Ducklings that get soaking wet and have trouble fluffing/drying up


Nov 15, 2018

So I hatched out 18 'seemingly healthy' ducklings.
However, 2 among these have a bit of problem.
These 2 ducklings get soaking wet (and they did it out of my sight.), and I mean totally soaking wet, kinda like when they were just born but maybe worse.
The others do get wet but at most only on their stomachs, and even there not looking soak-ly at all.
These 2 also have trouble drying/fluffing up themselves, they just lie down, chilled, while the others just casually preen themselves away when wet.
When they are soaking wet they can't bring themselves to get up to eat.
Is there anything that may be causing this?
Well I know having water bowl they can get in is one reason, but then the other ones take turns getting in and out without problem.

ps. I'm not sure if they are just 2 that somehow only change position when I am away, or if there's actually a few more that take turns getting soaking wet. Probably just the 2, though.


7 Years
Jul 18, 2013
Kalispell MT
Ducklings are not waterproof. That fluff absorbs water. You just happen to have 2 that absorb water more than the others. Ducklings should never be allowed to swim unattended. They are not waterproof and can drown at that age. They must be carefully monitored when near water until they are fully feathered.

You should change your water dish to one that only has an opening for their heads until they are older. I used milk jugs and/or those cheap plastic containers to store leftovers. Would cut an appropriate sized hole, at the right height when using the milk jug, each week as they grew.

Miss Lydia

~Gift of God ~ Eternal Life ~John 3:16
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Oct 3, 2009
Mountains of Western N.C.


Jul 26, 2014
Like others have said, young ducklings should never have a water dish they can get into and get all wet. Just a hole big enough for them to get their heads through to clear out their nares and wash their face. They can have supervised bath time of course, but just short ones until they are a bit older, and they should go right back under a heat lamp afterwards to dry off and stay warm. If you find any that are weak and wet like that, take them out and use a blow-dryer on low heat (not too close to the duckling of course to get them too hot) to dry them off and warm them up quickly. Ducklings can chill and die very quickly. The two that keep getting wet and not preening themselves are probably already weaker than the others and need a little extra care from you to help them keep warm and dry. Good luck! :)


Nov 15, 2018
Sorry all I should have checked more carefully. Maybe they were wet at some point, but upon touch, they were actually already dry and their down felt like they were coated with dried up gunk/mud, they were all hardened. They were actually already fluffed up once after I washed them off the egg gunk after helping them out of the egg. They were even properly walking around, but somehow they look like they got gunk all over again. One already died yesterday and the other one is still lying down unable to get up. I think I'll cull it. This means I only have 16 healthy chicks out of 24 eggs. I'm only keeping 3 anyway though so it's ok.


Life’s a garden: dig it.
Apr 30, 2018
Nova scotia
Are they wet too long? I only let mine bath once a day for 20 minuts then back to heatlamp. And thats when their 3 or more days old not new borns

Is your heatlamp proper temp?

Did you let them hatch then rest in the incubator till they were up and dry?

Is the heatlamp an actual bulb or do they get dark times to rest?

little sugar water or Pedialyte might make a world of difference... And B complex vitamines or my favorite is Prime bird vitamins

And make soup out of your crumbles with warm water, and any water you give them should be luke warm

I have little to no experience but i read and focus on the best and brightest of BYC


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