Questions for you duck people!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by birdlover, May 23, 2007.

  1. birdlover

    birdlover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Northern Va.
    Hi!!

    Tomorrow morning I am picking up two 1-week old Indian Runner ducklings from a local school. Do you have any advice for me? I do have a lot of experience with chicks but not ducklings. Here's what I have planned for right now:
    I have a HUGE cardboard box and a brooder light to keep them in. I was going to keep them in the house for right now. I know they should eat unmedicated chick starter and have plenty of water available. Okay, here's some questions:
    - What do you recommend for bedding?
    - Can they eat anything else for treats, or added nutrition, at this point?
    - How do you set up your brooder? I'm worried about them getting the bedding all wet and moldy. How do I deal with that? Change it every day? More than once a day?
    - Anything else you would advise me on for now? I read the thread about keeping ducks and chickens together and that was helpful for when I put them in the coop with my 5 hens and 1 roo.
    THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP!!! I'm very excited! They're sooooo cute!!!!

    Ellen
     
  2. Cricket

    Cricket Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 27, 2007
    This is what I do...

    Ducks are VERY stinky and messy without a good bedding and changed often... but unbelievably... they are also the cleanest fowl when it comes to parasites and things like that... because they like water so much.

    They WILL get messy with their water, and they poo poo unlike chickens... they are like little poo poo squirt guns. IT FLIES!! Watch out! ^_^

    Because of this... I use a big plastic tote, and cedar shavings. I know that it's been said that it's not that great due to the oil factor, but it keeps the aroma out. Ducks also naturally have oils from their skins which keep them afloat on water.. so I wouldn't think the bedding would really hurt them, and I've never had a problem with it. I've just released my second litter of baby ducklings, and now on chicks.

    Give them PLENTY of water and feed (using standard chick equipment or a shallow dish or can lid)... they WILL go through it. And you do NOT want to feed them regular medicated chick starter... they have a feed that's good for ducks... you have to just be specific and tell them it's for ducks. When they get older, you can put them on wild game feed or waterfowl feed.

    Also... ducks are more temp hearty than chicks and can withstand colder temperatures. Put a lamp on them to help them adjust to the new home, but don't stress about getting it at 95 or even 85, I would think around 75 is good for a bit. They will grow really fast!

    My ducklings are 4 weeks old now, and have been outside for about a week and a half now. There are 2 ducklings, and they live with my Harlequin Welch.
    So, they have cuddle partners. When my runner feels better (was attacked by a dog), she will be in with the rest of the ducks as well.

    I'm no expert, this is just my experience so far.

    Cricket
     
  3. birdlover

    birdlover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Northern Va.
    Oh THANK you Cricket!! So the temp is okay at 75 - 80 when a week old? Do you give your ducklings treats? When can you tell the sex of runners?
    Thanks again!!!!!

    Ellen
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2007
  4. Cricket

    Cricket Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 27, 2007
    Yes, that temp should be just fine at a week old. When they get about 2-3 weeks... you can even shut the light off during the day if you have them indoors with no heavy drafts near by.

    I always catch spiders and thingy's that come in around the house for them. You should SEE them catch those mosquito eaters and down them! Little baby ducklings are GREAT bug control! LOL!!!

    I've even seen mine down those hard beetles that like to fly in at night if you have the door open. My two ducklings would chomp on it for a bit, then pass it to the other one, chomp on it for a bit... pass it again, until they had the whole thing down! I couldn't believe it! They were about 3 weeks at that time.

    Yes... I've been watching my ducklings too much! LOL!

    I had my ducklings by the back door in the laundry room... so they got a lot of bugs involuntarily too.

    As far as other treats... I've only fed them crushed potato chips, corn bread, and tortillas. When they got into their "months" of age.. they would sneak into the dog and cat food. grrrrrrrrrrrrr

    Oh... and keep them away from your garden when they get older (around 1-4 months)!!! They seem to like my flowers and onions the most! BAH!

    Oh... and I forgot about the sex thingy... it's kind of hard to tell what they are until they get a little older... there is a way to tell, but it's hard.
    When they get older (I'm not sure what age yet), probably whenever they get their feathers in (about 1-2 months)... the males will develop a single curly feather that will curl backwards on their tails from what I've read... I haven't had a full grown male yet... so I can not say for sure, just what I've seen on the internet from research.

    If they are girls... you should get a good amount of eggs. Pekins are good egg layers.

    You'll have LOTS of fun with them!!!

    Cricket
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2007
  5. Julie R

    Julie R Out Of The Brooder

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    May 23, 2007
    I am new to raising ducks along with chickens. When I went tothe store to get my chicks I saw the box with the ducklings and had to have them I went home that day with 3 chicks and 2 ducklings. I have to say that watching the ducklings is so cute and they grow so fast. I thinkthe breeds I have are a Pekin and the other I know is part crested part mallard. Not sure if we have boys or girls.I named the crested Frodoe ( like the hobbit ) my husband named the pekin Afflac( yea poor duck ).They are about 8 weeks old now and are loving being outside with thier kiddie pool, the only question I have is do I need to clip wings?
    Julie
     
  6. Cricket

    Cricket Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 27, 2007
    You will not need to clip the wings on the Pekin. I would say, probably not on the mallard mix either. Pekins are too heavy to fly in my experience, and they like to stay close to the food and pond. Your other duck will probably be the same. I have a Harlequin Welch, which comes from the Khaki Campbells I believe. I'm not sure if they are similar to the Mallards or not... but she has never flown as well.

    Ducks are more "herd" oriented than chickens I think. Mine tend to cuddle my wounded ones, instead of peck at them, and they really like to stick together and near us.

    Cricket
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2007
  7. birdlover

    birdlover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Northern Va.
    Well, I'm off to get my ducklings!!!! Will let you know how it goes!! Thanks, Cricket, for all the support and info!

    Ellen
     
  8. Julie R

    Julie R Out Of The Brooder

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    May 23, 2007
    Well the ducks had a very good day - as far as ducks go. Me and hubby got in the pen with them and did our chores of cleaning food dishes and empty the kiddie pool and cleaned it ( than the little stinkers filled thier bills with mud and put it in the pool so much for a nice clean pool ) I have noticed that my Pekin has finally lost the last of his/her yellow color and now is a really nice bright white and the mallard mix has started to get a darker green ( almost looks like an"oil slick" color) on his/ her wings and his/ her pom-pom on his/her head is so big !! I am thinking about getting a few more ducks !!
     
  9. farmertank

    farmertank Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 28, 2007
    Linden TN
    hi birdlover congrats on the baby ducks.
    First of all ducks need oil on them to swim, baby ducks don't have this oil until they get feathers. In nature the mother rubbs her bill along her feathers and then rubbs her bill on the babies to put oil on them. without there mother they won't have this oil so you need to make sure there water or little pool in very shallow so they can't drown. You could put in marbles to help.
    For my 1-4 week olds I use a 30 gallon tote. I cut hardeware cloth to fit down into the tote. Under the hardware cloth I put 2x4 blocks of wood. this keeps the hardware cloth up. I then put hay, dried mowed grass, or shavings around the outside of the hardware cloth(on top), this is something for them to play in and get dry, but keep the middle of the hardware cloth open. This is where I put there water and food. This way most of the water and poop goes down through the hardware cloth and they stay cleaner less stinky and dryer. I then cut more hardware cloth so that it will bend down over the top of the tote so they don't jump out. and I set a heat lamp on top of this in one corner.
    This works great for me and you only have to clean them once a day. I will get pics soon I had to buy a new camera and it was shipped out a few days ago, soooo hopefull soon. i hope this helps. After about 2 weeks if the weather stays upbove 70 even at night you won't nees the heat lamp.

    Julie
     
  10. farmertank

    farmertank Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 28, 2007
    Linden TN
    Julie R

    you will want to clip the mallard mixes wings, it won't fly away, but it will fly around and if you live near other people or a road this can be a problem. The Pekins are too heavy of a duck they won't fly at all.
    Julie
     

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