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New to ducks - have a few questions

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by potocki99, Mar 8, 2016.

  1. potocki99

    potocki99 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 27, 2011
    Northern Michigan
    We have 4 older chicken hens. Getting ducks has been a dream of mine for years, and we finally got some! 2 Rouen, and 2 Indian Runners. Additionally, we got 2 Americauna, and 2 Buff Orpington to get our chicken flock back up in numbers.

    Here are my questions...
    I want to raise the new birds together. I got them medicated feed to start, but is that right? I've seen differing opines on this - also, brewers yeast for the ducks, but is it fine for the chicks to get?

    When can I introduce the ducks to water for swimming?

    At what point do I intro the ducks to the older hens, or should I wait and introduce all the new birds at the same time?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Welcome to Duckdom!

    Ducks don't need medicated feed. There is some disagreement about whether it is okay or not to do so. I think you are going to need to sort it out based on your best judgment. What I know is that at least in the U.S., as far as I know, the medication used is amprolium, and that is supposed to be okay - according to the people who think it's okay. And there is research that can be cited for that.

    There are those of us - I am one - who feel that even if a medication is okay, that we don't want to medicate our ducklings unnecessarily.

    And some folks say that they are sure that medicated feed is not good for ducklings.

    I do not think that extra B vitamins are harmful to chicks . . . but you may want to check with a vet on that.

    I put my ducklings into 2 inches of 90F water when they were two days old. Do not ever leave ducklings unattended in water, by the way. They can get into trouble - they can even drown. Or they can get chilled and get sick and worse. So water time is good for them, and it needs to be warm enough, not too deep, and they need to come out before they get too tired, into a clean, warm, dry brooder. If they don't start preening right away, towel them off with a dry washcloth.

    Ducklings grow so much faster than chicks!!! You may not be able to safely keep them together more than a week. Please keep a close eye on them so no one gets trampled or pecked.

    There is a Sticky on Raising Ducklings that you may want to read.
     
  3. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    southern AL
    Check the medication in the feed to be sure it is safe for ducks. If not, just use a flock raiser.

    There is niacin in chick feed, but not sure of the effect of increased niacin on chickens.
    Ducks can swim at any time, just have the water a bit warmer when they are itty bitty and get them dried and back under heat to finish drying when they are done so they don't get chilled.
    I give them water to swim and dive and they take advantage from that early on, but also give them something to get a break on if needed. Once they are done with the fun play, I take them out. Fun play lasts longer as they get older. I don't give them access to water to swim in on their own until they can get in and out of the kiddie pool on their own.

    Introductions. I let everybody know there are new littles - they can hear and see them, but not get to them. As the littles get bigger, they get supervised visits free in the yard and the bigs can view from afar and usually don't interfere. Then I create a pen where the littles have room and the bigs can check out the pen, but not get in. I find introductions, if taken slowly, work reasonably well.


    I have 2 new chicks this year. They will soon move to the chicken coop for nights so the adult chicken can start getting used to them, but can't get to them.
    When we do barrier free overnights, there will be lots of checking in on them and we might put a camera out there so we can spy from the house.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
  4. potocki99

    potocki99 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 27, 2011
    Northern Michigan
    Excellent information, thank you!

    I didn't realize I could start them swimming so quickly - looks like today will be the day :)

    At what point would I know if I have drakes or hens?
     
  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    My Runners got their quacks between three and six weeks.
     

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