What You Need to Know About Caring for Your New Ducklings:
You’ve received your ducklings in the mail, which is wonderful! It’s a joyful and exciting time, but your ducklings must be properly cared for in order to develop into healthy ducks. Domestic and non-domestic ducklings, as well as those bred artificially vs those raised with a broody duck, have distinct characteristics.
There are several ducks available, the majority of them are domesticated. Man purposely developed domesticated ducks to produce strains, whether for meat, eggs, or both. All of these ducks are descended from the Mallard, a non-domesticated duck. Domesticated ducks lack wild instincts and will not thrive if freed. Non-domesticated duck species like the Muscovy and Mallard may flourish in the wild and become a nuisance in some regions. They do have a natural instinct to protect and care for their offspring in order to survive in the wild. Despite the fact that there are two varieties of ducks, each may make excellent pets or breeders. Some species do necessitate a permit, so check with your state to ensure you’ve completed all of the criteria.
Many ducklings are artificially hatched, which means that instead of a duck hen, an incubator incubates and hatches the duckling. Many duck species do not rest on their nest long enough to hatch out their clutch, are disturbed, or the producer wishes to hatch out ducklings for profit, hence people opt to incubate duck eggs for a number of reasons. When a duck becomes broody, her egg production decreases as she tends to her eggs. It is not an issue if you have a small flock and wish to hatch naturally; however, commercial or backyard breeders prefer to hatch their own eggs artificially so the duck may continue to lay. Non-domesticated ducks nest and care for their young admirably, and in some situations, it is preferable to let them raise their young rather than artificially incubate them owing to their vulnerability.
Occasionally, a duck with her ducklings might be seen in a pond or creek. These ducklings seem like they’re only days old and are swimming! Is that even possible? The mother duck secretes an oil gland that gives her the ability to float on the water. She tends to get the mother’s oil on the ducklings she hatches. This enables the ducklings to swim in the water without drowning. Ducklings that are artificially hatched, like the ones you get in the mail, do not have this advantage and must wait for their oil glands to generate on their own. These ducks must wait 5-6 weeks to learn to swim because they risk becoming waterlogged and drowning if they don’t.
Now that your ducklings have been dispatched and you’re waiting for them to arrive, what do you do? Make sure you’ve prepared a brooder for them. A brooder is a warm, dry, and draft-free container where your birds may reside as they mature. Anything from a cardboard box to a fish tank may be used as a brooder. Non-slippery bedding should be used. For the first few days, paper towels are ideal. Following that, straw or hay will suffice. Sawdust and wood shavings are not recommended since the ducks may ingest them and be unable to digest or pass them. Provide the birds with a heat light. This might be a 100-watt incandescent bulb or a commercial red or white light. You can reduce the wattage if the 100-watt bulb is providing too much heat for the ducklings.
Make sure you keep an eye on your ducklings’ conduct. They will cuddle beneath the light if it is too cold, and pant and move away from the heat source if it is too hot. Your ducklings will be dispersed, healthy, and happy when the temperature is exactly perfect. The beginning temperature for ducklings should be 90 degrees. For roughly 3 weeks, the temperature has decreased by 5-10 degrees every week. A thermometer is essential, but you should also keep an eye on your ducklings’ body language. To raise or reduce the temperature in your brooder, adjust the height of your heat lamp. Varying places demand different levels of warmth.
To get your ducklings off to a good start, make sure they eat well. Waterfowl feed, which can be purchased at your local feed shop or ordered online, should be given to ducklings. For the first two weeks of life, this diet comprises no more than 18 percent protein, which is gradually lowered to 15-16 percent protein over the next ten weeks. If you can’t get waterfowl feed, brewer’s yeast mixed with chick starter can assist. Make sure you don’t get medicated chick starters in your feed. The coccidiostats you’ve added aren’t beneficial for your ducklings. Throughout the day, keep a shallow dish filled with fresh water. Chicken waterers are fantastic, but add some marbles to the bowl so the ducklings don’t overdrink and end up soaking wet. Dip your ducklings’ bills in water to rehydrate them when they arrive. Do this every couple of hours. In this manner, the ducklings should rapidly understand where their water supply is. Their preferred water temperature is 90 degrees.
When your ducklings have outgrown their brooder, they may be taken outside to a grow-out pen. If you see huddling, keep an eye on their behaviour with the surroundings and add a warming light. Ducklings are a delicacy to undesirable creatures, so make sure your enclosure is safe and predator-proof.
Ducklings are a great way to bring variety to your flock. You should have a delightful, but adventurous journey with your new ducks if you follow these helpful guidelines.