New Duck Owner, with questions about bedding and food intake

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Janellegaiteri, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. Janellegaiteri

    Janellegaiteri New Egg

    Mar 27, 2012
    Hi guys, first just a quick thanks every question I had I would go to google type it in, and these forums would be first to come up! Such a great find!

    I have a few questions that I keep finding different answers for.. I am a proud new Mommy to Two Pekin ducks, Pip and Boom-Boom! Right now they are in a long rubbermaid container in my bedroom with shredded newspaper for bedding, and an old shirt (
    changed and thrown out daily) for cuddling, along with 2 heat lights one near, and one a little further away.I tried CareFresh bedding, thinking it would be more cuddley for them but they were trying to eat it too much and I got scared.

    Questions :

    I bought a coop with run (i am not handy at all the coop is closed 3 sides with an opening that can be closed for the ramp, and 2 fake windows that are plastic. the run in 6 feet long 5 feet wide, with an extra 3 feet under their coop, full shingled roof with an attic through out the length whcih can be filled with hay for more warmth in the winter) what do you all suggest to use for the ground to provide an easy clean up? I read to put down linoleum and hay, but I would think the linoleum would be a breeding ground for bacteria unless cleaned up with Bleach, which i would be too afraid to use around them.

    Also, right now they are on duck starter food, when can I add veggies and fruit to their meals - any suggestions on recipes to purify that would provide them with the right nutrients?

    I read that their food supply can never run out, but then I also read that they should be feed once a day after 6-8 weeks old.

    Can they be put into their coop outside when temperatures are nice? I live in Northeast Pa, right now its 34 degrees out last week it was 75-85 all week. So on nice days when they get a bit bigger (theyre bellys are just starting to turn white, but no adult feathers yet) can they go in their pen for an hour to get use to it?

    Sorry for length, and again thanks already for all your help!
  2. Amy S

    Amy S Chillin' With My Peeps

    Welcome, and congrats on duck parenthood! [​IMG]

    I am new to the whole duckling thing, and yes, this place has answered everything I've needed to know about this venture! Do you know exactly how old your little guys are?

    You might consider grabbing a big bag of pine (not cedar) shavings. It'll make for a drier bin and nice cleanup each day. A big bag goes a long way with little ones. As for diet, there is a *sticky* at the top of the "ducks" section here at BYC that has tons of information about what to feed your ducklings! It's awesome!!!! [​IMG]

    I'll let the veterans address the other questions I am no expert on, lol. Again, congrats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    *edited to add* Take some time reading through the threads here.....even the older ones... they are very helpful!!!
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  3. Janellegaiteri

    Janellegaiteri New Egg

    Mar 27, 2012
    Sadly I can't use wood chips, they got a respritatory infection from it.. The vet says it happens often. They were sneezing and had severe running noses. A day off of work for me, antibiotic for them, new bedding - and they are happy! I do wish they weren't allergic to it, i felt it was so much better to be cuddley with..

    And thank you I will definitely check out that post!
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    your saying wood chips ,do you mean pine shaving like they have at TSC? because to me wood chips are mulch for around flower beds. AND [​IMG]
  5. polish15

    polish15 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 27, 2008
    If they are starting to feather out then I think it would be okay to put them out for a couple hours on the warm days. Just be sure the pen is secure and they cannot escape because they will wonder away in no time. When they mature you may want to try and introduce the shavings to them again because it is possible they will outgrow the allergy. I would try to avoid using hay if possible. Even straw would be better than hay because it is cheaper.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England

    And congratulations!

    We did not use shavings, either, since (we found out) my beloved and I are allergic to them! Gack!

    So I used old towels, which I washed out, and that gave me excellent fertilizer. Win win!

    I tried puppy pads for a day. The ducklings loved eating the insides. sigh.

    And they tried eating the shavings, too. Silly ducks!

    Regarding your questions:

    I have linoleum with pine shavings on top. What I do, to avoid dust problems is keep the ducks away when I am working with the shavings, and keep them away for several minutes afterward, till the dust settles. Something else I use - in the winter pen - is straw, not hay. The straw works very well. I still keep the ducks away when I work with the bedding, until the dust settles.

    I lay down a few inches of straw, then once a day I sprinkle some fresh on top. After several days the whole batch gets taken out, composted, and I start over. Duck straw is fabulous for the compost and for mulching.

    The linoleum isn't going to be a big bacterial worry if it does not stay wet. Water management seems to be the biggest challenge, or at least one of the biggest. Once you get that worked out, you are in pretty good shape.

    And even if there is something gucky I agree that you ought not use bleach. Use vinegar, or vinegar with some lavender and rosemary essential oil in it, use baking soda in water, use hydrogen peroxide, use a little elbow grease!

    Before giving food other than crumbles or pellets, the ducklings need to have a little grit in their tummies. I started mine their first week with about a teaspoon of chick grit on top of their 6 inch diameter food plate once a day. Then after a week, I gave them finely chopped lettuce, and just a few tiny peas.

    For the first few months, it seems best to me to keep food available to the ducklings (with water, of course) all the time. Once they are adults, many people feed just once or twice a day. I dote on my ducks, so they have food just about all the time. I used to take the food out of the night pen, but I realized that they splash so much of it, it is pointless to remove the bowl, when the smell of food is all over the pen. This has helped the ducks be more calm in the morning if it takes me a few extra minutes to get outside to open the door to the Day Pen.

    On nice days, it sounds like it would be fine for them to be in their outdoor coop a bit. You may want to feed them treats in the coop, so they associate good times with being there. Could you get a thermometer and watch the temperatures? I am as concerned with too much heat inside the coop, as well as too cold. I have a shade cloth for the duck house for when the weather is 70F or higher. And the Day Pen and house are under a sugar maple for shade.

    So the duck coop: is there a ramp to it? I have heard ducks don't do well with a ramp that is too steep. I hope someone with a similar coop (do you have a photo?) could weigh in.
  7. Janellegaiteri

    Janellegaiteri New Egg

    Mar 27, 2012
    Yes!! Pine chips! Sorry! :/

    Wow! Thanks so much for all The tips, I do appreciate it. There is a ramp however it doesnt seem steep and read in another post to try to do peas or treats going up it.. I nervous about it though but can make a wider one if needed. It's from Petco, I will post a link to it on The bottom of this. Right now they are in my bedroom and I made a little ramp to an overstuffed chair at the bottom of my bed and they run up it and hop onto a pillow then to my bed. Then slide down it. It is so cute! I am so surprised by how quick they learn, but more surprised on how quick they grow!!!!! I got them Wednesday, and was able to fit both in one hand and now one barely fits in one hand!

    I do have 2 silly questions.. What is the differences between hay and straw? I thought they were the same... Haha!

    The linoelium with straw sounds like a great idea! I was nervous about the cleaning daily because im working full time, going to grad school full time.. I have 2 dogs, had 3 but our 17 year old Bichon had to be put to sleep March 4th., my one dog is 10 and going through chemo after having a radical mAsectomy (all 10 breast removed) and my mom is also trying to beat breast cancer so you definitely calmed my nerves on that!

    I never thought of a thermometer, that is a great idea! Our yard gets partial sun, but a typical summer day will be 90/95 with high humidity.. We usually get 80-90 inches of snow in a winter and only got 2.5 total inches, so I'm fearful of what this summer is going to be like. Do they deal well with heat? The shade cloth sounds like a great idea! They will only be in the coop at night 730/8pm to early am.. But I will definitely make a shade cloth in The yard!

    Do you have A pool area in the coop for them or just in the day coop? They will be in our fenced in yard with an infant pool then kiddie pool.

    This Is The coop I bought, and Now there is a negative review .. I wish I could build one!!
  8. tweetysvoice

    tweetysvoice Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 30, 2011
    Lawrence, KS
    My Coop
    [​IMG] Yay! Baby Ducklings!!

    You are going to have fun with them! Be sure to take a lot of pictures! They continue to double in size every week, i sware! Everyone here has given you excellent information. Don't hesitate to ask when you have more!

    Looking at the coop you bought makes me wonder how big the nesting area is for them. Pekin ducks require at least 4 sq ft per duck and you'll be surprised at how big they get. Since that's made for a bunny, I really hope that the adults will be able to get through the door. Just my thoughts looking at the picture.
  9. Janellegaiteri

    Janellegaiteri New Egg

    Mar 27, 2012
    I started regretting my decision last night and I'm going to return it and go on a hunt for one. I never knew that about the square footage! Thank you!

    I read that the sleeping part needs to be above the ground, but then they have a hard time walking up a ramp so is that first part true about it needing to be off the ground..

    I wish ducks were popular around her so I could find a nice pen!
  10. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    Look here at Lowes, someone posted not long ago they had this for their ducks, and the roof lifts up for easy cleaning. above ground means not dug down into the ground it can be ground level. all you would need to do it put a door on to lock them in for safety at night. the small window will need to have hardware screen put on it for ventalation and safety but it would be perfect for 2 ducks.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012

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