Cayuga Ducklings - Update and Questions?!


In the Brooder
Nov 12, 2015
Hello all! This is just a long winded recap on my first few weeks with the ducklings. On Novemeber 17th my four Cayuga ducklings arrived from Murray McMurray Hatchery. All were just fine - save for the sexting band around one of their legs was so tight it made a deep crease.

They are housed in a huge plastic tub from Lowes. Their bedding is a pure alpine shaving topped with soft hay. Their water dish is now a gallon plastic jug with a cutout housed over a smaller plastic container covered in chicken wire. No water gets into their bedding which is just awesome.

The first few days getting the temp right was difficult. I have a brooder bulb secured near the tub and when I first put them in, the temp was between 90 and 95. When I checked on them later they were crammed into the far back corner away from the light. I moved the light several different times and it still didn't matter. Starting today or tomorrow they won't even need the bulb anymore but it was a curious thing how they did not like being near the light, and instead liked to huddle on the wire covered tub their water was in.

To establish a type of bond with them I wokld visit them throughout the day, changing water and taking feed from their tub to hand feed them. I talk to them and pet them but also I would remove each one by itself and have them waddle after me for a bit to stretch their legs.

Flash forward three weeks and they are all quite "tame" letting me pick them up and hold them or move them around when I need to. However only one seems to have actually imprinted or is in the process. She won't leave me, when I sit down on the floor she jumps on my leg and lays down. She's so calm and sweet.

Man they grow fast. Blows my mind. Three weeks in and they're getting the juvenile feathers, the beetle feathers, and their voices are changing. Sometimes one will make a random BACAAA sound like a chicken.

The only thing I wonder about is how they lay down so much. They lay in the brooder box, sure. But also when taken out. They went outside for the first time three days ago in a big pen on the grass and ended up laying down all together picking at the ground lol. I want to make sure they get some exercise and stretch their little limbs.

All in all they are very fun and interesting. Definitely a conversation starter and the question "why would you get ducks?". I cannot wait to move out from our rental property into a house all our own so we can build obnoxious pens and have many more ducks.

Anyway that's my story so far :)










6 Years
May 6, 2013
If they are huddling up when laying down it may be too cold for them. However, ducks need a massive amount of sleep as ducklings. A good 15 minutes swimming in the tub usually netted about a 4 hour nap for my peepers around the age of 2-3 weeks.

I am actually an advocate for a colder brooder than suggested. I've raised 2 sets of ducks now and none of them ever need near the heat that is suggested unless straight out of the tub and damp. (I try to dry them off) If they are panting, staying away from the light, and in a sprawled huddle, it's too hot. They should be comfortable enough to huddle all over eachother so they feel safe.


Jul 20, 2015
New England USA
I raised some cayugas from hatchlings this year. My girls would be very active in fits and spurts and sleep together for a long time. I used a cold brooding technique by accident. We had colder than normal temps until mid Summer and then it turned hot as hades until mid September.

My girls only seemed cold/chilled right after swimming or playing in the water.

My girls turned 6 months old in November. They still prefer to sleep close to each other like they did when they were babies. Maybe they aren't huddled together so much as they just really like being together ?

If you put down a bowl of dabbling greens (try chopping up some napa cabbage leaves or whatever their favorite green is) and they don't immediately run out to dabble/eat/play/ stomp their little duck feet in the spilled water then I'd be concerned.

I brooded my girls directly in the bathtub. At the drain end i had a large baking dish shaped pan filled 1/2 up with water. They'd drink and practice bathing in it. In the middle of the tub I had a dabbling bowl. At the shallow end i had some swaddling towels underneath a brinsea adjustable height brooder. Usually they'd lay on the towels and not directly under the brooder unless they were drying off from playing.
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