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I just got ducklings! A few questions about them.!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by ticks, Jun 22, 2008.

  1. ticks

    ticks Pheasant Obsessed

    Apr 1, 2008
    The Sticks, Vermont
    I just picked up 4 baby mallard/roun ducklings! They were born a few days ago. This is my first time with ducks and I have a few questions:
    1.) Do they always shake when they eat?
    2.) What should I do if I have no light? I put a heating pad underneath them.
    3.) When can they swim?
    4.) How big will they be in a few weeks?
    5.) why are they so messy!?
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2008
  2. dixygirl

    dixygirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 14, 2008
    Maybe if you drape a thin cloth over the container they are in the heat might distribute better to help avoid drafts. You should be able to pick up an infra red light bulb and housing at a Home Depot I think.


    Mine did not get that big yet. Maybe a bit larger than a large pigeon. But i never saw them shake before. I don't know about that.
     
  3. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2007
    NW Florida
    I've done fine with a heating pad on brooders at times. you have to make sure it stays DRY, and keep an eye on them to make sure it's warm enough. I'd definitely cover it. I usually put the heating pad under 1/2 of the box/tank, etc. so they can move away if needed. It really depends though on how warm the pad gets, the temp of your room, etc. I can't find one anymore that doesn't cut off after 2 hours, so I have to use my old one.

    Not sure what you mean about shaking while eating? Make SURE they have access to water deep enough to get their bills into when they eat or they can choke on starter.

    I did let mine swim for a few minutes, constantly supervised, in WARM water, during the first few weeks. I dried them and made sure they stayed warm. Generally, I've been told it's not a good idea to give them access to swim until their adult feathers come in (about 2 months old) because they can't coat them with oil until then? However, I know of course that mama ducks allow ducklings to swim, but they also make them come out when they need to. I'd want to make sure it's warm if you plan to let them swim, and keep them warm afterwards too.

    They grow fairly quickly. By the time they are two months old, they will be just about adult sized. In the first 5 weeks, mine grew especially fast.

    And ... there's been a lot of talk about their messiness (or not). Really ... I think they ARE very messy, and it's because they love water so much. You HAVE to give them access to water, and if they can find a way, they WILL play in it. Two things that worked to cut down on the mess for us were to fill the brooder floor with plants (we had lots of tall weeds we could easily pull and place in there) and to give them water in a container with a hole for the bills that DON'T allow them to step in or bill it out. There's nothing you can do about the messy wet poo.

    Still ... getting them into an outside covered play yard is a good idea as soon as their age / the weather permits. [​IMG]

    Best of luck with them, and hope you enjoy them! [​IMG]

    trish
     
  4. ticks

    ticks Pheasant Obsessed

    Apr 1, 2008
    The Sticks, Vermont
    They are in my room right now so it is draft proof. They have quail drinkers. They all seem happy. It is very wet in there though. They are on paper towel, should they be on something else?
     
  5. ticks

    ticks Pheasant Obsessed

    Apr 1, 2008
    The Sticks, Vermont
    They are all sleeping together. [​IMG]
     
  6. SundownWaterfowl

    SundownWaterfowl Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:A heating pad should be fine. They shouldnt swim until they are at least halfway feathered, because since they didnt hatch under their mother, they dont have the oil. They will get waterlogged, and catch pneumonia, or drown. You can give them about 1-2 inches of warm water when they are 1-2 weeks old, and let them have a bath.

    Ducks are very messy, lol. But they dont smell, if kept clean.

    Make sure you use non-medicated feed.
     
  7. White Elk

    White Elk Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 19, 2008
    Pacific Northwest USA
    This year was my first with ducklings as well. After trail and error I found what works best for me with the limited materials I had.

    The pen floor is a 2'x3' pan from an old chicken coop. I line it with a mattress pad. Its cotton covered and synthetic filled which dries very quick. Even their body heat dries out whats under them. I got two floors out of one pad. In the beginning I washed it once a day but now I do it twice. It stays pretty dry but the poop builds up. I wash it by the compost pile using garden hose with a high pressure nozzle. Then I hang it to dry weather permitting. Sometimes I wash/dry them in the washer/dryer (but after a hose washing). The whole changeover including food and water takes less than five minutes now!

    The biggest help towards cleanliness was to put the food and water dish inside a disposable tin baking pan. This catches alot of the water mess! They are big enough to use an old plastic coffee can now. Whatever you use make sure they can't get in it. You can rig up a cage using old coat wire hangers if you have to. I haven't needed it. Just make sure they can get their beaks up to their nostrils in the water!!

    [​IMG]
     
  8. ticks

    ticks Pheasant Obsessed

    Apr 1, 2008
    The Sticks, Vermont
    All four survived the night. I guess the heating pad worked! It is also cheaper then running a heat lamp! The lady I got them from didn't even have a light on them!
     
  9. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2007
    NW Florida
    Just wanted to say, great ideas White Elk! I wish I'd thought of some of those when my ducks were babies. I'll have to keep that in mind.

    And ticks, I kept mine on paper towels for the first few days, then moved them onto shavings and shredded paper. However, this year, I am finding that my silkie chicks (and my geese when they were babies) did much better on towels. If I had it to do over again (and hopefully I will someday ... just not right away!), I would try White Elk's idea of the mattress pads. They seem to stay a lot cleaner on fabric than on shavings, especially if you can keep the fabrics washed.

    Good luck with your babies!

    (I think ducklings are tougher than chicks as far as warmth ... goslings seem even more so!) Enjoy them! [​IMG]

    trish
     
  10. ticks

    ticks Pheasant Obsessed

    Apr 1, 2008
    The Sticks, Vermont
    They were on paper towels for a day then onto shavings. I only put the shavings in when I knew that they were not going to eat them. I know now that they trust me and they think I am their father...ok I want to be a father but they look at me like a mother. I took them outside yesterday and they followed me every where! They reakky seemed to like the garden. They are so much fun. They seem more loving than chickens.
     

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