New duckling owner questions :)


Bird of A Different Feather
11 Years
Dec 20, 2008
Boise, Idaho
My daughter just brought home two Kahki Camble babies (I am guessing 2-7 days old).
I only know chickens . . . so have a few questions. If someone has time to answer that would be great, or if you know of a thread with these questions answered already that would be great too! Thanks!
1. They are currently in one of my rubbermaid chick brooders, with sawdust at the bottom, and a chick waterer, and a chick light. Is this all ok?
2. I have on hand medicated & non medicated chick starter, do I use this . . . or something different?
3. When can they be introduced to the grass lawn?
4. When do you introduce them to swimable water?
5. My daughter intends to put a small pond in the lawn for them. We have a large lake out back with lots of wild water fowl, if they go out there will the wild ones pick on them? will they come back? at what age (if any) could they go out there for fishing trips?
Hi! Welcome to duckdom!

There are a number of threads with answers to your questions, but I will try to offer some highlights. Do a search on brooder, medicated feed, swim, and you will find quite a bit of information.


If they are kept at about 85 F now, dropping about 5 degrees a week, that should work - with room to move away from the warmest place in the brooder (I find mine needed slightly different temperatures, even at the same age). My ducklings ate shavings. If they eat the sawdust, you may want to switch to a different substrate. I think Wifezilla puts some kind of plastic mesh over the shavings. A search on "brooder" may help you there.

There is debate about medicated (amprolium) versus non. I used nonmedicated feed. Chick starter only has about a third of the niacin ducklings need. So you would want to add a teaspoon or two of brewer's yeast to their food, or 100 to 150 mg of niacin per gallon of water, maximum. Check out stickies for treats that are okay for ducklings, also. Try a search on "niacin."

If it is warm enough (this week that would be 85 F), and if they are watched carefully, you could get them on the grass lawn, for a daytime romp.

I introduced my runners to water with a cake pan when they were two days old. Water was 90 F, up to their bellies. They loved it. They swam like little torpedoes and I think it did them some good. But I made sure the brooder was clean before we went swimming, and that it was dry and warm when we were done. I dried a few off with a washcloth if they weren't preening. Ducklings can catch a chill. Remember, water up to their bellies. Then they can't get in over their little heads. They will eventually - oh, maybe at about five or six weeks - have enough oil on their bellies, and feathers, too, to begin to float. Watch them carefully even at several weeks old to see how they do, and always make sure they can easily get out of the water when they want to.

Domestic ducks often cannot fly, and my personal concerns about domestic ducks on a large lake include turtles, large fish, and other lake and lakeside visitors and residents. Wild birds might harass them, it is hard to say. They would certainly be easy for a hawk to pick off when they are young.
Do NOT feed medicated chick starter. I put a plastic shoe box in the brooder for my ducklings water, they need to be able to dip their heads in it and they swim also. I got game starter for my ducklings. Enjoy your ducklings, I know i do.
i agree NO MEDICATED chick feed. i had a duckling die on me because of that! after a week i let my ducklings in my bathtub for a swim with warm water. they get a bath once a day.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom