Creative Duckling Brooder Ideas?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by CrunchyDoc, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. CrunchyDoc

    CrunchyDoc In the Brooder

    Feb 7, 2012
    Trenton, SC
    I've been brooding three ducklings in a large 31 gal Rubbermaid tote with a brooding heater/wafer thermostat for the last two weeks and it has been going great. The trouble I'm having now is that they are going through more water than I can keep in their brooder. I've actually moved to a small 1 gal cat waterer that continues to release fresh water with 1 inch gravel in bottom to keep them from getting in it. They just splash so much out that the pine shaving are getting soaked. I'm giving them a swim in the bathtub for increasing amounts of time daily but that doesn't satisfy their desire to sling water like crazy water babies.

    I need some suggestions as to how to keep their bedding dry and sufficient water available. It is too cold to put them in a pen outside so I have to be creative with brooding in my home. I'm open to ideas. Thanks!

  2. aoxa

    aoxa Crowing

    Oh dear.. Ducklings are messy little things, and stink like farts.

    What I did in their brooder was this...


    This is the brooder (chicks in it in the picture)


    With this kennel bottom in it and their water in the kennel bottom. This helped keep the shavings dry, and they still got to enjoy their water (which was a big dog water bowl.)
  3. aoxa

    aoxa Crowing


    Don't let their cuteness fool you - they are stinky devils.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2012
  4. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Songster

    Apr 22, 2012
    Southwest Virginia
    My Coop
    I LOVE that brooder!!

  5. aoxa

    aoxa Crowing

    Thank you! Was really easy until we got to the hardware cloth. [​IMG]

    Unless you are using it somewhere that predators or pets would be an issue, just use something cheaper and less offensive to the hands. I like the plastic green stuff.
  6. Haunted55

    Haunted55 Songster

    Feb 15, 2012
    Central Maine

    This is what I use. A roasting pan, deep, with handles and a cake cooling rack on top. Easy to get out with the handles. I currently have 15 KCs and SAs in a deck box and this set up has worked well. Since mine are so many and are a bit older they are becoming more interested in playing in the water. I've now switched to a rubber bowl feeder with 2 bricks in the bottome that the 1 gal. waterer sits on. It catches most of the drips and splashes but so far I haven't found a way to stop them all. Your ducks are young enough you could use the pelletized horse bedding around your waterer. I'd cover them with shavings so the ducks don't try to eat them , but these will soak up a lot of the over spray. You will still have to top dress their shavings but a total change will be a bit less often. They're ducks and this is what they do. Oh, one more thing...if you do try what I have done, as they get older they love to get in behind the waterer. It must be better water back there right? They can and will push the container right off of the cake rack. I solved this by putting a piece of the waffled rubber shelf liner under just the waterer. Worked just fine, no more tipped drinking water.

    One last thought that's been going round and round in my head. With this deck box I'm using, the water can leak out of the bottom. I lined mine with plastic for this reason. If I had a place where this wouldn't be a problem such as a heated cellar or garage, a layer of small stone could be put into the bottom, then a layer of landscape cloth over that and finally a layer of fine sand. No more water problems. Then it would just be the poop. You would either have to take a layer of the sand out with a kitty litter scoop when it gets bad or when they have their bath time, wash it out with a hose. Since I have neither option available to me, it ain't happenin' here, lol. Still, bet it would work.
  7. animalz11

    animalz11 Chirping

    Jul 20, 2012
    QLD Australia
    I lined the bottom of my brooder with Newspaper before adding the shavings, this way some of the moisture could be absorbed in the newspaper making the shavings drier for the ducklings and when I wanted to change the lot, I only had to roll it up and all of the shaving would be trapped on the inside of the newspaper, they you can stick it all in a bag and toss it. And this way I didn't have to worry about brusing out the loose shavings...

  8. jdywntr

    jdywntr Songster

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    Chick waterers are very messy for ducklings. I still have some but even the adults will just sit and splash in the water until it's empty.
    I've used puppy peepee pads before under shavings. The best thing that you can do is something like Haunted55 made. You want to control the splashing to keep the water down.

    I also have used rubbermaid type containers. You want a bigger one. I had found some that were about 6" tall and maybe 9" square and others that were about 3-4" tall and 10-11" long rectangle. Judge height by the height at the back of the ducklings but they can stretch a bit. Cut 2 or so holes in the lid, (I always did this at the edges but left corners to help with keeping it secure). The holes should be big enough for them to get their heads in but not bigger, maybe 1-1.5". You can use any type of plastic container with a lid, size should be based on how many ducklings you have and their age. You can put the ones with the holes inside of larger shallow (13x9) to control splashing.

    If you have a $1 store near you they are usually a great source for something you are going to basically destroy.
  9. CrunchyDoc

    CrunchyDoc In the Brooder

    Feb 7, 2012
    Trenton, SC
    Thanks everyone for all the thoughtful responses. We had some weather in the mid 60s today and I put them out in the garden in a large dog crate to get some fresh out. "Stink like farts" is right. It wouldn't be so bad if I could keep the bedding dry. Has anyone tried brooding on wire mesh with some type of easy to clean capture system below? I'm going to have to build something soon because these little devils are doubling in size every 3-4 days and I have 12 more eggs in the incubator set to hatch in 3 weeks.... AHHHHH! What was I thinking hatching ducklings in the middle of the winter?

  10. aoxa

    aoxa Crowing

    I've messaged Celtic. She broods call ducks in wire bottom pens. I sent this thread to her. If anyone knows how to brood them that way, it's her.

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