Two ducklings on the way! What should I know?!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by poozer, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. poozer

    poozer Out Of The Brooder

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    Im purchasing just two, male, Pekin ducklings (for now) and have been reading information on them like CRAZY!! The boys hatch January 7th and will arrive January 8th or 9th! I was planning on keeping them in an a large dog cage with bedding at the bottom in the beginning. It would have a water dish, and food dish, and a heat lamp tangling above. I would probably let them waddle outside a few times a day (as long as Im outside with them and depending on the weather.)
    What kind of vitamins, probiotics, feed, etc. should they have and if any? Should I put in a ratty old towel inside for something for the boys to snuggle in? I want them to become very social (realizing though, every duck is different) because we have many people that come visit the farm. Eventually we want to try them out (once older) in with our hens, but I have read that this particular set up hasnt worked out for everyone so we will try it once the boys are a little older. Any information is greatly appreciated! Till then, more google searching[​IMG]! Thanks and God bless!!
     
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    With a proper duck food I don't think the required nutrients and vitamins would be taken care of. I would be very careful about taking them outside - ducks are very susceptible to cold. Also be careful about letting them swim until they get feathered. I saw somewhere else you mentioned Metzer's. They really know their stuff. Good luck to you!
     
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Your enthusiasm is cheering! [​IMG]

    Please take a look through the stickies at the top of the forum. Many of us have compiled what we feel is some of the best information about duck care.

    Could you say a bit more about where the dog cage will be kept, what other animals are around?

    I like having a thermometer for the brooder - takes the guesswork out, and it is no substitute for watching the babies to see if they are too warm or too cool.

    I used turkey/waterfowl starter with chopped rolled oats (4 to 1 ratio to adjust protein %). I also gave them a teaspoon of grit in their food each day and started them on lettuce as a treat when they were a week old. Towels worked very well for bedding. Some work involved, but no cost, and the rinse water went onto the garden and I was stunned at how well the garden liked it.

    Water management is more important than I can communicate to you right now. There are many, many ways to do it right![​IMG]

    Ducklings must splash. It is in the contract. They must also fling things like poop and damp feed. Also in the contract. Set up the brooder so that the water that gets splashed goes somewhere other than the bedding and the flung stuff is easy to wipe up. 70%cocoa, tweetysvoice, OldGuy43, and others have done nicely with water management.

    Marwan has a couple of drakes he has raised, so see if you can find some of his old posts. Haven't heard from him in a while . . . .wonder where he got to?
     
  4. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    1. I would suggest adding a Niacin supplement. What feed are you going to use?
    2. You can add a towel but it may be harder to keep clean.
    3. You might want to be very careful. Since you chose to only have males it's much more likely they will try to breed your hens.
     
  5. poozer

    poozer Out Of The Brooder

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    Redsox- (Go Boston!)
    I talked to Metzers a little bit today too, they were very helpful with the few questions I had. He suggested to put their cages next to each other in the beginning so they can be able to observe one another. They said that would help with bringing them together as I know aggression problems and matting problems have occurred. We live in the south so the cold isnt too much of a problem this time of year:) Thank you SO much about telling me about the swimming! That is why Google can be flawed, ahahaha! Thanks again so much!!
     
  6. poozer

    poozer Out Of The Brooder

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    Amiga-
    You were so sweet and helpful, thank you!! They will be kept in an unheated/uncooled garage or shed. The dog cage is your typical dog cage, it was built for a golden retriever. My largest golden is 95lb. and I could still put him inside it. They might possibly need two heat lamps due to the size, Metzer warned me they might not understand the heat lamp right away, so I needed to watch them and make sure they are under it. The chickens are outside, the goats are in a separate pen outside, as well. I then have 3 dogs, to of which go out for a swim twice a day. But they are sweet with animals so getting them with ducks wont be a problem, (they are used to it.) And then like I said we have 5 hens and counting:)
    The thermometer is a great idea, thanks! Ill probably keep it to just the bedding as we use it for our goats too! Metzer said the same, try to keep it game bird starter? Just make sure its a crumble? hahaha Tomorrow I visit the feed store to actually learn what a "crumble" type of food is!:) The water control will take some figuring out. But Ill make sure it happens! haha! I did read not to let them play in the same dish they drink out of? It makes sense. Ill look at the names you gave. Thanks!! Any more advice is always wanted!!!:) Thanks again so much!!!
     
  7. poozer

    poozer Out Of The Brooder

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    Kevin-
    Thank you!! I did hear that the males might try to mate with the hens. That bridge will be crossed if and when we get there. hahaha!! But its worth a shot:) Niacin? Do you know if I could purchase something like that at my local feed store? Sorry for all the questions, but I wanna make sure I am as prepared as I can be!!:) Thanks again!!
     
  8. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you can't get duck/waterfowl starter, non-medicated chick starter will work. You should give a niacin supplement either brewers yeast or niacin added to water. Even in the south, ducklings need warmth. They should start at 85-90 degrees and go down in temp weekly. A chill can kill a young duckling. Have EVERYTHING ready and to temp before you go pick them up. Call the PO and let them know to expect them and to call you when they arrive. Depending on where you are, your local PO may not have much experience with live birds. Mine didn't, I still remember the look on the lady's face when she handed me a chirping box. I got my very first ducks (runners) from Metzer. They are a great hatchery, very helpful and my birds were great.

    Like Amiga said, check the stickies, lots of helpful info. Also, having a book on hand is, I think, indispensible. BYC is an awesome source of help and info but I like being able to find an answer in a pinch. I have Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks and I refer to it ALL the time.

    Be prepared. Have your feed, bowls etc on hand. I agree with redsoxs (my hubby will LOVE your user ID, he's from MA) you shouldn't need vitamins but may want to have electrolytes or chick saver on hand just in case.

    Good luck, post pics and prepare for the stink. It's lucky they are so cute and grow into something we like, otherwise nobody would brood ducklings. [​IMG]
     
  9. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    I used a puppy playpen as a brooder once my runners were two weeks old, and I lined it with plastic poultry fence with one inch openings.

    Ducklings can get themselves into the most ridiculous, unpredictable, and life-threatening situations if they can!!!!!

    Also, forum members have been sadly surprised at the interactions between their ducklings and some of their other animals, so please make no assumptions. Of course, there are also ducks and dogs that are best friends. But please don't leave that to chance. Save yourself as much heartache as possible.

    Predators you have never seen before may show up. Make sure the ducklings cannot get killed. I have read of people who have had other animals unmolested by predators, but their ducks got attacked. Please think through their security. Half inch metal hardware cloth is literally a lifesaver. Getting them in at night, if they free range, makes a big difference. So many critters want duck dinner.

    I gave my ducklings baths as early as the first week, but watched over them constantly and dried off anyone who did not start preening immediately after being returned to the brooder. Ducklings and ducks need to be able to wash their heads frequently to avoid eye, sinus and ear infections.
     
  10. poozer

    poozer Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks Amiga!!
    The dogs and ducks wont be meeting for a while!! hahaha When they do meet it will be through nice (intruder proof;) cage doors. We are constantly bringing new animals here (just like the hens who got here 4 days ago) so the dogs are constantly having to make "friends." But I never underestimate the power of "instincts." hahaha!! The boys will arrive on the 9th Metzer says but I didnt think to call the PO. I will do the right away in the morning. We live in a very country area, but considering the people of this world, I will definitely call. Thanks:) We personally are building the house they will live in (once grown up.) Its made to withstand animals jumping on top, digging under and attacking all sides. Its made kind of like birdie prison, only more sunlight.:) I have parrots and we actually keep an eye dropper on hand. We were told by our vets if our birds ever had an emergency a cheap and great "life saver" is water and sugar.

    You then use an eye dropper, but apply the sugar/water ratio appropriate to the size of the animal. We did this with our dog but instead had to use coke because we were on the road and werent near an exit. We are debating on the free range thing, there is so many pros and cons. The bath thing is a great suggestion too!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Were going to the feed store this week to talk to them!:)
     

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