Getting duckings in a few days. Brooder the same as for chicks??

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by lilmama, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. lilmama

    lilmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 2, 2010
    Hello, just wondering if anyone has pics of a duckling brooder or tips on how it's different from chicks (which I've already experienced.) We'll just be getting two or three ducklings at a few days old.

    Thanks!
    Cory
     
  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Pretty much similar as to heat requirements, needing food and water, keeping the bedding dry. With that being said, plan for a few changes:

    I recommend a waterer made out of a cottage cheese or Cool Whip container with an oval cut into the lid. This allows the ducklings to get their heads into the water to clear their nares (nostrils) but not splash ALL of it all over the brooder. Something like this:

    [​IMG]

    Also, place that waterer on a low edged plastic or metal tray (maybe a small cookie tray?) on top of the bedding. That way, any spills will stay in the tray instead of get into the bedding AS FAST.

    Get some powdered Brewer's yeast to add some to their feed (if you're using chick starter) because they need more niacin than do chicks.

    Ducklings grow much more rapidly than do chicks. They put their growing into body bulk, not feathers, at first. They will get really big but still have their ducky fuzz for quite some time. Chicks feather out really quickly, but ducklings do not.

    Give them little swim dates in WARM water only a couple of inches deep and a way to get out of it. A paint tray, which has those raised bits and is graduated in depth is perfect for the first few swims. When they get tired, and they will very quickly, take them out, dry them off, and put them directly under the brooder heat.

    Hope this helps!!
     
  3. lilmama

    lilmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 2, 2010
    Thanks!!!!!!!
    Can you tell me how old to do the shallow swim you mentioned? I was told NOT to put them in water, because they will drown before they get their pin feathers. But, as long as it is shallow?
     
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Oh, they can swim - for very short periods of time - as fuzzy ducklings! They are buoyant, but will get water-soaked. You just let them swim for five minutes or so, max, until they get their feathers, which will take a few weeks. Ducklings swim long before that in nature. (They often hitch rides on momma's back when they get tired or water-logged.) The first ducklings I raised used an upside down cake pan filled with warm water.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Cool to see their little legs paddle through the sides!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I recently bought a foot bath pan, which is a bit larger, but more shallow, for new ducklings. It can only hold water about 3 inches deep, maximum. You cannot let them swim unsupervised, because you have to get them out when they tire. They also need to be able to touch bottom or have a more shallow end in which to get out of the water before they sink. Which is why the swim lessons are short in duration for a few weeks.

    They don't have water-proofing oils until they get their feathers, though. So you have to dry 'em off and warm 'em up - which is also why you use warm water.

    Of course, momma duck would do this entirely differently, but we're only surrogate duckie moms. [​IMG]
     
  5. puredelite

    puredelite Chillin' With My Peeps

    Gryeyes gave you some great info on raising ducklings, they are much nastier to raise than chicks because of their love for spreading water all over their bedding and anywhere else for that matter! I am using a lawnmower type metal trailer for a brooder with a thick bedding of course pine shavings. Like Gryeyes I place a shallow container beneath their water to catch what they spill. Helps to keep from soaking their bedding. Basically all they do is drink, eat and poop so can creat quite a stink really fast. They also take a while to fully feather out where they can be placed outside. Aside from all this they are fun to watch. On nice warm days they like to be put in a secure enclosure out in the grass with a very shallow pan for some serious splash time!
     
  6. ande03

    ande03 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 6, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    Thanks for the info!! I'm a chicken momma that just ordered 4 new duck additions and I can't wait!!! [​IMG]
     
  7. secuono

    secuono Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2010
    Virginia
    Ducks eat, they do not pick they just scarf it all down. You won't have to worry about left over food.
    But they are huge mess makers! Mine have had a 'pond' 24/7 since age 2 weeks. They have had room to find a dry area to clean and dry under the heat lamp. After 3weeks old, I moved them to the garage on the concrete, no heat, big pond, huge tray of food. All I need to do is change the towel that's on the floor every day to a dry one.
    I'd say they are far easier to care for, grow crazy fast, are poop machines and do not waste any food.
    Yesterday, 4weeks I believe. Last pic is 1st week. Same size as a standard day old chick.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011
  8. SLWyandotte

    SLWyandotte Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 23, 2011
    Chatom, Alabama
    will pine straw work for ducklings litter? about 4 to 6 inches? my brooder has drain holes in it to drain water. and thick pine straw drains and dries fast.
     
  9. secuono

    secuono Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2010
    Virginia
    I've gone to just towels changed 1-2x a day. Shavings never worked, straw might work...[​IMG] Try it and let us know!
    Would also help if you separate the water area from everything else, to help keep everything dry.
     
  10. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Loxahatchee, Florida
    I like to keep mine in a plastic bin elevated an inch or two on one end so that the water collects on the far end. That's where I keep their water, in a lipped tray like someone said, to contain the watery mess. I use old towels for flooring, having 3-5 that I can rotate, taking them out to hose down and hang to dry on the clothesline. But pine straw may work well too. I also like to put them outside as soon as possible, in a contained covered space during the daytimes, so they can do most of their mess in the grass.

    Soon after beginning to keep ducks you'll learn the reason why Donald Duck doesn't wear pants!
     

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