Ducklings hatched during the night!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by poultrynoob, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. poultrynoob

    poultrynoob New Egg

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    Nov 29, 2012
    Hey, I'm new.

    A few months ago I moved to a rental property shared with a guy that has ducks and chickens. Looking after them sort of became my job as I am very much an animal person and all he was feeding them was bread.

    Anyway, he asked me to stop bringing the duck eggs up as he wanted the females to get broody and breed some ducklings. So I did. The female layed so many eggs we had to take half of them out from under her and let the clucky chickens sit on them for her!

    A month later and 3 of the eggs under the chickens have hatched into beautiful little ducklings! BUT I have never owned ducks and chickens (let alone BABY ones) so I have no idea how to look after them.

    I cleaned their bedding out and put a shallow dish of mushy copra (my horse feed) down for them and a shallow dish of water for them to swim and drink from. They don't seem to come out to either though....do I just leave them be?? Do they need a rap to get out?? Should I seperate them from the chickens still on eggs?? Should I give them to the actual mother duck who hasn't actually had any eggs under her hatch??

    Any help apreciated!!!!!!!!!!

    Pic included to you get an idea of the "situation" lol:


    [​IMG]

    PS: There are 10 chickens and 5 ducks all together. This is in part of their enclosure but they are free range (2 acres approx) during the day.
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Welcome!

    If the mother hen is taking care of the ducklings, you should be fine, but here are some alternatives, because ducklings are different in many ways from chicks. For example, ducklings, I am told, grow much faster than chicks and you don't want chicks trampled on after a week or two. Also ducklings need three times the niacin chicks need.

    Ducklings need to be able to wash at least their heads frequently to avoid eye, nose, and sinus infections. Giving them an opportunity to bathe is good for them IF the water is warm (like, 85 to 90F at least the first couple of weeks) and they are watched constantly and they are taken from the water at the first sign of getting tired. They can get waterlogged and drown. Right after bathtime, they need to be placed in a clean, dry, warm brooder. If they don't start preening, wipe them dry with a clean dry washcloth.

    There is starter food for ducklings, and if you cannot find that, use unmedicated chick starter (many people feel that medicated with amprolium is okay) but add either a sprinkling of brewer's yeast to the food or add 100 mg of niacin (plain, not no-flush or time release) to each gallon of their drinking water.

    Neurological and internal development is healthier with optimal nutrition early on.

    Many people separate ducklings into a brooder where their environment can be better controlled, and they can be watched. But many people let the mother ducks handle it. Not all duck moms, especially first timers, are any good at mothering. So watch for trouble and if it looks iffy, remove the ducklings to a brooder and take over.

    Ducklings need to be warm (lots of variation of opinion about that), like 90F the first week, dropping 5 degrees F per week till they are okay at the natural air temperature. Going into winter you need to watch that.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
  3. poultrynoob

    poultrynoob New Egg

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    Nov 29, 2012
    Thanks for the reply!

    Thankfully there aren't any chicks as we don't own a rooster. Oh, and it's going into summer here so the days are scorching! 35 degrees or over...

    I might well take them away from the mamas as all the mom's are doing are continuing to sit on the un-hatched eggs and the ducklings never come out for food or water!

    PS: What is niacin?
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    NIacin is a B vitamin required for proper nervous system development. Some ducklings are sensitive to a lack of it, and it can cause lameness, seizures, or death. It is an interesting thing to me because while one research paper I read concluded ducklings do just fine on chick starter, I read story after story of ducklings with leg and seizure problems recovering once niacin is introduced into their diet. So, I have developed the opinion that sensitivity to niacin deficiency varies.
     
  5. poultrynoob

    poultrynoob New Egg

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    Nov 29, 2012
    Well yesterday went well. I "stole" all 5 ducklings and put them in a seperate container with food and water. I ended up buying a really fine layer mash as the produce didn't keep any food for ducks under the age of 4 weeks!? Anyway, they were so happy to eat, drink and swim. When they were done I put them back with the chickens to go get warm again.

    This morning wasn't as cheery though...3 of the duckling obviously strayed from their "moms" and got half eaten by rats. I'm so upset :(

    A new one hatched though so that leaves us with 3 ducklings again. I'll just keep doing what I'm doing...
     
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    I would bring the ducklings into a safe brooder.
     
  7. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Or at least leave them with the hen so they aren't eaten alive by rats.
     
  8. poultrynoob

    poultrynoob New Egg

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    Nov 29, 2012
    Lol ummm they were with the hens if you read properly. And yes Amiga, we have decided to close up the barrel each night now!
     
  9. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You are doing what I meant. Closing them up so they can't wander. Congrats on the babies.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2012
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  10. poultrynoob

    poultrynoob New Egg

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    Ok so ducklings had their first night in a brooder last night. We picked one of the chickens to go in with them as there were actually 3 who thought they were the mother. They have buckets with holes cut in the sides for food and water so that they can get in for a feed/swim but chicken mom can't keep tipping them over! I will ad photos later :)

    Oh, and yesterday another duckling hatched but I was so sure it was going to die as I found it about a meter away from the nest with blood all over it. Mother duck must have rejected it for some reason. I brought it inside and warmed it up for a few hours. Later on it just suddenly awoke from it's coma and was cherping away so I put it with it's siblings and chicken mom and this morning it's just as healthy and happy as the rest, only smaller and still a bit sleepy. So there are 5 ducklings now, 5 adult ducks and 10 chickens that I'm looking after but they aren't even mine!
     

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