I'm considering getting baby ducks and need advice!


In the Brooder
6 Years
Sep 3, 2013
Hi all! I am new to your forum and am I glad I found you! I want to get baby ducks and need your expert advice.

I live in Connecticut and have a large fenced backyard. My yard has a heated pool as well as a creek. The creek leads to a pond that is outside of our back yard. It's across a private little drive off of our front yard. They could get to the pond from our creek by swimming under a little bridge. There are wild geese and ducks in The pond. And we had a family of geese that visited our front yard a lot this year. It's basically duck heaven. When they are babies, I plan on keeping them in the bathroom in my laundry room/mud room. It's right near the door to the back yard and has a heated floor. I also plan to put them in a box with towels and a heat lamp.

My questions so far:

When and how long can the babies get out of the box and roam around (with me there). I've read they need heat 24 hours a day.

When do I let them swim for the first time? I was planning on letting them swim in the big sink or bathtub. Then move them out to the pool. And eventually the creek once they are full grown.

How many times a day do I feed them?

After they are full grown:

Will the wild ducks or geese in the pond hurt them?

If they do go to the pond, will they come home?

If they are eating in the pond do I still need to feed them as much?

In the winter, my plan is to get an insulated dog house and put hay in the bottom. The roof opens for easy cleaning. Will they go in it on their own? Do I need to put them in it each night? (When it's really cold I was just planning to put them back in the laundry room bathroom)

If the creek and pond are frozen, do I still need to find a place for them to swim? What do you suggest?

In the warm months do they need the dog house? Where will they sleep if they don't go in it?

The only predator I can think of (that could get over our fence) is a raccoon . Will a raccoon kill a duck? Is the raccoon looking for eggs?

Sorry for the long list. I'm sure I'll think of even more questions as soon as I post this!
Yes, raccoons will kill ducks and eat eggs. Baby ducks and ducks in general are messy you don't want them in your pool. If you hold them enough and give them attention they should stay with you and come home. If you want to keep them fenced in you should get a heavy breed or clip their wings so they can't fly over it. But if you are letting them into the wild or out of the yard where you won't be watching them you should not clip them so they can escape predators. Wild ducks can carry diseases as well as parasites and mites, they may also attack your ducks to assert dominance. Depending on what breed you get they can be cold hardy, but keeping ducks inside is messy, if you could keep the doghouse warm by insulating it or having a light it should be fine, if you have hay you need to be careful with lights because they can start fires. That's all I can think of, the only ducks I have had that escaped was an adult muscovy female that I bought and hadn't clipped, she was raised wild so I wasn't surprised. Also if you overfeed ducks they won't lay, I feed them as much as my chickens, but if they will be free ranged throwing a few cups of feed in the grass should suffice. They will get greens and bugs on their own, its just the calories they lack.

Good luck with your ducks!
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Hi. Have to agree with everything Suburb Spurs has written. I live in Nova Scotia which is probably colder than Connecticut through the winter. I have Muscovys and Crested and Rouen ducks. In winter I have them in a coop with my chickens. They have a light but no other heating other than square bales of hay stacked up outside the coop walls for insulation. Ducks are very hardy, much more so than chickens and if they can get in out of really harsh weather (your dog house) then they won't need much else. The previous winter here had temperatures of -40c and it didn't faze the ducks at all, although I lost several chickens. I put apple cider vinegar in their water and feed them garlic and cottage cheese in the fall and throughout the winter to kind of bump up their immunity.

When they are little, you can keep them inside for awhile but under a heat lamp til they feather out. It doesn't need to be 24 hours a day. When you watch a mother duck and her babies, she doesn't sit on them for a month steady but takes them out and about in search of food etc. For the first week I would keep them at about 95f and then start decreasing temperature weekly (about 5 degrees a week or even more-- you can tell if they are comfortable). They will feather out faster this way.

Be aware that a duckling can make a mud puddle out of a concrete floor. Depending on how many you are planning on, get a rubber-maid bin and construct a raised grid floor....think of those black potting trays that you put your flower pots in at the green house and turn them upside down. I also go to the $ store and buy puppy training pads to put down for them as they are very easy to replace when wet, unlike shavings.

If you keep them away from the pond for a couple of months (say two) and faithfully put them in their doghouse everynight, they will find their way in by themselves at dusk. It's best to let them find the pond on their own or they might not find their way back...the first couple of times you might need to coax them back....feeding them at night would be a great incentive for them.

If the pond is big enough, there shouldn't be any trouble with aggression (this is just my observation) but if it is packed full of water fowl there would be trouble.

I've incubated, hatched, raised and nutured ducks for 30 years but I'm certainly no expert but I'm hoping this will help. :)
Some of my favorite introductory material on ducks is in the Stickies section.

Here is the Sticky link https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/256233/ducks-sticky-topics-index

Here is something on raising ducklings.


Gotta dash - hope I can check back in.

Welcome to the Duck Side!
Thank you all so much!!

I'm interested in Rouens. Are there pros and cons to them? Also efowl.com has min order qty of 4. Does anyone have experience with them? Four seems manageable..
Hi. I have had rouens and they are nice ducks for the most part. The only bad experience I've had was last spring. I had four drakes and only one girl, as well as several muscovys. The male rouens were awful and raped and pillaged their way through the whole spring. They took on everything female and pulled all the feathers out of my golden polish rooster's crest, bullied the male muscovy, etc. I finally gave them away and the stress level diminished considerably.

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