Hooked on Quack!

Tevyes Dad

Leader of the Quack
8 Years
Apr 22, 2014
My wife and I have gone crazy for ducks. We keep them for pets/amusement and eggs. We have 2 Rouens that we got last October (they were about 3 months old). They were our trial to see if we really wanted ducks. Through this time we had many questions, and didn't really know anyone with ducks so we did a lot of googling. Most of the time we ended up on BYC. Funny that a chicken site seems to have the most posts and info on ducks, but that is what it seemed like. This site was so helpful, that we actually checked the site sponsors and chose Metzer Farms to get our ducklings from since they sponsored BYC. We set out to get 10 (which would leave us with a nice even dozen total.) We also wanted to get all different breeds so we could tell them apart. (We can definitely tell our two Rouens apart by attitudes and subtle marking differences, but that is with 2, we didn't know if that would carry over to 12 so easily). So we made a list of the breeds/variations that we wanted (for very arbitrary reasons) and came up with 11. It seemed silly to spend a bunch of time eliminating one, so we decided 11 it was! They were hatched on the 17th of March and we received them on the 20th (a day late). Thankfully we had gotten the grow gel, so they all made it fine. We had one mis-pick. We were supposed to get a Welsh Harlequin, but received a second Crested Pekin instead. The shed we planned to use for nesting boxes/night, was just big enough for 14 nesting boxes and Metzer Farms has to ship at least two ducks. If we just received two Welsh Harlequins, we would end up with 15 ducks and one wouldn't have a space in the shed. We talked to our local feed store, and they agreed to take the extra Crested and extra Welsh Harlequin (if both survived - they did
). We didn't want anything for them, we just wanted them to get to a good home where someone would consciously buy them. (Too many people will take a free animal without thinking of the commitment / other costs involved.) Metzer was great and made everything good. All I had to pay for was the one traveling companion and having it sexed. They payed for the replacement, sexing it, grow gel, postage, and even the heat pad required for the small shipment. So now we have our flock as ordered except the Welsh Harlequin's birthday is 3/24.
A little personal information... We are rapidly approaching 50 years of age, and live on about 1-1/2 acres wedged between a bunch of 40 acre farms. Much of the land is natural wetlands although we are otherwise in a cool Montana desert. Well that is enough about us (no one cares it's all about the ducks
). On to the important part... The baby pictures.

These are our grown Rouen girls. They don't have baby pictures per se, but these pics were taken shortly after we got them so they are only 3-4 months old. They were originally named Sh*tella and P**p Pet since they are ducks and we all know what ducks spend most of their time doing, but have come to be known by their G-rated versions, Tella (L) and Ettie (R).

This is Roxette, she is a Blue Swedish and was named after the Swedish band of the same name.

This is Greta. She is a Black Swedish and was named after Greta Garbo, a Swedish actress who was in black and white film

This is Pocahontas. She is a Cayuga so was given a proper Native American name.

This is Kaine. He is a Rouen. His name comes from the green head that will resemble a cane handle.

This is Tevye. He is a Crested Pekin. He was named after the character in "Fiddler on the Roof" because the crest looks like a Russian Ushanka. Well, in theory. In this picture, he barely has a crest at all. Currently he looks like a mad Muppet. No matter how many leaves of lettuce he scores, he will look at you like, "I didn't get any yet

This is Snow. She is a Pekin. She is named after Snow White and is at 4 weeks already bigger than my egg laying Rouens.

This is Ebony. She is a Black Runner. She is our hard luck story. When we first got her, she was constipated and wouldn't eat or drink. She probably owes her life to BYC so thank you. We cleaned her up with a Q-tip and some water and isolated her with her own water and food very close to her. She nibbled and sipped a bit, but not enough to keep up her energy let alone grow. One or two crumbs of food an hour and an occasional bill dunk in the water. She seemed to have given up and just wanted to sleep. At this point, I weighed her and the other runners for a comparison. She weighed 1-3/8oz. and the other runners weighed around 1-7/8oz. Then I read conflicting info about sugar in water, so I decided to split the info down the middle. I put a pinch of sugar in the ring of her waterer and mixed it with my finger. That way it didn't affect her whole water supply, but gave her a pretty good kick for a short time. She took her normal bill dunk in the sugar water, then did it again maybe a minute later. In five minutes, she was drinking water like a champ, it 10 minutes she was eating like she was starving. She even got to where she was walking like she had some energy. We put her back in with the other ducklings and she was immediately overpowered so much that she seemed to give up again. We split the brooder down the middle and put her and the other three runners in one half, and the rest in the other half. She was still constipated though and so we kept cleaning her up every couple hours. This caused her some obvious discomfort and was only marginally effective. After a day, her butt was getting kind of raw and we thought this was awful tough on her. She was flowing a little better, but still not anywhere near what the other ducks were putting out. So we thought we would try a very warm bath.

We knew it was normally way too early to expose her to water her preen gland wasn't even started yet but it seemed the only way to clean her and loosen her up that wasn't so abrasive. So we prepared a bath at around 107F for her in a small bowl. And let her do her business. We did this for short periods several times during the day. She seemed to like it and after a day she stopped her non-stop distress chirping. We started putting probiotics and electrolytes in the water for all the ducks (read it might loosen her up, and can't hurt the other ducks.) The next day she even seemed to do some happy chirps when she was in the water. She seemed to like it so much in fact that we moved her bath sessions to the sink where the water wouldn't cool off so fast so she could swim longer (at 100F, swim time was over). After a couple days, we even made the water deep enough that she couldn't touch bottom. We put a small container upside down in the water so she could rest on it if she wanted (she usually didn't want to) and most importantly she was constantly watched when she was in the water. She slowly began to flow better, stronger and more frequently. I moved all the ducks into a bigger brooder and set up both water stations and food stations so there would be less competition. By March 30th, she had barely made 3-3/4oz while the rest of the runners were between 6-1/2 and 8oz. But now she seemed healthy, determined and happy. From this point on she started gaining a uniform 12% of her body weight every day (I continued the bathing ritual because it seemed she liked it and it gave me an opportunity to weigh her.) She stayed about a week behind the other runners. I guess her progress had been put on pause. Just when everything seemed great, and she had passed 1/2 lb., our nearly 2-1/2 lb freakishly large Pekin, Snow, stomped on her. Now she was getting around with a bit of a limp and laying down as much as before. We took her into the vet and they couldn't see anything but maybe some soft tissue damage had occurred and we would pretty much just have to wait it out. We made her a little temporary brooder and selected Belle to be her buddy so she wouldn't be alone. Slowly she got better. Last week, we started putting the ducklings outside during the day. We reintegrated Ebony at that time. Now she's running, swimming, climbing ramps and even getting into the feeding frenzy for lettuce leaves with the rest of them. She's still about a week behind, so I would guess (I didn't weigh them last weekend) she is between 1-1/2 and 2 lbs and she is just starting her feathers. The other runners are just over 2 lbs and about half feathered.

(Ebony with flock in grass)

This is Dove. She is a Chocolate Runner (and the hardest to get a still photo of). Named after a Dove Bar.

This is Belle. She is a Blue Runner. She is named after a Bluebell flower.

This is Entie (pronounced N.T.) She is a Fawn & White Runner. The first thing that came to mind was Bambi, but that was actually a boy fawn. His girlfriend was Faline and nobody remembers her. So if we were going to end up obscure, we took the word "Ente" which is German for "duck" (my wife is German, and I served in Germany for 10 years) and made it sound more like a girl's name.

Finally, a week late, here is Rhiannon. She is a Welsh Harlequin. Her name is Welsh and also a Fleetwood Mac song.

Hope you enjoyed.

Welcome to BYC!

OMG...your babies are adorable!
You seem to really have the loving touch with ducklings. They look very healthy! You might want to share your experiences and pictures in our Duck section. I am sure those Duck people would really enjoy seeing your flock...


Make yourself at home here on BYC. Enjoy all your babies and Welcome to our flock!
Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! What a great introduction and some wonderful stories about your ducklings, your ducklings are incredibly cute, what nice photos, you can really see their personalities... and Ebony is really lucky to have you for an owner, can't believe she made it.
I think you are getting us all hooked on Quack. Loved your story and the reason behind their names. What a beautiful bunch(herd, flock, whatever) of ducklings they are. You are very welcome here, even if you take up on the ducks threads, we got you first.

PS think I'm developing a webby foot fetish - they are so cute, they look like some kind of rubber boot.
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Thank you all for the warm welcomes. I will probably be lurking around the duck forums for the most part, but I figured in the new member introductions, I would put up my flock. Right now they are bunches of work. 11 5+ week old ducklings require lots of water, food, and bedding to be shifted while they are indoors. The more time they can spend outdoors, the more they like it and I like it. They don't want to come back in, but it is pretty close to freezing overnight still in Montana, and until they are fully feathered, they gotta come in when the sun goes down. Once they are outside, we will have a little less work (they'll have enough nature to take care of their own nature :) and I will post more pics.

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