In the Brooder
- May 19, 2020
Hello, I am wondering at what age can ducklings go outside for the first time? Thank you
Thank you!There is no simple answer to this. Many factors come in to play when you will be able to let them outside full time, the temperature outside, the setup, the age of the birds, breed, and if they have any time to acclimate to the temps outside. The most two most important factors though are the age of the bird and the temps outside.
I like to think of my birds like plants, you can't just set a tomato plant outside after being in a steady temperate climate inside, it needs to slowly acclimate to the weather so it doesn't get too shocked, short bits each day, and slowly increase over a week or two. I like to apply this same way of thinking with my birds. Remember when fall hits, and the temps start to get cold and you feel like its freezing, and then by the end of winter, those same temps feel like a paradise, that's basically the same thing. Just because you see wild mallard ducklings walking around outside doesn't mean you should let yours out, birds adapt to there climate.
I let my ducklings out over a week or two spans, (Weather permitting" use common sense, don't let ducklings out when the temps are near freezing. I take them out for longer bits each day, after a while, they are able to be outside comfortably in the temps. If you don't have a good sense of what temps are too cold for ducklings, watch them. Ducklings that are cold will start peeping, shivering, try to get comfortable, may start to look lethargic, they may also try to huddle together, but they will sometimes also do this naturally anyway. If you notice any of those symptoms, bring them back inside to a warm environment.
If you want a simple answer when they can be let out, there isn't, but a good guideline is once they develop their adult feathers (6-10weeks) they are more able to retain body heat and repel water more efficiently. Like previously mentioned, watch to see if they are cold and use common sense with the temps. I acclimate my birds to the temps, and if I feel it is needed I will set a heat source in their secure coop, so they can use the heat as needed. If you don't have electricity in your coop, you may consider bringing them inside if the temps are dropping pretty low, taking away a bathable water source so they can't get chilled after bathing would be good if you are a bit iffy about the temps, and always make sure their coop and run are very secure, ducklings are very prone to predators, numerous times I have lost ducklings do to my negligence of leaving them during the day in an unprotected area.