care for new ducklings


12 Years
Mar 5, 2007
I'm very familiar w/ broody hens and separating them from others and care and protection for hen and chicks.

I'm new to ducks except for an orphaned wood duck that we raised w/some chicks

We have 2 female and a male in a barn (separate from the chickens) with about 8 bales of straw; they have a run outside.

One female has been on 7 eggs 3 1/2 weeks. I have a home-made candler--looks like at least some are developing.
The nest is about a foot off the floor, a nice indentation in a straw bale.
Do I need to worry about the other female and the male when ducklings hatch?

Any other things I should know. right now I'm out of town caring for my dad who is sick. My husband is in charge of the flock so I want to give him some directions.
If mama thinks she is safe she and the babies will stay around, but if she feels like moving on she will take the babies off lol. My muscovy hen has taken her ducklings on a few adventures lately and i have to go find them and round them up.

Depending on the duck -
the other female might ignore them, try to adopt them, or chase them. But your mama duck should do a good job defending her young. Same with the male although he is more likely to kill them if he wants to get to the female.
I don't have experience with broodies, but my understanding is that for safety, it's best to keep other adults away from the babies at first, but hopefully others will chip in with personal experience.

I will say this from experience: You'll need to add niacin to the chick feed to make it a good feed for ducklings. This will be less critical for you than for most, probably, because I'm assuming your babies will have free range opportunities from very early on. But it is the case that ducks need more niacin during development. If you have a good feed store, probably the simplest thing is to buy a bag of game bird starter and mix it 50-50 with the chick starter. Game birds have a high niacin requirement, but their feed is too high in protein for ducks--mix the two and you have a nearly ideal waterfowl starter.

You can also supplement with brewer's yeast in the food, pharmacy-grade niacin in the water (150 mg per gallon), or simply purchase a feed specifically for waterfowl (Mazuri Waterfowl starter or Purina Flock Raiser are good brands but not widely available--not all Purina starter feeds are good for ducks, and not all starter feeds labeled for ducks are good for ducks).

Good luck--you're gonna have sweet babies!! Yay!

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