First time Ducky Daddy

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by earltheman, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. earltheman

    earltheman In the Brooder

    Feb 18, 2013
    Washington State
    So as of 5:30am today, I am now the proud "daddy" to three 2-day old Khaki Campbell hens. These are my very first ducks, and I couldn't be more excited. (My wife has been quite amused at my giddiness.) I spent 2 months gathering info and "lurking" on this forum, before I dived in and ordered 3 ducklings from Metzer Farms.

    I spent a few days planning what to do for a brooder, and this is what I eventually settled on. This was largely inspired by ideas I got from this BackyardChicken article on duckling care.



    The brooder itself is a 66 qt storage bin that used to be full of junk out in my garage. I set the feeder and waterer on top of a small baking pan, covered with hardware cloth. I went with 1/4" hardware cloth that I picked up at Home Depot, because the 1/2" cloth looked like the holes might be too big for the ducklings tiny feet. The baking pan takes up about half of the plastic storage tub, and I am using straw on the other half. For a heat lamp, I am using a 150 watt "Night Black Heat" incandescent bulb. And I mounted a small round thermometer on the wall of the storage tub near the bottom.

    I wasn't happy with any of the starter feeds I found at my local feed store, so I went on and ordered this stuff called "Gamebird/Showbird Complete Crumbles" made by MannaPro. It claims to be good for a variety of birds, including ducks. However it's a bit high in protein, 24% according to the label, so I'll probably start mixing it with something else to lower their overall protein intake. (Haven't decided what yet.)

    Since I have 2 cats, at first I thought I would need to keep the brooder in a closet or some other small room I could lock the cats out of. But eventually I came up with this solution, and put the entire breeder inside of a large dog kennel.

    Since that pic was taken, I have covered the top of the kennel with clear contact paper, sticky side up, to discourage the cats from hanging out on top of the kennel and possibly terorrizing the little ducklings. So far, that's working pretty well.

    When my local post office called me at around 5 am this morning to tell me "we have birdies for you", I rushed over right away and picked them up. The postal worker handed me this small box, and to my delight the box was peeping! I could hear a chorus of 3 distinct voices peeping simultaneously, which quelled my worry that one of the ducklings may not have survived the trip. Here is the little box they were shipped in.

    Here was my first glimpse of them when I opened the box. The white thing the ducklings are snuggled up on is a disposable heating pad, it felt like it contained some kind of gel, and it was still warm when I opened the box.

    When I put them in the brooder, they started drinking and eating right away, hopefully that means they are healthy. I ended up lowering the lamp down about 1-1/2 inches to raise the temperature up a bit, and I think that made them happy. Those little girls sure are messy! I have had to refill the waterer twice already, since they've splashed most of it out into the pan below.



    They are such adorable little ducklings. My kids of course are just thrilled, especially since I promised them they can each name one of the ducks. Now I get to start building a coop and a run in the back yard. I'll post pics of that venture as I progress.

  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Ducklings. :love

    I can tell you're going to need a larger brooder really soon. Ducklings grow FAST! Unlike chicken chicks which put energy into feathering out, then build body mass, ducklings get huge while they are still fuzzy.

    Enjoy your duckies!
  3. BlazenAngel

    BlazenAngel In the Brooder

    Feb 28, 2013
    Puerto Rico
    Your thread is the reason I wanted to come out from lurking and make an account! Because I'm going to be going through the same with in a couple of months(3 little messy ducklings! [​IMG]) so please post updates and enjoy the little babies!
  4. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    I think the little girls are trying to swim in their waterer. I hope their permanent digs will have a lovely pool for them. They are so cute.
  5. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    BlazenAngel [​IMG]
  6. farmer boy

    farmer boy Songster

    my ducklings i had pekins they grew so fast it was crazy they were six weeks when they were the size of my other ducks now their a bit bigger
    my other ducks is a rouen / pekin then the other starts with a s idk how to spell it though .. but i love my ducks they are sloppy messy and pigs but i love them and i suggest getting them they are wonderful but its depends on the breed of the duck to
  7. Carcajou

    Carcajou Songster

    Jul 3, 2012
    Delhi, New York

    They are such adorable little ducklings. My kids of course are just thrilled, especially since I promised them they can each name one of the ducks. Now I get to start building a coop and a run in the back yard. I'll post pics of that venture as I progress.

    [​IMG]. Enjoy your Campbells, I love mine. And [​IMG]. Keep posting photos as they grow!

  8. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    X2 hopefully you have a thermometer in their brooder, it's not good to let them over heat and your brooder is too small so they won't be able to get away from the heat if need be. They already need a bigger brooder. The wire is not good for their lil feet either, some shavings with paper towels over top for first week, then after 1 week remove the paper towels. They are adorable and will bring you all much joy. And alot of work while they get ready for their coop. lol
    In case you haven't seen it...
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  9. MimiEggs

    MimiEggs In the Brooder

    Oct 12, 2012
    Rusk, Texas
    They are adorable! Sounds like you've done your homework/research and will be an awesome duck daddy. Don't forget to supplement their niacin (asap) as this is very necessary for proper nerve and muscle development.

    Your brooder is a great start and similar to what I have used and love your water set up. Be prepared for them to outgrow it rapidly as ducklings seem to double in size overnight, and they do need room to run around and exercise those little legs. When that happens, you might consider utilizing the entire dog kennel. To protect the ducklings from your cats you could get some cardboard boxes, cut them up to size, fit them to the inside (side wall) dimensions of the kennel with another piece of cardboard on the bottom. I would probably go about halfway up the sides. To protect the cardboard from poop (and possibly water) put down a few "puppy pads" before you put down your shavings. When it's time to clean it out roll up the puppy pads, shavings and all and start over again. (putting the cardboard on the "inside" of the kennel with prevent the cats from tearing it up to "see" the ducklings). Make a separate piece for the kennel door to have easier access to change out the water er. That should "buy you" a couple of weeks.

    I literally just ran into the same situation where my ducklings outgrew their brooder before I was ready. Nigh time temps here were still hitting the 32 mark so putting them outside was out of the question, making it necessary for me to create a makeshift mega brooder for my rapidly growing Peking ducklings. I went to the store and purchased some of those cardboard foldout project things the kids use for school. Got them home, cut them up and then duck taped them back together to create a box that measured 6 ft X 6 ft X 12 in. I lined the whole thing with puppy pads and put their bed with shavings in one corner, water in another and feed dish opposite that.

    Don't panic tho, my Pekins will mature out at 8 lbs whereas your Khakis will mature out at about 4 lbs, so you shouldn't need anything "that large" any time soon. Just trying to give you a heads up on ducklings rapid growth rate.

    Good luck with those precious babies!
  10. tadpole98

    tadpole98 Songster

    Mar 20, 2012
    they are adorable!
    but in a day or two they will need a waterer they can dip their heads into, like this:


    and a bigger brooder! they are going to grow out fast...
    have fun!

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