Newbie With 5 Day Old Indian Runners

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Amy S, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. Amy S

    Amy S Chillin' With My Peeps

    Here to introduce myself, and my three runners - Ming Ming, McNugget, and Petri. (see avatar) Hi to all!

    I am new to ducks, but not new to birds altogether. I have knowledge in the usual exotic household avian species (cockatiel, canary, finch, dove, backyard birding, ect.)... but this is a whole 'nother ballgame! These little guys hatched 3/13, and we brought them home on 3/15. We have them in a great, big, roomy rubbermaid with heat lamp, water, and food. They have not been for any swims in anything and have not been outside as of yet. They are growing, and doing well and are very happy ducklings!

    We have a small backyard, but a great area picked out that will give three birds lots of room. We are in the process of building their duck house/coop, and run as I speak.

    I would LOVE to get any advice from you guys! I guess the great thing about having 'any' kind of bird background is that it really makes you STOP, THINK, and ASK - before doing anything with birds you don't have experience with.

    The site is very knowledgable and looks great! I will be stopping by (probably daily, lol) to ensure that I doing all that I can for my birds! More pics to come!!!

    Amy S.
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England

    Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks, or The Ultimate Pet Duck Guidebook would give you loads of help!

    Meanwhile, I will try to list the first things that come to mind.

    If you have found duckling food, that is wonderful! If you are feeding chick starter, there may not be enough niacin for some ducklings (they need three times the niacin chicks do), so sprinkling brewer's yeast on their food, or dissolving a 100 mg niacin capsule in a gallon of water will help. Once they are outside eating bugs, it is less of a concern.

    They need, need, to wash their little faces frequently to avoid infections. A daily bath or two is good, many people make a head washer they cannot get into (margarin tub with a hole cut in the lid, for example).

    They splash water a lot (perhaps you have noticed?), so managing that will help keep them healthier.

    Baths are fine at an early age in my experience, but when I say bath, I mean at first, 90 degree F water up to the tops of their legs only, close supervision, and they usually tucker out after about five or ten minutes at first. Then get them back into a clean warm dry brooder, and wipe off any that don't immediately start preening with a dry washcloth.

    Keeping them at a comfortable temperature starting around 90F the first week and dropping 5 degrees a week is a rule of thumb, but actual practice is all over the map. I followed that rule of thumb with my runners and they did fine. The ducklings need to be able to get away from the heat source, as some may overheat at the usually recommended temperatures.

    Ducklings will get into surprising trouble, eating things they ought not (sometimes bedding shavings or pellets, pieces of plants or plastic, etc.). One woman showed us a photo of a duckling inside the reservoir bottle of a waterer!

    I also began putting just a sprinkling of chick grit on their food once a day (perhaps a teaspoon). After Week One, I began giving them very finely chopped treats and small peas. They will overeat, so go light on the treats at first.

    They are susceptible to harm from feet, other pets, falls, drafts, moldy feed, chills, digestive impaction, and various infections. Still, they generally sail through ducklinghood without any of these problems.

    After they are grown, you'll need to watch out for bumblefoot, which may be one of the most common ailments of otherwise healthy ducks.

    I am sure I missed a bunch, but I will send this on with prayers for you all, for much fun ahead!
  3. 4-H chicken mom

    4-H chicken mom Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 3, 2007
    Oberlin, OH
    I keep my Storey's guide handy at all times. Along with the folks here, it can be a great resource book. :thumbsup

    Edited to say, Hi and :welcome from Ohio. So happy you joined.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2012
  4. Amy S

    Amy S Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks, both, for the welcomes. :) Thank you, Amiga! So far, so good. I'm noticing a great size difference just from last week, and they are definitely all about the water (as ducks are! lol) .
  5. featherfinder

    featherfinder Runner Lover


    Spend lots of time with them!!!! Get them use to you becuase runners are one of the most skiddish breeds. And dont freak out when they go threw their phase when they think you will kill them. Continue to spend time with them and enjoy them. That is all I can add on to what everyone else has said!!!! Enjoy them! Ducks are amazing!!!!!
  6. Amy S

    Amy S Chillin' With My Peeps

    Great advice! Thank ya!!

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