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Baby ducks are so cute. I don’t know which are cuter, baby chicks or baby ducks. I think the ducks have a little bit of an edge, with their big beaks and webbed feet. They are so darn cute!
We are new to raising ducks so we have had to start from the beginning to figure out how to take care of our new pets. You will need a few things to get started with baby duck care.
- Baby ducks
- Large plastic storage container
- Animal bedding
- Heat Lamp
- Duck Starter Feed
- Chicken wire*
*We placed a small piece of chicken wire on top of the container to keep curious dogs and cats away from our ducklings.
You can find everything you need at your local feed store. These are all the same supplies you need to raise baby chicks. Baby ducks and baby chicks can eat the same chick feed if you are raising them together. If you just have baby ducks though, get the non-medicated chick starter feed. You normally would feed baby chicks medicated chick starter feed.
Just make sure not to feed your adult duck adult (medicated) chicken food. Chicken feed contains ingredients that aren’t good for your ducks.
You will need a large plastic storage container to keep your ducklings in. Place several inches of bedding in the bottom of the container. We are using a product called Dry Den.
They are small pellets that turn into sawdust when they get wet. This bedding is good for both ducks and chicks. You will need to replace the bedding every couple of days. If it isn’t too bad I use a clean cat litter scoop to get the worst of it out and add a fresh layer of bedding.
If you decide to use shavings for bedding, make sure to get pine shavings, and not cedar shavings. Cedar shavings give off fumes that are harmful to baby ducks and chickens.
Next place the feeder and waterer in the container. I used self-feeders like this one so that I wouldn’t have to keep refilling it. You can use the same types of self-waterers for food and water.
You need to hang a heat lamp above the storage container. The ducks need extra heat for the first couple weeks of life.
You can place a thermometer in there if you like to regulate the temperature, but it is pretty easy to see if the temperature is right.
If the ducklings get too hot they will get as far away from the lamp as they can and even start panting.
If they are cold they will huddle together to stay warm. The heat lamp will come with a clamp to attach it to the container, but you may find that you need to attach it or hang it from something else to get it the right height.
The only way to regulate the heat from the heat lamp is to raise and lower the lamp until you get the temperature just right.
In a couple of weeks, depending on the time of year, the ducks will not need extra heat. Just watch them closely to see if they need extra heat or not.
It is best to let your ducklings eat and drink at will until you put them outside. They need access to food and water at all times, especially water. If they eat they have to have water to wash the food down or they won’t be able to swallow it.
Ducks also need water to wash their nostrils, so keep an eye on their water dish. They drink and spill a lot of water, so they will go through it very quickly.
Your ducklings will need to be in the house for at least 6 weeks, until they are fully feathered. When they have all their feathers you can put them in a pen outside. They will need shelter from weather and predators, as well as a pen to keep them safe at night.
In the mean time, it is fine to take them out during the day if the weather permits. Place a couple of inches of water in a kiddie pool and let them swim. Make sure to supervise the ducklings outside at all times to make sure they don’t drown or that they don’t fall prey to predators.
Most of all, have fun with your new pets. They are so fun to watch, and will bring enjoyment to the entire family.
Woods 0165 Brooder Lamp With Bulb Guard,10.5 Inch Reflector And 6 Foot Cord (250 Watt, 18/2 SJTW)Manna Pro Duck Starter Grower Crumble, 8 lbLixit Chicken Feeder/Waterer, 64-OunceKaytee Aspen Bedding, 8.0 Cubic Foot Bag
Like this article? Find out how to care for ducks during winter.
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