​IMG]

    Don't forget that Ducks need Niacin and it's best to not feed them medicated chick starter. The best and easiest source of niacin is Brewers Yeast found at health food stores. (I tasted the yeast, and it's actually pretty good!) My duckies love it when i sprinkle it on their food. Ducks will only eat starter food for about 3 weeks, then they need to move to grower (with lower protein) so don't do like I did and buy a 50lb bag unless you are getting a lot of duckies!
     
  8. wordgirl

    wordgirl One of the Shire-folk

    Apr 14, 2009
    Thanks, knightie! Have you found that the pellets are more absorbent than chips? Are they easier/tidier to handle?



    Thank you, Amiga! I found the brooder that 70%coca made - that's a cool idea. I think I'm going to try to incorporate some of that in some sort of raised drawer inside my brooder, if I can figure out how to do it. [​IMG]



    That looks great! I may have to try that. [​IMG] I was just yesterday trying to figure out how I could do some sort of drawer in the brooder.



    Thanks, tweetysvoice! I've heard a bit about the Niacin and have wondered where/how to get it. Maybe I'll try Brewer's Yeast when I get them. [​IMG] How much do you give them?
     
  9. wordgirl

    wordgirl One of the Shire-folk

    Apr 14, 2009
    I forgot to ask you, tweetysvoice - what is your pen made out of in your pictures? [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2012
  10. tweetysvoice

    tweetysvoice Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Those are "cubes" that we modified. I got the idea several years ago when I made a rabbit cage out of them. Here's a website that gives a lot more information about how to use them. They are great! We've built guinea pig cages, rabbit cages, rat cages, and now duck brooders using them.
    http://www.guineapigcages.com/cubes.htm
     

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