Duck starter Tips Please

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by thaiturkey, Sep 26, 2010.

  1. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Last evening we unexpectedly found ourselves in possession of four very small chicks. I shall do plenty of research but, in the meantime, these babies need care. If experts here would be happy to share some basic starter tips to get us going today, I'd be very grateful.

    Here's some background information to put this into some context.

    We have kept and bred turkeys since earlier this year and, the other day, bought some laying hens. So, we have a basic knowledge of poultry keeping. I have a feeling that the ducks will present some different issues, though.

    Friends who own a restaurant told us when we were there last evening that their employees had earlier found four chicks running all over the restaurant. The place is open and there is water close by, including a couple of ponds in front of the restaurant. The chicks were put somewhere safe and, a few hours later, there was still no sign of their mother. It has to be assumed that these ducks are from the wild in that area. Our friends are busy people and have no good way to take care of the chicks. My wife has so far not wanted ducks but she's a sucker for babies of any kind so we brought them home!

    They spent last night indoors here in a small birdcage. We have a small horseshoe shaped pond in the garden which I drained because our poults kept falling into it. It now has a few inches of rainwater, some dry areas and lots of lovely green slimy stuff. Part is it a re covered with wire mesh to keep out the turkeys and the channel is about a yard deep with vertical sides. We carefully put the chicks into the water this morning and they were off exploring and feeding. I don't know whether it will be safe to leave them there over night.

    We have a bigger and deeper lake but its more of a run-off sump for the rainy season and dries out in the winter.

    Temperatures here are 25C plus except for a few nights each January. Day time temperatures can reach 35C or more.

    I have no idea what to feed the chicks or whether they will need medication. At the moment there is no home for them by the pond and we would have to catch them and put them in our storeroom every evening if they had to be indoors. The pond is safe for them, I think, unless a passing cat saw them in the dark. Perhaps, being wild, they will fly off to find a new home when they are old enough.

    I don't know how old they are but they are very small. They do seem to know what's what and have no fear. They are very dark brown with cream bib, stripe on the head and patches on the wings. The nearest guess I can make at the breed from Googling is Muscovy Duck.

    Any tips would be very helpful for us and the little chaps, please.

    Thank you.
     
  2. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I need to correct something I wrote. The lighter coloured patches are blue/grey rather than cream.
     
  3. KansasKid

    KansasKid Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 7, 2010
    South East Kansas
    Ok first thing about your new ducklings, no medicated feed. If there is a place that sells feed around you can get waterfowl grower or game bird feed. If you cannot get this at first, you can crunch up cheerios and give that to them along with chopped lettuce or other greens. If you want to post a picture I'm sure some of us could take a shot at what breed it is.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2010
  4. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Many thanks.

    I'm off to the feed shop in a few minutes.

    Will post some pics. tomorrow.
     
  5. tia

    tia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 19, 2009
    Valdez, Alaska
    If they are young and still have their down they will have to be kept warm. You want their brooder to be about 90 degrees.. then turn it down 5 degrees each week. Most people keep a light above it to give them warmth and then move it farther away as they grow. They need water to drink and you want to make sure that their water dish is not too deep or they could get into it and drown. When they have food they must also have drinking water. I use towels for bedding and wash them out every day. Some people use pine shavings. Sometimes they try to eat pine shavings which is not a good thing. Do not use cedar shavings... it will give them respiratory problems.
    I use a Rubbermaid tub for a brooder. You may want to put a wire lid on it. What I use for a drinking bowl is a plastic tub used for butter. I wash it out and cut about 1/3 of the top out (just enough for them to stick their little head in and get a drink) that way they don't fall in and drown. I also put two big marbles in there to weigh it down so it doesn't spill easily... rocks would work too. This site is a great source for information. You can do a search for things if you have any questions too. I was given a mallard someone found running around inside the local airport this summer. It has been fun - but now it wants to fly. : ) Good Luck. There are lots of helpful people on here, so don't hesitate to ask. Someone is bound to have an answer.
     
  6. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Many thanks tia. [​IMG]
     

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