when do you let your ducks swim for the first time?


In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 14, 2014
based on how much they love their water bowl, I know that my ducklings would be obsessed with a chance to swim. They are under a week old. They have just started preening behavior. I know I would need to dry them off and supervise and whatnot, but are they too young still to go for a quick swim?
I put mine in the bath tub at a week old and filled it just enough so they could swim in one end but could walk into the shallower end if they were tired. Always supervise and they tire quickly, but they do love it!
I've let my babies go swimming at 2 days old. Not deep enough to swim in of course, just some splash water 1-2 inches deep. By a week I would do what was said above, deep enough in one end of the bath tub to swim and the other end to walk, always with super vision. Have fun with your babies!
I think the main concern is that they don't get chilled, or drown. Ducklings not tended by their mother don't have the oils in their feathers that provide water protection for the first week or so when they become more proficient groomers. They can get wet as a result and then they won't float. It would be a good idea to only allow little tiny ones to swim while you can watch them for signs of getting too wet, chilling, or to assist when they need to get out. If you think they might be a little cold, move them immediately to where they can warm up and dry off, like under a heat lamp. Never use deep water, warm water is probably a good idea, and always provide an exit. ONLY when you can supervise. They do love it.
I always cleaned ths brooder so it was dry then let the ducks "swim" in the bathtub. I filled it to the tops of their legs, so a few inches.

Make sure its nice and warm and you dry them off really well. My ducks took their first swim at around a week old.
I got my three ducklings a bit late--they were already a week old. Based on prior experience with ducklings, I simply use my garage sink. I started using tepid water, but I am starting to think that cold water could be fine. This opinion is based on observing nature; when mama duck takes her string of babies to the pond, the water must be quite cold, and nobody seems to mind it. By now, my little ones are nearly a month old, and can barely fit in the sink! It will be time to use the giant livestock tub. They were excellent swimmers right from the start, and certainly love the water. "Ducking" their heads underwater is a sport to watch! I suppose they are doing it to clear their nostrils, but it sure is fun to watch.
Good luck with your brood.

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