Ducklings got too cold tonight

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by kristenm1975, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. kristenm1975

    kristenm1975 Songster

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    Jul 23, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    They were hatched out by a devoted Silkie chicken and she's been trying to be a good momma, even though this is her first time hatching out anything. Tonight though, it got down to 52 degrees at my place and the ducklings were not under her when I went to check on them before bed. They were huddled in a dark corner of the coop on wet material.

    I gathered them all up and made a sad decision to take them away from the hen, for now anyway, and have them spend the night in my chick brooder where the temp is always 80 degrees.

    When I went to gather them out of the coop, they were sluggish, and they were peeping more quietly than usual. I'm really afraid they've gotten too cold and will be ill. Should I administer a little sugar water? They are in a brooder with chicks of various ages. I don't want to throw them off, but do want to make sure the ducklings get what they need.

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
     
  2. 10ducks

    10ducks Songster

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    May 22, 2009
    Dexter, Michigan
    Ducklings need to be between 86 and 90 degrees F for the first week. They will be too cold at 80 degrees, especially if they are damp. And yes, I would give them some warm (not hot) sugar water to give them energy and help warm them. Good luck!
     
  3. DuckyBoys

    DuckyBoys Songster

    Apr 2, 2008
    Colorado
    My ducklings stay outside and they do fine - 80 degrees should be plenty, heck, I dont' even think we've HAD an 80 degree day yet! [​IMG]

    You could give sugar water if you are worried, but I'd bet anything that 15 minutes under the heat lamp and they'll be ready to go back outside.

    I had a few goslings that got out of the barn the other night and made their way into the duck pool but then couldn't get out. I arrived on scene in the nic of time to pull them out. One was on his last little legs, but literally 10 minutes under the lamp and he was back ouside with mom running around like a crazy goose.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2009
  4. 10ducks

    10ducks Songster

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    May 22, 2009
    Dexter, Michigan
    I'm assuming that your ducklings are just hatched. If they are older, they can be colder. But every source from Holderread to Cornell says that they need to be warmer than 80 degrees at first.

    Holderread: The correct brooding temperature is 90-92o F the first 3 days and 85-90o F for days 4 to7. Thereafter, drop the brooding temperature approximately 5o F per week. Birds must always be able to get away from the heat source to avoid the damaging effects of overheating.

    and

    http://www.duckhealth.com/housmngt.html is Cornell University's Duck Research Laboratory Duck Care page, and they recommend 86 degrees for the first week.

    Of course, if your ducklings are back with the broody hen, it's a whole different set of circumstances. And ducklings are hardy little things and can withstand environments far different than the optimum, especially if they can stay dry and out of the wind.

    How are they doing?
     
  5. Sweetfolly

    Sweetfolly Songster

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    Apr 17, 2009
    Kildare, Wisconsin
    Quote:I know that's what all the duck literature out there says, but my mallard duckling, Rainstorm, was uncomfortable and panted if the brooder temp got over 83 during his first week - and I verified the temp with 3 different thermometers, each of which was also checked against our home thermostat!
    I think there's a little leeway there, and it's better to go by the duckling's behavior more than what the thermometer says.
     
  6. 10ducks

    10ducks Songster

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    May 22, 2009
    Dexter, Michigan
    Annarie, I definitely agree with you about letting the duckling's behavior be your guide. I used a kiddie pool brooder setup, so the temp under the infrared lamp was "by the book," but the ducklings had plenty of room to move out away from the lamp if they were too hot.
     
  7. kristenm1975

    kristenm1975 Songster

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    Jul 23, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Thanks for all the advice! The ducklings are doing well, and enjoying temps in the 80's, nicely situated in my chick brooder.

    They are nearing two weeks old now and I'm about ready for them to be elsewhere however, as they are turning my previously neutral smelling brooder into a smelly swamp.

    What would you recommend for a transition home for them until they're old enough to be in the coop?
     

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