Newborn ducklings need a warm, safe environment to grow strong and healthy. If you create an environment free of hazards and hazards, with plenty of food and water, the curious and playful puppies will be able to prance and swim on their own before they even know it. Learn how to make ducklings feel at home, feed them food they like and keep them safe and sound.
Part 1 of 3: Making a Home for Them
Step 1. Find a box for a brooder
After the ducklings' first 24 hours of life and adaptation to the new environment, they can be placed in a brooder. A plastic container, sturdy cardboard box, or large glass aquarium can serve this purpose.
- The box must have good thermal insulation, as they need to stay warm. Do not choose one with too many holes on the sides or bottom.
- Line the bottom with wood shavings or old towels. Avoid using newspaper or other slippery material. For the first few weeks they still have a shaky walk and can easily slip and injure themselves on surfaces such as plastic or newspaper.
Step 2. Install a lamp in the brooder
Ducklings should be kept very warm for the first few weeks of life to get used to the cold air outside the egg. Buy a specific light bulb from a pet or electrical supply store and attach it to the brooder.
- Use a 100 watt light bulb at first. For them, who are young, the amount of heat produced by this lamp is just right.
- Part of the brooder should be outside the heat area so that the ducklings have a place to cool off if they need to.
- See if the lamp is not too close to them. This could cause it to overheat, or if they touched it, they could burn themselves. If using a shallow brooder, make a taller lamp stand using wooden blocks or other strong support.
Step 3. Check the placement of the lamp over the brooder
Periodically check their position, ensuring that the puppies are getting an adequate amount of heat.
- The heat and wattage of the lamp should be changed based on their behavior as they get older.
- If they tend to cluster close to the bulb, they may be getting cold: you need to move the bulb closer or change it for a higher wattage.
- If they are spread out and are breathing with difficulty, they are likely to be overheated, and it is necessary to move the lamp away or replace it with one of lesser power. When they are comfortable, ducklings should be warm and quiet.
Step 4. Adjust the brooder lamp as the ducklings grow
When they get older, they need less heat. Raise the lamp or replace it with a lower voltage when you stop sleeping under it.
Part 2 of 3: Providing Food and Water
Step 1. Give plenty of water
Place a shallow bowl into the brooder deep enough for them to place their beaks, but not the entire head. They love being able to clean their nostrils while drinking water, but if the container is too deep, they can get in there and drown.
- Change the water and clean the bowl every day so they don't get sick from drinking dirty water.
- If you are concerned about the depth of the bowl, line the bottom of the bowl with pebbles or marble to make it safer for them.
Step 2. Feed them duck starter
Little ones do not eat for the first 24 hours of life, as they are still absorbing nutrients from the yolk into the egg. After that time, they can start eating puppy food, available at specialty stores. Buy a plastic eater, fill it and place it in the brooder.
If they hesitate to eat, try adding a little water to make the feed easier to swallow. It is also possible to put some sugar in the water for the first two days to help them get off to a good start in life and provide energy
Step 3. Feed the weak ducklings duck egg yolk
The very weak ones may need a little more yolk before moving on to the feed. Feed them duck egg yolk puree until they start to take an interest in the kibble.
Step 4. Give constant access to food
See if the ducklings have access to food all day, all week. They need to eat whenever they feel hungry as they grow very quickly at this stage. They also need water to help swallow their food, so keep the bowl full of water at all times.
After approximately ten days, they will be ready to consume adult food, which is a larger version of the other
Step 5. Start an adult duck feed
When they become adults, after approximately 16 weeks, they can consume food for adult ducks.
Step 6. Avoid feeding them non-duck food
Many foods that people eat, such as bread, do not provide the necessary nutrition and can even make some ducklings sick.
- Even if they want to eat bread, it's not good for them.
- Ducks can eat thinly sliced fruits and vegetables, but note that their main meal should be specific kibble.
- Don't give them chick feed. It doesn't have the correct nutritional composition.
- Never provide medicated feed to the ducklings. They can cause organ damage.
Part 3 of 3: Turning Ducklings into Healthy Adults
Step 1. Encourage them to swim
Ducks love to swim, and can do it from day one if you let them. Don't let them swim unattended. The duckling is covered with down, which is not waterproof, and its body is still too fragile to be able to swim alone at this stage.
Step 2. Make a small pool on a wall paint roller tray
This tray creates a great atmosphere in the beginning. You can supervise them closely and create a small slope or ramp to help them get in and out safely.
- Don't let them swim too long or they'll catch a cold. When they're done swimming, dry them gently and put them back in the brooder so they can warm up.
- You can also leave them on a thermal pad covered with a clean towel for a few minutes.
Step 3. Let the adult ducks swim without your help
When the ducks are fully covered with waterproof adult feathers, they can swim unsupervised. Depending on the type of duck, they will have their feathers between 9 and 12 weeks old.
Step 4. Be careful with older ducks
Supervise the ducklings at all times while their feathers are growing and they are learning to swim, especially if you let them swim in an outdoor pond. Adult ducks that share the same pond may try to drown or kill younger ones.
Step 5. Keep ducklings safe from predators
Ducks, especially younger ones, can be easy targets. You can release them when they become adults, but remember that you can occasionally lose them to predators. It takes a lot of effort to keep them safe.
- If you're raising ducklings in a garage or barn, no other animals should be able to get close. Wolves, foxes and even large predatory birds can hurt them if you're not careful.
- Indoor ducks need to be protected from dogs and cats, who may try to attack them or even play with them roughly.
- When they move from the hatchery to a larger playpen, make sure there's no way a predator can get inside.
Step 6. Keep emotional distance from the ducklings
It's tempting to hug these fluffy, fluffy creatures, but if you get too close to them, they'll become very dependent on you. In order for them to have some independence and become healthy adults, enjoy them playing with each other, but don't participate too much.
Step 7. Transfer them to a larger space
When they are too big for the brooder, place them in a large pen or shed with a door. Feed them adult duck food and let them spend their days swimming and diving in the pond. Bring them back to the shelter at night to keep them safe from predators.
- Don't try to feed them berries or grapes.
- Do not feed them onions, wild or cage bird seeds, or any kind of bread. You can feed them starter feed for ducks, peas, corn, green beans, beans, boiled carrots, boiled eggs, tomatoes, crickets, earthworms, small fish, grass, milk and turkey feed.
- Once the ducks are in a fountain or pond, it is possible to give floating fish food or dog food in small amounts. Change the staple diet to good quality non-medicated waterfowl food or poultry feed, usually available from most specialty stores.
- If the ducklings get sick, call your veterinarian or go online to find an immediate solution.
- If you have other larger pets like dogs or cats, keep the ducklings away from them.
- When petting a duckling, do so gently as they have very fragile bones.
- When getting the newborn ducklings, give them enough space in their new home. How would you feel if you had only a small space as a home and you felt cramped in it? Give the puppies a good amount of space.
- Always have clean water near food as ducks cannot swallow properly without water.
- Never let them swim unattended.
- Never leave them outside on their own, as a wild animal can hurt them.
- Never feed them medicated poultry feed!
- Never leave ducklings on their own for the first day of life.