Topic of the Week - Raising and Caring for Ducklings

sumi

Égalité
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Jun 28, 2011
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Pic by @seachainanmadra

Spring is around the corner, they say, so duck keepers and enthusiasts will be thinking about ducklings soon. This week I would like to hear you all's thoughts, ideas and practices on the topic of raising and caring for ducklings. Specifically:

- Kitting out and setting up the duckling brooder, temperature for brooding, etc.
- Feeding ducklings - What to feed, treats, etc.
- Watering the ducklings
- Supplements?
- Bathing/swimming
- Raising tame ducks
- Raising ducklings under a momma duck
- Introducing ducklings to older flock mates


For a complete list of our Topic of the Week threads, see here:

https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/topic-of-the-week-thread-archive
 

Henrik Petersson

Crowing
11 Years
Jan 9, 2009
646
1,047
312
Karlskrona, Sweden
Remember that muscovy ducks and ducks are two different species, with very different growth rates, and therefore, very different nutritional needs as ducklings!

More to the point: duck ducklings (henceforth called "common ducklings") do well on chick starter feed for the first few weeks. I've seen it recommended on more than one occasion. Muscovy duck ducklings (henceforth called "muscovy ducklings") should not be fed chick starter feed for more than 1-2 weeks, if at all.

We fed our muscovy ducklings chick starter feed for three weeks. This caused their outer wing bones to grow too fast, causing the condition known as angel wing.

This is the horrible result:

20171022_094431.jpg


20171022_095444.jpg


20171022_094456.jpg


So what to do instead? Well, all our other batches (they've been five or so) have been eating basic chicken pellets instead, and they had zero instances of angel wing. I'm no statistician, but the correlation is overwhelming.

Ordinary chicken pellets does have one problem, though: They are a little bit too big for the ducklings' beaks the first week. So I recommend crushing them or soaking them the first week, or maybe give them chick starter feed (which is much finer) for one week.

I want to stress that feeding common ducklings is a whole different matter.
 

Soon2BChixMom

Herding ducks and Wrangling chickens
Jan 8, 2017
9,131
19,726
842
Remember that muscovy ducks and ducks are two different species, with very different growth rates, and therefore, very different nutritional needs as ducklings!

More to the point: duck ducklings (henceforth called "common ducklings") do well on chick starter feed for the first few weeks. I've seen it recommended on more than one occasion. Muscovy duck ducklings (henceforth called "muscovy ducklings") should not be fed chick starter feed for more than 1-2 weeks, if at all.

We fed our muscovy ducklings chick starter feed for three weeks. This caused their outer wing bones to grow too fast, causing the condition known as angel wing.

This is the horrible result:

View attachment 1248780

View attachment 1248782

View attachment 1248783

So what to do instead? Well, all our other batches (they've been five or so) have been eating basic chicken pellets instead, and they had zero instances of angel wing. I'm no statistician, but the correlation is overwhelming.

Ordinary chicken pellets does have one problem, though: They are a little bit too big for the ducklings' beaks the first week. So I recommend crushing them or soaking them the first week, or maybe give them chick starter feed (which is much finer) for one week.

I want to stress that feeding common ducklings is a whole different matter.
If you are crushing them, could you use crumbles instead?
 

Soon2BChixMom

Herding ducks and Wrangling chickens
Jan 8, 2017
9,131
19,726
842
I don't know anything about crumbles. If they have the same nutritional value, I don't see why it shouldn't work.
I believe they are pellets ground up. So, the work is done for you. I don't have ducks, so I was not sure they could eat it with their bills. Sounds like they can.
Does the angel wing fix itself or will they always be like that?
 

Henrik Petersson

Crowing
11 Years
Jan 9, 2009
646
1,047
312
Karlskrona, Sweden
I believe they are pellets ground up. So, the work is done for you. I don't have ducks, so I was not sure they could eat it with their bills. Sounds like they can.
Does the angel wing fix itself or will they always be like that?
It's fixable, but it's a pain in the tail feathers. Apparently you have to pin the wing tips down somehow, for example by taping them, and preferably you should re-do the taping every day. And you have to do it before they reach a certain age.

We just ate our angel-winged ducks.
 

GldnValleyHens

Crowing
Apr 21, 2017
978
2,110
262
Illinois
The biggest problem I've had with raising my baby ducks was the loads of soggy, stinky wet shavings, and the filthy water that they ruined within minutes. Ducklings aren't neat(ish) like chicks, thats for sure! I fed mine chick starter if I remember correctly, glad they didn't end up with angel wing!
 

Henrik Petersson

Crowing
11 Years
Jan 9, 2009
646
1,047
312
Karlskrona, Sweden
The biggest problem I've had with raising my baby ducks was the loads of soggy, stinky wet shavings, and the filthy water that they ruined within minutes. Ducklings aren't neat(ish) like chicks, thats for sure! I fed mine chick starter if I remember correctly, glad they didn't end up with angel wing!
Maybe they were common ducklings and not muscovy ducklings?
 

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