First Time Duck Owners! Lots of questions!!


In the Brooder
Dec 21, 2015
Hey everyone! We are first time duck owners! A local 2nd grade school teacher has a farm of her own, and has done two different hatchings of ducklings as a part of her science unit to teach her students about life cycles and so on. She doesn't have the time or space to take care of these new ducklings, so she is giving them away to anyone who wants to take care of them and give them a safe and happy home. Unfortunately, only 1 duckling out of 8 hatched and survived. That duckling is ours, and will be coming home to us next Wednesday. We are so excited! We originally wanted 4, but will make do with this one and add a few more come spring.

When we thought we were getting 4, we were planning on setting up a space in our garage for them for the winter, heat lamp and all, for the winter and then purchasing or building a coop in the spring and housing them safely outside. Now that we are only getting one, we are thinking of keeping him inside through the winter. We were considering housing him in a large plastic tote, rabbit cage, or aquarium of some sort with no cover on it, so it would house him, his water, and his food, along with containing the mess of course, and seeming as we have 4 kiddos, he would get plenty of play time and socialization inside, and we wouldn't have to worry about him being okay in the garage through the cold months of winter, as we live in Vermont. I am prepared to change the bedding and what not daily, whether the duck is inside the house or in our garage. I am also concerned about the heat lamp being used in the garage where if, God forbid, a fire was to start from that, we wouldn't know until it was perhaps too late, where if he was inside the house, we would know immediately. I know that is probably me worrying too much, but a friend of ours just lost their home, their vehicle, and everything in it as a result of the use of a heat lamp outside in their chicken coop near their home, so it worries me.

Would a tote inside me okay for the one duck through the winter? Would he be able to jump out at all at any time before spring came or not really? Does anybody have any other suggestions or tips? We are new at this but want to be successful! Perhaps it is good that we only ended up with 1 right now, so by the time spring comes and we add a few more ducks to our property, we will be experts! ;) Oh, and by the way, we only have about 1 acre of land, a fairly sizable back and front yard but a good portion of our land is wooded and wetlands, so space is fairly limited as far as outside time. Oh, and can we take the duckling outside in the winter to waddle around a bit in the snow, or is that a no no?



Overrun with Runners
12 Years
Jan 3, 2010
Southern New England
Hi, welcome!

No snow walks for ducklings
Glad you asked!

Ducklings can jump, so their housing must prevent that.

Kiddos need to understand how fragile ducklings are. I have read of well meaning but overzealous kids:

Feeding treats till ducklings vomit or till their necks engorge
Dropping wiggly duckling from a few feet height
Stepping on, sitting on, rolling over on ducklings
Letting the cat or dog in - which then goes for the duckling
Grabbing ducklings improperly

And many kids do well - but all kinds of things can happen. So based on that, train and supervise and it should be okay.

Some ducks cuddle, some panic when held. Each is unique. Holding a duckling won't always calm it.

There is a Sticky (link at top of Duck Forum in blue letters) on Raising Ducklings. Please read the first post.

Two good books are The Ultimate Pet Duck Guidebook and Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks.

A rabbit hutch with towel over the wire mesh bottom and a pan underneath to catch spills is what tweetysvoice - or was it 70%cocoa - used for a brooder.
Last edited:


Jul 20, 2015
New England USA
I brooded four ducklings in my bathtub. It wasn't what i planned to do. I was going to use an oversize dog surgery crate for brooding but the ducklings were squeezing themselves through the tiny squares on the side of the crate.

I liked brooding in my bathtub. They were a lot more involved with us. The tub made it easy to deal with water mess and poop mess. Ducks make lots of stink-- wet food stink, duck poop stink et c. so being able to easily clean up was great.

Ducklings make a lot of noise. If local laws and personal situation allows I would encourage you to get two ducks minimum so they can bond together and reduce the noise. Expect them to quack for you when they want food. attention, loves, etc. when they're a couple of weeks old. If you're ordering from a hatchery they will probably require 3 minimum purchase for delivery.

I used a brinsea flat brooder. I spent a lot of time deciding between it and a ceramic reptile lamp. The reptile lamps are supposed ot be more fire proof than heat lamps. My girls seemed happy with the flat brooder. They'd lay under neath it when they were sleeping or when they were drying off.

Ducklings can definitely jump :).

I'd recommend swim time and a small bowl of dabbling greens for activities.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom