duckling brooders?

alaskaduckgirl

In the Brooder
10 Years
Jun 11, 2009
46
3
32
Hi everyone!

I am excited to say I am getting ducks again!
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What do you guys have for brooders? I will only have 4 or 5 (I live in the city)
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so if you have any ideas on brooders that would be great!

I was also wondering about winter duck shelter and about a duck house that weasels couldn't get into, the duck will be in a 3000 sq foot grassy fenced in yard and at night they will be in their duck house. Though about half of it is steeeeep, the bottom part is pretty flat.

Thanks,
Alaskaduckgirl
 

dieselgrl48

Songster
9 Years
Feb 21, 2010
1,076
5
149
Virginia
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I have just been using a rubbermaid tote basicaly for a brooder for ducks and everything else.I just make sure when I use the clamp light heat fixture to wire the lamp fixture to the tote by drilling a hole in the top of box.They are easy to clean unlike carboard boxes etc.We used to brood so many duckling's at one time so had severeal graduation boxes etc. for them.We had 2 large wooden brooders built into our horse stall which We used for showing the duckling's for sale and then 2 seperate large We called "Kindergarten" fenced pens on the ground with shavings once they were ground ready.I mainly raised standard ducks with the exception of a few call's and they withstand winter very well.I have 2 domesticated mallard drakes that stayed out all winter on pond and refused to go to shelter.They should do fine in the area you have my breeders had in past free ranged during the day and always went back to their area at night. Good luck with you duckies.
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Amiga

Overrun with Runners
Jan 3, 2010
23,213
2,818
551
Southern New England
I am using quite a bit of half inch hardware cloth. I am told weasels can get through a one inch diameter opening, so half-inch should do it, with regular inspections to make sure the wire remains intact.

For brooding, I started my eleven with a 4 ft long Rubbermaid tub, about 2 feet wide and 2 feet tall (Brooder I). I covered it with hardware cloth, and set ceramic heat lamps on top. One advantage to having hardware cloth under the lamps is that if a bulb pops, fewer shards can rain down.

For bedding, I use old towels. It is a little bit of a chore, but really, not that bad. I change them about three times a day, shake the loose stuff onto the garden, rinse the crumbles off in the tub (it is winter here, otherwise I would use the hose outside), pop them into the washer (I am so grateful we have a washer!) and hang them out to dry.

At about two weeks of age, the ducklings had grown so much I decided it was time for Brooder II. It is an eight panel puppy playpen, enclosing about 16 square feet. I set it on 6 mil plastic sheets over a sheet of cardboard, then lined the interior with plastic poultry fencing because they were small enough to get out or at least get stuck between the playpen wires (which are coated). I use an old sheet as a draft guard. I can get into the brooder with them (when I change to clean towels), so that they are comfortable with me working around them and handling them. I sit with them a while, and they crawl into my lap and snuggle around me.

Brooder II should do them for a few more weeks. They have room to sleep, room to run, room to eat and drink. Should the weather remain cold, Brooder III will be eight more panels, in the basement (which has a good finished floor but remains about 50 degrees F in the winter and early spring). I will need netting or something on top to prevent cat incursions. Once the weather turns reliably (ha ha) warmer, and they are in full feather and have had a chance to harden off with outdoor time, their shelter (scheduled to be built in three weeks) should be ready for them and they for it.

The gallon-capacity waterer (which they needed at about day 10) sits on an overturned ricotta cheese tub in a large stainless steel salad bowl. That catches much of the splash, and is a little taller (they are nearing a foot tall already, at two and a half weeks old).

I have a couple of other ricotta tubs with head and should sized holes cut in the lids for face washing.

I sprinkle a little grit in with their food.
 

1lpoock

Spruce Creek Waterfowl
10 Years
Apr 20, 2009
1,991
25
171
Sandusky, Ohio
Here is a picture of our brooders

We have the burlap or paper towels down the first day or so, then just have wood chips from then on.

DSCN2623.jpg
 
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Baybrio

Songster
12 Years
Jun 11, 2008
468
87
226
Poplar Grove, IL
These are my first ducks and I'm so thrilled that I could get ideas from all of you. I started with the plastic tubs. It was clear I had too many ducklings for that to work for long.

I used WADEMD's idea (this is the link: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=3704817#p3704817 ) I changed two things, I put the door on the side so I could reach all areas of the pen. I also covered the floor on one end with hardware cloth and made it so I could slide a plastic tray in and out from under the hardware cloth. That is were the water goes - I am very glad I did that. I have 11 little crested Rouens that are now 2 1/2 weeks old - they are going through three gallons of water a day!!!! A lot ends up in the plastic tray. I'm using a gallon chicken waterer. At least they are having fun. The rest of the floor is covered in pine wood shavings which I cover with paper towels and change a few times a day. I tried the towels but I couldn't get enough of the wood shavings off and they did not do well in the washing machine. (actually the wood shavings came out of the wash very clean - but this was not what I was looking for).
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I'll try and post pics - its not pretty but it seems to be working well.
 

Amiga

Overrun with Runners
Jan 3, 2010
23,213
2,818
551
Southern New England
Dances,

Sorry it took a few days - I am duckbrain!

Here is the salad bowl with ricotta tub (in use, so you can see the splashed water). I have holes cut in the top (which is now the bottom) of the plastic tub so that water will slowly seep into it, making more room for splash water.

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And here is the waterer in place.

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Amiga

Overrun with Runners
Jan 3, 2010
23,213
2,818
551
Southern New England
The bowl holds almost a gallon without overflowing.

Overnight last night, the ducklings almost emptied the waterer. Either it tipped itself over a little, or they tipped it, but they could still drink even though they had splashed or drunk most of the water out of the waterer, so it is almost like "reserve" on my motorcycle gas tank
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And, there was no big puddle to clean up - there is enough water in the bowl to keep it upright.

So far, so good. They will probably need another one before too long, because they continue to grow like the proverbial weeds. And I am enjoying this little adventure.
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By the way, another option not quite as "advanced," but it served me well for a couple of weeks, is the old two-piece-broiler-pan-under-the-waterer-with-washcloth arrangement (the washcloth goes on top of the broiler pan for traction and additional absorption). They cannot get to the splashed water, and it is a little tricky to avoid spills when you pick it up to empty it, but in a pinch, a broiler pan catches water nicely.
 

Sweetfolly

Songster
10 Years
Apr 17, 2009
2,123
61
191
Kildare, Wisconsin
Here's mine - it's quite similar to 1lpoock's set-up:

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They'd pretty much outgrown the brooder in the picture - they were only in it during the night, and I had a run set up for them outside during the day (it was in July/August, so it was plenty warm for them out in the sun). I separated and moved them into two separate wire dog crates (still with heat lamps) pretty soon after this picture was taken, until they were ready to move outside.
 

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