Surprise Duckling Shipment Mid-Winter

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by natem1270, Dec 3, 2019.

  1. natem1270

    natem1270 Chirping

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    About a month ago I decided that I wanted to raise three more ducklings to join my current bachelor flock of three. I went on pure poultry and ordered three sexed male Pekins to be delivered in April. I raised three Khaki Campbell ducklings last April, and felt like the weather here (Rhode Island) at the time was manageable with heat lamps and an outdoor coop.

    This morning (mid snow storm) I got an email that my three ducklings with hatch date April 6th just shipped. I called them immediately and they stated that it was an error on their side and they would gladly still send us the three ducks in April, but the ducklings they sent today were already in transit and there was nothing they could do about that.

    I have since then been frantically trying to prepare for the new group's arrival in the middle of winter. I understand that now that I have to raise these ducks indoors until they have grown their adult feathers. The following is a photo of the box I intend to raise them in upon arrival.

    for_ducklings.jpg

    I plant to place this box in my room (70-75 degrees Fahrenheit all day) with both heat lamps on because I read they need to be at about 90 degrees during their early life. I bought a small drown-proof water container for them to have fresh water and will line the bottom with clean hay. The bath tub will be their pool while they are inside.

    If I get some answers on a few of my questions, or just comments on my plan overall I would appreciate it.

    1.) I suspect that the Pekin's will quickly outgrow this 2x2x1 box and I will need to upgrade. My plan is to wait until they are ready to move into my garage in our old 4x4x4 duck pen (just upgraded) with two heat lamps until they have their full feathers. How long should I expect to have to wait before the birds are ready to be in an unheated garage with only heat lamps?

    2.) With 70-75 degree indoor temperatures and the two heat lamps am I risking the ducklings becoming too cold/warm?

    3.) Here's a link to a thread with my current flock and their new pen:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/adding-new-ducks-going-poorly.1339465/#post-21931132

    I have a divider in which I can easily split the coop into two parts separated by chicken wire (see not touch method) to assimilate the ducklings in with the young adults I currently have. Any idea what age I would be able to get these guys outside in the outdoor pen? I would not plan to let them join the other ducks outside during the winter.

    4.) Pure poultry credited me $80 for my purchase and scheduled another delivery of three in April which I plan to cancel. Are there any other essential duckling supplies I am missing that I could use this store credit on?

    Sorry if a lot of this information is easily accessible and I have not searched yet... I was planning on doing thorough research before April but the surprise shipment has caught me unprepared.
     
    BeanBoy, Suedan, DiYMama540 and 2 others like this.
  2. Jpat

    Jpat Free Ranging

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    They definitly outgrow brooders fast and two lights might cover too much area

    The common practice is to focus the heat on one area, so the ducklings can move in and out of the heated area as they need, over heating is as bad or worse than under heating

    95 degrees directly under the lamp for 5 days then 90 degrees for 5ish days then 85 for 5ish days. But watch them, if they huddle and cry they are cold, if they pant they are too warm


    Good luck! post lots of pictures and ask every question you can think of, someone will be happy to help
     
  3. natem1270

    natem1270 Chirping

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    Thank you for your prompt reply and I will make sure to focus the head into a single corner of the brooder. I have a cockatiel in the same room and I've seen the panting you mention when she's too warm (usually when a new item scares her and she takes to the air for a few minutes) .. so I will make sure to watch for similar signs of overheating.
     
  4. Jpat

    Jpat Free Ranging

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    No problem at all !
    did you raise your other ducks too?

    Welcome to the forum by the way!
     
  5. natem1270

    natem1270 Chirping

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    Happy to be here, what a nice community! We raised three Khakis from 10 days old last April. Sadly, we lost two to date and adopted another two to keep the survivor company. Here's a couple pictures of them in their first experience with the ground being coated in snow. ducks.jpg
    Paul, Black Bill (our only surviving Khaki), and Louie from top to bottom. Here's one of Black Bill deciding to fly over snow instead of making the walk.



    bb_flight.jpg

    Lastly, as a tribute here's the original three. Two on the right are the ones we lost.
    originals.jpg
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    :eek:


    A week?
    Seriously that 2x2 is way too small.
    I move chicken chicks out to coop at one week, with their heating pad.

    This is for chickens but probably applies to ducks too:
    Here's my notes on chick heat, hope something in there might help:

    They need to be pretty warm(~85-90F on the brooder floor right under the lamp and 10-20 degrees cooler at the other end of brooder) for the first day or two, especially if they have been shipped, until they get to eating, drinking and moving around well. But after that it's best to keep them as cool as possible for optimal feather growth and quicker acclimation to outside temps. A lot of chick illnesses are attributed to too warm of a brooder. I do think it's a good idea to use a thermometer on the floor of the brooder to check the temps, especially when new at brooding, later I still use it but more out of curiosity than need.

    The best indicator of heat levels is to watch their behavior:
    -If they are huddled/piled up right under the lamp and cheeping very loudly, they are too cold.
    -If they are spread out on the absolute edges of the brooder as far from the lamp as possible, panting and/or cheeping very loudly, they are too hot.
    -If they sleep around the edge of the lamp calmly just next to each other and spend time running all around the brooder they are juuuust right!

    The lamp is best at one end of the brooder with food/water at the other cooler end of the brooder, so they can get away from the heat or be under it as needed. Wattage of 'heat' bulb depends on size of brooder and ambient temperature of room brooder is in. Regular incandescent bulbs can be used, you might not need a 'heat bulb'. If you do use a heat bulb make sure it's specifically for poultry, some heat bulbs for food have teflon coatings that can kill birds. You can get red colored incandescent bulbs at a reptile supply source. A dimmer extension cord is an excellent way to adjust the output of the bulb to change the heat without changing the height of the lamp.
     
    Meg-in-MT, Kiki, ColtHandorf and 3 others like this.
  7. Jpat

    Jpat Free Ranging

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    Beautifull ducks, its sad to lose them they are so sweet. Glad your back on track and building a flock though
     
  8. johntfs

    johntfs Chirping

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    Maybe instead of going with heat lamps you might go with a heating pad/blanket. Maybe put the pad/blanket in plastic so you won't have to replace/wash it every day when the ducklings crap all over it. Then cover that with cloth you don't care if they crap on. The idea is that you give them something they can crawl/huddle under and then leave if they get too warm. Puppy pads to deal with the poop. Maybe go straight to some version of the 4 x 4 container, even a big plastic bin.

    A source of water they can't get into or drown in but can still dip their little beaks in to clean their nostrils. Maybe have a second plastic bin you can put them in while you clean the first one. Maybe mount a mirror or two in their homes to give them the illusion of more ducks around them.

    Caveat, all of this advice is second-hand from the internet I'm a ducking "fan" but have zero first-hand knowledge/experience with them.
     
    natem1270 and DiYMama540 like this.
  9. natem1270

    natem1270 Chirping

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    Thank you for your insight and I will make sure to heed your advice. As discussed by @Jpat I plan to move the heat lamp(s) to only one side of the brooder. The 2x2 box was a panic build to make sure we had a warm spot for ducklings right on arrival. We recently built a full new pen so we have access to the old pen and plenty of scrap wood to expand as needed. I'm glad to hear that I can expect to move them into the garage after about a week, the old pen should be plenty large enough. I'd like to clarify, when you say a week are you estimating the time until the Pekin's outgrow the small brooder or when I can safely keep them in the garage with heat lamps? Hoping you mean the latter. If not, I will start redesigning a larger indoor brooder tomorrow.
     
    sourland, DiYMama540 and Jpat like this.
  10. natem1270

    natem1270 Chirping

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    Amazing that after a year of duck ownership your duck fandom still leaves you more knowledgeable than myself. Maybe time to consider dabbling into ducks? I am going to explore some heating pad options in a local pet store tomorrow. I appreciate the input.
     
    DiYMama540, muddy75 and Jpat like this.

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