DIY brooder... Look ok??

JillZaHulk

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Oct 4, 2019
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We have Pekin eggs possibly a couple crossed with Mallard and/or khaki set to hatch starting today. We've never incubated and hatched eggs ourselves so what do you think?! Does this look like an ok set up? Is there anything else we might need? Yes we have a bulb for the lamp and a dish for water just not pictured. Oh and the lamp will be mounted above the crate. Right now I just have it set on top.
 

Pyxis

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Looks pretty good! Instead of a water dish, you might want to make a special waterer for them. You can do it by cutting a small hole for them to stick their heads through in a gallon milk jug, or cutting a hole in the lid of a cottage cheese container. It keeps the water mess way down, which you're definitely going to want :)

I'd also suggest a different feed. 24% protein is a bit high - ducklings can be prone to angel wing if they're fed anything that's too high protein. Experts say that 25% is generally getting too high, but 24% is pretty close. Also, that feed, being meant for chicks that aren't waterfowl, likely will not have enough niacin.

If you're looking to buy just a small bag, Purina now makes a duck feed that I know they sell in small bags in Tractor Supply. It comes in small pellets that ducklings should be able to manage. Personally, I like to use Naturewise Meatbird. It's got added niacin, and the protein is safer at 22%. It only comes in a 40 pound bag, but you can feed it to them for their whole lives.

Or, you could get regular DuMor chick starter/grower, but you'll want to add niacin in some form, to be safe.
 

JillZaHulk

Songster
Oct 4, 2019
100
209
106
Western Washington State
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Looks pretty good! Instead of a water dish, you might want to make a special waterer for them. You can do it by cutting a small hole for them to stick their heads through in a gallon milk jug, or cutting a hole in the lid of a cottage cheese container. It keeps the water mess way down, which you're definitely going to want :)

I'd also suggest a different feed. 24% protein is a bit high - ducklings can be prone to angel wing if they're fed anything that's too high protein. Experts say that 25% is generally getting too high, but 24% is pretty close. Also, that feed, being meant for chicks that aren't waterfowl, likely will not have enough niacin.

If you're looking to buy just a small bag, Purina now makes a duck feed that I know they sell in small bags in Tractor Supply. It comes in small pellets that ducklings should be able to manage. Personally, I like to use Naturewise Meatbird. It's got added niacin, and the protein is safer at 22%. It only comes in a 40 pound bag, but you can feed it to them for their whole lives.

Or, you could get regular DuMor chick starter/grower, but you'll want to add niacin in some form, to be safe.
This feed says chick on the front but it claims it is for all poultry and this one is starter/grower. I got it at tractor supply and had a guy who seemed to know what he was talking about helping me. He could only find this and the dumor chick starter 20% but their poultry section seems a bit unorganised to me. I won't open it till I have to but tomorrow I'll go to Walmart and see what options I have there. ... And I just checked and there is no niacin listed on the one I got so I will be returning or exchanging it.

I was looking at Pinterest for water and feeder ideas and was actually considering the milk jug thing you mentioned. I also saw this idea where the food and water is over a separate tray with what looks like a cooling rack for the mess to fall thru. I might incorporate that into my set up as well. (Pin pic attached)
 

Muscovy Wunda

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Yes baby duckies love their water! That looks like a good kind of set up. I just had a thin container and drilled holes in for drainage and it worked a treat with the water. They weren't too bad with their crumble. Depending where you are you may be able to find a real duckling starter mix, sometimes they just take extra searching. Looks like you have a great little set up
 

gtaus

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Does this look like an ok set up? Is there anything else we might need? Yes we have a bulb for the lamp and a dish for water just not pictured. Oh and the lamp will be mounted above the crate. Right now I just have it set on top.
Looks like you will have a nice setup there. I can't tell how big your brooder is, but I would make sure that the ducklings have a place to get away from the heat lamp if it gets too hot. If your brooder is small, you can either raise the heat lamp and/or use a lower wattage bulb. Or, maybe point the heat lamp into one corner leaving the other part of the brooder as a cooler zone. I always slept better at night knowing that the little ones could find their sweet spot for comfort.

I always used a thermometer under the heat lamp to see how hot it was and tried to follow the recommendations based on age of the bird, raising the lamp each week to reduce the heat.

I would not use a water dish, ducklings get everything wet. I had better luck with a waterer where they could dip their bills, but not jump in for a swim.

I did not see any grit. I have been told you should always have grit available to the ducklings. They might not need grit to digest their starter feed, but sometimes they eat some of their bedding, and that could stuff them up if they don't have grit to help with their digestion. So I always had grit in a side dish for them and never had any problems.

I always secured my heat lamps two ways. Maybe use the clamp and a hanging chain, or two chains. I never, ever, trust the clamps by themselves. Although you have wire on the top of your brooder, the clamp on the heat lamp could fail and the heat lamp could end up on the floor posing a fire hazard. I always used an additional safety chain in case that clamp failed.

I hope you update this thread with some more pictures when your ducklings hatch. Best wishes.
 

JillZaHulk

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Oct 4, 2019
100
209
106
Western Washington State
Looks like you will have a nice setup there. I can't tell how big your brooder is, but I would make sure that the ducklings have a place to get away from the heat lamp if it gets too hot. If your brooder is small, you can either raise the heat lamp and/or use a lower wattage bulb. Or, maybe point the heat lamp into one corner leaving the other part of the brooder as a cooler zone. I always slept better at night knowing that the little ones could find their sweet spot for comfort.

I always used a thermometer under the heat lamp to see how hot it was and tried to follow the recommendations based on age of the bird, raising the lamp each week to reduce the heat.

I would not use a water dish, ducklings get everything wet. I had better luck with a waterer where they could dip their bills, but not jump in for a swim.

I did not see any grit. I have been told you should always have grit available to the ducklings. They might not need grit to digest their starter feed, but sometimes they eat some of their bedding, and that could stuff them up if they don't have grit to help with their digestion. So I always had grit in a side dish for them and never had any problems.

I always secured my heat lamps two ways. Maybe use the clamp and a hanging chain, or two chains. I never, ever, trust the clamps by themselves. Although you have wire on the top of your brooder, the clamp on the heat lamp could fail and the heat lamp could end up on the floor posing a fire hazard. I always used an additional safety chain in case that clamp failed.

I hope you update this thread with some more pictures when your ducklings hatch. Best wishes.
Thank you for the suggestions. I was actually going to ask about grit. I have some for the older ducks but I will get some for the babies too.

Also I love your suggestion about the double security for the lamp. We're still coming up with ideas on how to secure the lamp in place and make it adjustable. Also the thermometer suggestion. Thank you.

View attachment 1973967 View attachment 1973965 Dog crates make nice brooders too if you happen to have some or can borrow I actually put 2 together with tie wraps then put old window screen over the top of them. This was the home made waterer I made and they never crawled into it like they can the milk jug. lol
Great idea for the waterer. I've got lots of those Rubbermaid Tupperware. Maybe I’ll do that for both water and crumbles. And the disposable pee pads are genius. I wish I would’ve thought of that before getting messy shavings lol

depending on what kind of lamp set up we can come up with I may just have to put a sideways box or something in there as a covered area for them to hide from the lights heat. The space we have the brooder and incubator is limited and it’s just inside our front door but it is an area the kids won’t bump it and the cats won’t mess with it. Probably the only safe place for it other than out in the barn, but that’s too cold right now. This pic was about a month ago when my husband built the bench. I’ll try and get a pic in a bit how it is with the incubator and brooder right now.
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gtaus

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I was actually going to ask about grit. I have some for the older ducks but I will get some for the babies too.
I live on a lake, so I just used sand as grit for the first 8(?) weeks for my chickens. That would probably work for your ducklings until they can eat the larger grit for the older birds. I think #1 grit for chicks is about the same size as sand and, where I live, most people just use sand for those first ~8 weeks.
 
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