Duck Newbie

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by JPinVT, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. JPinVT

    JPinVT Songster

    Apr 29, 2010
    Hi all! My mom works at an elementary school where the kindergarteners hatched duckling this year, and their teacher was having trouble finding homes for them. Of course, as soon as I heard, I said I'd take them! So this weekend I'm picking up 18 ducklings that are 2 weeks old. I think they're Pekins - the teacher didn't know what breed they are, but they're simple yellow babies, so I'm guessing Pekin is most likely.

    Anyhoo, I've never had ducks before (only chickens), so I've got quite a few questions! First some more info:

    I'm planning to put the ducklings in a 6x8' stall in the barn until they're ready to go outside. The barn floor is concrete. I live in Vermont where it's been 50s-80s during the day and 30s-60s at night over the past week, but it'll be getting warmer and staying that way soon. I have a small pond on my property that will freeze over during the winter. We plan to keep probably 1 male and 3-5 females - the rest will either be sold or slaughtered in the fall.

    Now the questions:

    What do I use for bedding in the barn? I was going to use pine shavings like with my chicks, but I read that ducklings will eat them and choke - is that true? I can't see myself covering that much area with towels and washing them every day!

    How long will they need to stay inside? Will they outgrow the 6x8' stall before they're ready to be moved? What kind of square footage do they need in a coop/house? Is it possible to keep chickens and ducks in the same coop? I have a 12x15' coop with only 7 chickens in it that free-range (I plan to free-range the ducks too), and the coop is right next to the pond.

    What can I do in the winter when their pond freezes (and don't say put them in the barn - my husband would kill me!) Do they really need a place to swim, or could they just deal with no water for the winter (they'd have water to drink, obviously)?

    If there's anything else I should know, please tell me! Thanks so much!!
  2. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Crowing

    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    hmm.. we used shaving with our muscovies... not only for our brooder but now that there outside living in there pen we covered the dog(aka duck LOL) house floor with shavings to... [​IMG] we didn't have any issues.. i mean they pecked the odd time at them but none choked?

    I couldn't think of another thing that would have worked as well....
  3. JulieNKC

    JulieNKC Crowing

    Sep 25, 2010
    Kansas City
    I think they are old enough that shavings would be fine. Mine went out at 4 weeks old, I couldn't take the mess anymore. [​IMG] Mine stay in the same coop, if you only have a few in the winter I think they would be fine in the coop with your chickens. I think all you need to worry about is drinking water in the winter. They don't need to swim, just need to have water available they can dip their bills in to clear their noses.
  4. AdamD77

    AdamD77 Songster

    Jul 1, 2010
    Bedfordshire, England
    Hello and welcome to the wonderful world of ducks! [​IMG]

    Quote:Pekin is probably most likely as it is a very common breed, but off the top of my head Campbells, Runners, Calls, Muscovies and Aylesburies all come in white too!

    Quote:I have always used straw (wheat straw) and have not had any problem with it. Towels would be an absolute nightmare with ducklings! Some people use shavings without problems, I'll let them give you advice on that..

    Quote:Well, you can either install some sort of heater to keep the water from freezing or just smash the ice every morning (and if it's cold enough to freeze during the day then during the day when it needs it, though if they go in it a lot it should stop it from freezing..). Ducks can get by without swimming water, but they need drinking water and water deep enough to clear their nostrils and wash their eyes, so as long as they have that they should be okay.

    Good luck with your new babies! [​IMG]
  5. JPinVT

    JPinVT Songster

    Apr 29, 2010
    Thanks so much for the quick replies! The chicken coop has electricity, and I heat the chickens' water so it doesn't freeze in the winter... even had heat lights in the coop last year, but I don't think they actually needed it. It would be so much simpler to keep them in there - hooray! I don't think there's a chance in... heck... of keeping the pond unfrozen in the winter - my husband drives over it, so it gets several feet of ice on it!

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