When can ducks go outside?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by HeatherLynn, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. Bubbles85

    Bubbles85 Hatching

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    Jan 21, 2016
    I am new the this site, and i put my ducklings out side in a rabbit hutch with plastic around the cage, to keep them warm, and they do say the have to have a lot of food to stay warm, as well as water, due to it freezing, they could choke on their food with out the h20, but it says they love this weather in st.Louis. They say ducks can survive in -20 degrees weather with food and water full, and if it gets to cold a heat lamp is needed



    I would like to know if i can bring them inside and let them lay in the bathtub and after they warm up go back outside??
     
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    @Bubbles85 How old are your ducklings? putting them outside before they completely feather in is asking for trouble if it's cold and they have no heat lamp. Food and water isn't going to keep them warm. Bringing them inside to warm up and then taking them back outside to a cold rabbit hutch isn't going to do anything except possibly make them sick. I suggest you keep them inside in a brooder till fully feathered unless your having nice warm 75-80 degree temps.outside Put a thermometer in the rabbit hitch and see what the temps are in it.

    Welcome to BYC
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2016
  3. LeannS

    LeannS Songster

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    I am sure your ducks would appreciate bedding, like straw to stand on when they are caged.and out of the wind.Is your cage inside a shelter. How old are your ducklings.? If they are young ducklings, then they might not be warm enough. Not all duck can handle -20 .They can still get frost bit and loose their webbed feet.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2016
  4. lcarpenter1

    lcarpenter1 In the Brooder

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    Apr 17, 2016
    Miss Lydia,

    This was an old post, but others might have the same question.

    Many breeders recommend 4 weeks in a brooder day and night, but as you say, they can sure stink up a brooder! Cleaning even twice a day can't defeat the smell.

    When do I put them outside? Depends on the outside temperature. I live in central Tennessee. It's in the 70s by mid April, but can get to the mid 50s at night. So, as long as the weather is in the mid to high 70s or better, I take them out of the brooder between the second and third weeks. I still bring them back to the brooder at night until the fourth week. Perhaps longer, if they haven't feathered out. Sunburn can be an issue if they are still molting and patchy. Once feathered, I put them into a covered 10'x10'x6 pen. I keep them segregated like that until they are 10-12 weeks old, then move them either to the orchard for grass and bug patrol or to our pond for algae duty.

    If you have no more than five or six ducklings to brood, and you have a bathtub that you can spare full time for a few weeks, the tub as a brooder makes an easier clean up than a regular brooder. I use the hand sprayer attachment to hose down the tub and the wooden frame I made five times a day. If you run the exhaust fan, you can't smell the ducks from right outside the bathroom door. That's not the case when I have them in the chick brooder in our garage!

    The frame I made for the tub is a really simple construction project. It's made from 1"x 2" lumber, and is covered with latex shelf liner that is as wide or wider than the frame and tub. The trick is to make it just wide enough to cover the side of the tub, but not so wide/long that it folds over.

    To fit, measure your tub's length and width at midway, at the edge, and half way in between that on each side. Taper the slats that go between them. I measured and cut mine before assembling, but you could probably make a rectangle, then saw off the ends to match the shape of your tub. Most tubs are fairly oval. Mine was a bit wider at the drain end. Consequently, the frame looks slightly like a rose trellis.

    The cross pieces make up the bottom of the frame, and should be wide enough to reach outermost slats. Three or four pieces on edge should be plenty. The top slats run end to end, and are laid flat. Lay them no more than one inch between slats. Don't worry about the gap; the shelf liner offers plenty of support. Screw the long slats to the bottom cross pieces. I recommend pre-drilling the holes so that the wood doesn't split. Once assembled, start, but do not fully insert four screws into four corners of the bottom of the frame as "legs" to let the water drain beneath it and to allow air to circulate.

    I bought a plastic paint tray and framed it into the end near the drain.The edges rest neatly on the wood and liner, and support the tray level with the floor of their bathtub brooder. The ducklings don't have to climb up to get in. As the tray ramps down to the deep portion, it's still safe and easy for tiny ducklings to get back out of the water during the first week. I clean and refill it with 90 degree water at each cleaning.

    It probably doesn't matter what color liner you use, but I put white shelf liner over the frame, and a brown square of liner in one corner at the high end of the tub. The ducklings seem to see the brown square as a nest. The warming light is aimed at at that spot to help keep it and them dry and warm. The thermometer is attached to the tub with clear packaging tape just above that spot.

    Hope this helps!
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. RainForestBird

    RainForestBird Songster

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    I have four Ancona ducks that I got from a breeder. She keeps her babies in her office so that they imprint on her. My house isn't large enough to have them inside because I have 4 dogs that I don't trust with fragile little things. Two are huge and clumsy (but very sweet) and one is very jealous and nippy, the other one is just too curious, I would not trust him with small children let alone small birds. So the ducklings live in the shower stall in my RV in a clear plastic tote. I have an alternative tote of the same size where they eat and splash around, we haven't tried swimming yet but that's next. I don't know about you people who rinse your ducky poop down the tub, I worry way too much about clogging up my pipes. Grit and uneaten morsels mixed with poop would clog my pipes and ruin my septic tank/RV waste tank in a matter of minutes. So I line the totes with bar towels and wash them by hand in a Clorox solution and hang them up on the clothes line, I change this every time we feed which is about 4 times a day. Thank god its been warm and sunny. Because the RV is basically a box on wheels it heats up really quickly in the summer sun, so no heat lamp is required during the day and most nights we get by without it. I keep a careful watch on the thermometer so there's no over heating. I try to keep it at 90 degrees. I have battery powered fans to keep the air moving and I keep two windows open during the day in addition to the vent/skylight. I line the tub around the tote with foil backed styrofoam insulation to conserve heat. The plan is to move the babies out to a chicken coop with attached run at the five week mark provided everyone has their adult feathers. I am really, really worried about raccoons because I have lost chickens in a previous location, and they hang around the house regardless of my cats and constant spraying with bleach. I am thinking about getting an electrical livestock fence for the perimeter of the coop and run. I will not leave my babies out there until it is completely wired and protected. I am also thinking about getting motion detection alarms, but worry that they will be going off all night. I will put bells on the fencing that surrounds the coop so any movement will cause a clanking that I can hear in my house. I plan to make the bells from empty cat food cans, since I end up with so many. I always knew they would come in handy some day! I also have two five month old pheasants that are outside all day now. The raccoons know not to mess with them because they can be quite mean and have sharp hooked beaks. They will be moved out to a run as soon as I finish building it. I use D rings to secure their cages which are extra extra large ASPCA wire kennels. They seem to be doing fine eating worms and bugs through the wire bottom cages, but will not eat slugs! This is why I got ducks. I will be moving their run around so that each part of the yard gets worked over for slugs, and I am feeding them dandelion greens so they get used to weeding. I plan on moving to a property where I can build an enclosed pond / habitat for the ducks and larger flight cages for pheasants and quail. I have cortunix quail and ring necked pheasant eggs incubating in my RV
     
  6. RainForestBird

    RainForestBird Songster

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    Jul 12, 2016
    Mine are two weeks old today. For the last few days I've been letting them out in a run that I built for them that is entirely screened in with hardwarr cloth on the top to prevent attacks from above and "pet proof" vinyl screen door mesh on the sides- the frame is pressure treated wood because it will get wet. The run has a solid wood box at the end of it that allows them to be completely sheltered and enclosed if they choose-but they never have. They prefer to run around in the roughly 12' long x 3' wide x 3' tall screened area that has a "floor" of soft plastic garden fencing so they can pull worms and grubs from the ground and not get their feet caught or bruised. If it gets rained on, the solid box part has a metal roof that is slanted to let the water run off. Our temps are 80's during the day and 60 & 50's at night. I bring them in each night but that entails getting on my hands and kees on the muddy ground to collect them all. If I put a brooder light inside the solid box would it be enough to keep them warm at night? I have wired the opening closed so raccoons can't get in. The only worry I have is that they will slice though the screened part with sharp claws The mesh material is designed to be cat claw and dog toenail proof. They really can't get in from the bottom. Its much too hot and mucky for them to be inside all day-and I'm wondering if the night as well is too uncomfortable. I don't use air conditioning only fans strategically placed within the house.
     
  7. RainForestBird

    RainForestBird Songster

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    Jul 12, 2016
    I don't understand putting ducks inside the house. Ducks are farm animals, they carry salmonella which can be passed to humans through contact with their droppings and even their bodies. What is wrong with putting a duck in a barn or a duck house with a brooder lamp if a hen isn't present? Its summer and the brooder lamp without ventilation gets too hot. Its like bundling up a baby in the summer time, there is no reason to do it and in fact it can cause more harm than good. I build a duck house for my ducks with an enclosed area that has a roof and walls. The ducks have access to a run where their water and food is. I do not keep water in their "house" because it would get their bedding wet. That is what I think causes problems. I use straw from a feed store for the duck's bedding. It lasts much longer and keeps them warmer when it's dry. that is why I give my ducks access to their run where their food is at night. They can go wherever its most comfortable.
     
    clitonwood likes this.
  8. Cherib603

    Cherib603 Chirping

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    It's a combination of personal choice and necessity.
    Not everyone has a barn or secure outdoor spot they can keep warm enough to have a brooder in. Others just enjoy having the little balls of fluff nearby to enjoy and to handle while they are babies so they grow up people-friendly.
    I do agree that washing all that poop and food waste down the drain can cause plumbing and septic problems, so I don't do that, but I rather enjoy having the littles around and don't mind doing the work to keep them clean and unsmelly until such time they are safe to be outside.

    To each his own.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. RainForestBird

    RainForestBird Songster

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    Jul 12, 2016
    I guess it is personal preference. I draw the line at letting my dog sleep on my bed. Having dogs and cats in the house is enough mingling with the animal kingdom for me.

    BTW-I gave my ducks fresh baby cabbage (shredded) in their food bowl today and it made their droppings horribly sticky. I can't imagine having that smell in my bathroom!
     
    clitonwood likes this.

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