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First time with ducklings

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by shellyga, Jul 15, 2011.

  1. shellyga

    shellyga Songster

    Oct 23, 2010
    First time duck owner since I bought some through the mail when I was 13 (a FEW years ago)

    I brought home a pair (well two - not sure male/female) of Magpie ducklings that are now 4 weeks old. They have been co-existing with the chickens for this first week. They have a nice little pool to play in but I have a couple of questions:

    1) What kind of feed is recommended for best health.. I will be honest - I brought them home from the auction because I felt sorry for the fate of the others that were going to a
    bidder that made no secret of his intent to cook the BABIES.. arrggg.. heart ruled head since I usually research before jumping in..

    2) What kind of treats are recommended. They want to participate in the nightly treat (chopped veggie) feast.. and I have seen them eat tomatoe pieces.. other things they
    have a little trouble with. what else would they enjoy?

    My chickens are spoiled.. as will these ducks once I know HOW to spoil them. Any help from you experienced folks is appreciated.


  2. TLWR

    TLWR Songster

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    I used Purina Flock Raiser until they started laying and then switched to a chicken layer pellet. If you have a male, you won't really want him eating that and I'd just stick to the flock raiser and put out oyster shells for the girl.
    If they had pellet form of it here, I'd feed that instead of the chicken layer pellets.

    treats - there is a pinned list with lots of info. Seems almost anything goes if chopped small enough at the beginning.
    I can give mine full size tomatoes now as long as I split it so they can get into it and then they devour it. Mine also LOVE cucumbers and there seem to be very few ducks that won't eat/do anything for peas.
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England

    For treats, check out the sticky on treats here on the Duck Forum.

    Chick starter doesn't have enough niacin for the ducklings, so either a waterfowl starter or supplement with sprinkling brewer's yeast on the food, or add 100 to 150 mg of niacin per gallon of water for the ducklings. Some ducklings are more sensitive to low niacin than others. Lack of niacin can cause neurological damage, at least in some ducks.

    Water will be a little tricky for a few reasons - if you choose the water route for niacin, that will be too much for chicks (but I'm not a chicken person so I don't know if that matters). Also, ducks are built in such a way that they muddy up the water very quickly, which is off-putting for chickens. Many people put the chicken waterer where the ducks cannot get to it, and let the ducks have their own water.

    Ducklings can enjoy a swim, but it needs to be supervised until they are fully feathered and oiled. Easy access ramps in and out are needed. As long as they have water deep enough to wash their little heads, that's what's needed most. They can get eye and sinus infections without that wash water.

    I find it best to make water available overnight (especially in hot weather) in a space that is safe from predators, but away from bedding.

    Ducks don't roost, so they'll need a place to rest that's not under chicken backsides.

    Mine usually are done laying by 8 a.m. Mine make themselves nests where most of the eggs are laid. The eggs are delicious. The ducks are sweet.

    Your ducks may be at a skittery age. Anything taller than they are may scare the living daylights out of them. I found my ducks like little gentle noises, like singing, or a quiet "duck, duck, duck" when I am working around them. Treats always help. Most ducks I've heard of love peas (not cooked or salted). I buy bags of frozen peas and thaw them out for treats.

    Hope this is a good start.

    Blessed little ducks!
  4. lovesgliders

    lovesgliders Songster

    Apr 2, 2011
    Mushrooms, lettuce, cucumber, peas, and corn are my duckies' favorites. They also really like crickets, feeder guppies/minnows, and mealworms. Oh, and seed heads from grasses that you can pick outside. They LOVE those.

    They will eat bell pepper, apple, summer squash, blueberries, and some other stuff but the above are their favorites ('specially the bugs & fish). Ducks are easy to spoil! [​IMG] Enjoy your new little ones!

    I do find that I have to chop it all really, really small (like the size of a pea or smaller) or else they can't swallow it. I am hoping as they get older they can tear into their food better; I already have so many animals that I have to chop fruits & veggies for. LOL
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2011
  5. shellyga

    shellyga Songster

    Oct 23, 2010
    oohh THANK you for all the information. Right now they are very skittish and eventually they will have access to our pond.. but with predators-- the babies will be kept under lock and key for awhile. Their water is a small rectangular rubbermaid container that isn't super deep..but they like to "duck" their heads.

    They are on the "chick" side of the coop running around with the 6-10 week old chicks and like to sleep under the edge of the wooden brooder.


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