Getting set up for ducklings!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by FaerieGlynne, Feb 3, 2016.

  1. FaerieGlynne

    FaerieGlynne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 10, 2016
    Clackamas County Oregon
    I am stupid excited about getting my ducklings in April. I am putting together lists and plans to, well, get my ducks in a row! I'm going to share my lists and notes and would love to hear suggestions and also if you feel I'm missing anything.
    I'm going to order 4-6 female ducklings(Cayuga, blue Swedish, welsh harlequin, and pekin) from Metzer's unless there is somewhere I could drive to get them. I was going to drive to Holderread but my heart is set on a Cayuga and that is one of the discontinued breeds :( but I'll drive almost anywhere in Oregon or Washington if I can pick up all the ducklings there.

    Brooder set up
    My ducklings will be starting in their home, a converted shed, from the get go. My DH has a strict no animals in the house policy. Weather here is mild, and the shed is secure, well sheltered by my home, and not drafty though it does have ventilation up top. I can very easily run an extension cord out to the shed from the house that will not real be exposed to elements. Of course I'll need that for the brooder, but what else?
    Inside their house I'll be doing a thick layer of hay with a tote with the side cut out to put the food and water, hopefully reducing wet hay. I'm going to copy some diy feeders/waterers from the site.

    I really love the idea of the mama heating pad and am probably going to do this unless I hear otherwise

    I'm planning to try the deep litter method, but if it gets too gross I'll stop :)

    Nipple waterers, screw in type with gasket
    Once they are older I don't want to leave the feeders and waterers in the house over night, but think that the nipple waterers will allow them 24/7 water while hopefully not spilling water in the coop. I've read that these sometimes leak. What would you recommend to help prevent that? Specific brand and/or process?
    These will not be the only waterer, just the ones in their house at night. I want to have them available from the time they are ducklings so the can get used to it being around and using it.

    I'm going to get one of the concrete tubs for now, until they have the kiddie pools at the store and then I will get one of those. Probably should be fine since they wouldn't be using a big pool for the first few months of life anyway.

    Chick feed
    Brand suggestions? Otherwise I'm probably just getting something organic and non medicated on Amazon.

    Niacin capsules/Brewers yeast
    I have Brewers yeast in the kitchen already, so will probably get them their own bottle. How much do you use?

    Durvet Performance Poultry Probiotics & Electrolytes for poultry
    Someone somewhere in all of my research said this was important, it's on the list now :)

    I'm planning on getting 2 electrical fences because there are 2 areas I want them. They will have a few hours of free range almost daily when I can watch them. I will for sure have to defend them for cats, dogs, raccoons, skunks (are skunks a threat?), etc. the shed/home is super secure and will be inside one of the fences.
    Please, someone, exactly which fence should I get. Hoping to keep both fences around $300 otherwise I may just get one and get the other next summer.

    Hay bales
    Not much to say here

    Which brand would you recommend, otherwise it's probably just the Amazon available again

    First aid kit
    What are the starter must haves? Hoping to keep this about $20-30 for essentials.

    From my research this is everything I should need to get started. Let me know if I'm missing anything and I'm eagerly awaiting everyone's input!
  2. N F C

    N F C home again! Premium Member Project Manager

    Dec 12, 2013
    It sounds like you've been putting a lot of thought into everything. I'm getting my first ducklings in April too, so the only thing I can say at this minute is you might check your local feed stores or TSC to see if you can get their feed and grit there...that could save you some money.

    Ducklings are definitely something to get excited about!
  3. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    Water - if you have food available, they need water they can dunk their head into as well. So if you are only doing nipple waterers at night, then no food.

    what type of fencing are you looking at? the portable electric stuff like this? If so, I'd consider something else. My ducks like to stick their head through fences to check out what is on the other side. That could be bad for a duck if they get their head stuck.

    Ducks don't need grit if they are outside already and have access to the ground. But if you are leaving in them in the shed 24/7 and provide them treats, then you might want to grab a small bag of grit
  4. lomine

    lomine Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 7, 2015
    Peyton, CO
    Glad to hear you are doing so much research beforehand. That's what I did too and it made me feel more prepared.

    I use nipple waters when the weather is warm enough. They had no problem adjusting to them. They did leak a little but it wasn't a big mess. Over the winter they have not had any water in their coop since they make a huge mess with the heated dog water bowl. It's in the run instead. There's no food in the coop so it hasn't been a problem.

    For the feed I would recommend a flock raiser feed if you can find it. I gave mine chicken chick feed at first, with brewer's yeast, and I had one with leg problems. When I switched to flock raiser, also with brewer's yeast, she was fine after a week. I think it was one cup brewer's yeast for every 10 lbs of feed until they are 10 weeks old. Whatever feed you get just pay attention to the protein levels and make adjustments as needed.

    Be careful that the hay doesn't get moldy.

    If you give them grit when they are ducklings just make sure you get the chick grit. I made the mistake of buying the regular grit the first time I bought it and it was too big. But as TLWR said, they only need grit if you are giving them something other than feed. And if they have access to the the ground outside they will likely find sand and small pebbles to use as grit. But it definitely won't hurt them if you also offer grit.
  5. tmorgan46

    tmorgan46 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 22, 2015
    Stafford, VA
    I mentioned this in another thread and feel it deserves repeating. There are some poulty fence products out there, some can be electrified even, that are super convenient. But, and that's a huge but - when the ducks are young they can easily slip through the panels. That's not a problem because you're typically right there to catch them and put them back in. But becomes a problem when they don't realize they've gotten bigger with time and continue to try to escape through the panels. One of our young ducks was being chased by an amorous drake and got completely tangled in the poultry fence. She was there quite a while and suffered abrasions all the way to her flesh. We had to cut her out of the tangle it was so bad and then she went into our isolated infirmary until she healed up (about a week). The worst part was that before I could pull all that fence down, our momma goose got tangled in it as well. I think it would make a terrific perimeter protection, especially when electrified but for what's closest to the birds I won't use it any longer. Maybe I was doing something wrong, but that's the lesson I learned this year. Your mileage may vary of course.

    Troy & Tina
  6. FaerieGlynne

    FaerieGlynne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 10, 2016
    Clackamas County Oregon
    Thanks! I'm going to skip quoting each of you, hope you don't mind.

    I'll check the feed store sine I have time and price compare. And I'll look at flock raiser instead while paying attention to the protein.

    Inside the brooder I'll have 24/7 food and water. Once they are mature I'll only have water in with them at night. That's the plan for now anyway.

    Long term I'd like to keep them as little dependent on feed as is safe and have them eat a slightly more natural diet. Since I plan on introducing greens etc (and when is this safe to start?) I'll get a little grit just to supplement jic they don't get enough outside. They will be outdoors most of the day. Chick grit! Thanks, I didn't know.

    Maybe I should keep the hay in the garage to prevent mold. I was planning to keep it up a little higher inside the shed with them, but maybe that would be too moist with duck breath and it being Oregon lol. I'm curious how much hay I'll end up going through but I'm excited to have all that good stuff to throw on garden!

    Scary story morgan, that would break my heart! I'm still not totally off of the electric fencing, but I'm concerned. Is there some other type of fencing, preferably a little movable, that you all would suggest? The fences job is mostly daytime protection, but I can't go building permanent fencing because 1- we lease our home and 2- I'm not sure how capable I am of constructing something major. Is there a fence thread area lol. This is my largest expense and so I want to try and get it right the first time. Or maybe this. During the day it's stay. Keep out feral cats and roaming dogs. Perhaps I'll just run it at night after the ducks are in the coop?

    Any and all specific brand reviews are appreciated!
  7. lomine

    lomine Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 7, 2015
    Peyton, CO
    Check out this link for treats and when you can start giving them. I think I started giving mine extra stuff at 1 week. You just want to be careful that your ducks get a nutritionally balanced diet.

    I don't use hay because when I was researching the mold was an issue. I think you have to be careful that it's not moldy when you buy it, too. I use a mix of pine shavings and straw in my deep litter.
  8. fearnowsh

    fearnowsh Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 29, 2016
    Western Central Michigan
    I am getting my ducklings in May (?). I also want Cayugas!! they look so pretty. Good to know about the fencing too! I had been thinking of getting some step-in posts and running some hardware cloth for a run (hoping that i can also get the posts out fairly easily if needed, or it might be permanent - still deciding).
  9. FaerieGlynne

    FaerieGlynne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 10, 2016
    Clackamas County Oregon

    Yay, glad to hear someone does deep litter. I'll use pine shavings too. I keep hearing that hay and straw is different but when went to the feed store they looked at me like I had an extra head. I was buying them few years back for the hay bale gardening. Of course they are all compost now. But, idk what it was I bought then.

    I could probably handle posts and hardware cloth, it's the digging it into the ground that is a problem. Cayugas are so pretty!
  10. lomine

    lomine Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 7, 2015
    Peyton, CO
    Hay and straw are different. Not sure why the feed store folks wouldn't know that.

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