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Thinking of Getting a Duck?

Duck Haven: Raising Ducks  1. We need to make a haven for our ducks. Ducks require a water source that is deep enough for their heads to submerge completely. Baby ducks require a deeper watering container than typical chick waterers. When swimming, they need the ability to submerge their entire head into the water without…

Duck Haven: Raising Ducks

 1. We need to make a haven for our ducks. Ducks require a water source that is deep enough for their heads to submerge completely.

Baby ducks require a deeper watering container than typical chick waterers. When swimming, they need the ability to submerge their entire head into the water without getting water in their eyes or nose.

Growing a baby duck in ever deeper water containers, such as plastic take-out containers or Tupperware containers, is a successful method of raising them.

Adult ducks require a water tub that is 4-6″ deep in order to maintain optimum health. Ducks are unable to be watered by gravity or nipple waterers.

After that, they’ll gladly play in the mud pool beneath the house in no time.

2. When they’re young, swimming time should be limited and supervised at all times.

Until they are around a month old, baby ducks that did not hatch under the supervision of a mother duck (e.g., those purchased from your local feed shop or an online hatchery or breeder) are not waterproof.

That will not prevent them from sitting in any container filled with water that they can get their hands on.

However, this implies that kids are more susceptible to drowning or being chilly, so swimming should be brief and monitored.

While swimming is essential for their leg muscles and helps them learn how to preen and get their oil glands to operate, giving baby ducks a shallow dish to paddle around in (a paint tray works extremely well) is also useful to their development.

Sinks, bathtubs, kiddie pools, and deeper baths, on the other hand, should be kept out of reach until they’re at least four weeks old.

3. Ducks do not require the presence of a pond.

However, keep in mind that many ponds include snapping turtles, which may be harmful to the ducks. Also, because domestic ducks are incapable of flying, they are susceptible even while on the water to hawks and eagles as well as foxes and dogs, so keep an eye out for them when they’re in the water.

When we were looking for a piece of land here in Maine, I was specifically seeking one that did not have a pond on it.

Despite the fact that the ducks would have enjoyed it, I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to remove them off it before sunset, leaving them susceptible to predators overnight.

In the summer, my ducks get to play about in a kiddie pool practically every day, which is plenty to keep them entertained.

4. Baby ducks should only be fed unmedicated feed, according to the CDC.

Baby Ducks aren’t particularly vulnerable to Marek’s disease, coccidiosis, or any of the other infections that may infect hens, as opposed to chickens. Starting them on chick feed, but just the non-medicated formula, is the best option.

Only chick starter should be fed to them for the first two weeks, after which they should be turned to a grower diet with lower protein content (about 15-16 percent) from week three until they reach laying age (18-22 weeks), at which point they can be introduced to ordinary chicken layer feed.

Keep an eye out for the feeds from many flocks. Many of them are designed for meat birds rather than layers or pets, and they contain much too much protein (20 percent or more) for developing baby ducks.

An excessive amount of protein might result in rapid growth and leg problems. I prefer to include some rolled oats into my ducks’ feed to further reduce the protein content of their diet.

5. Ducks require a supplement of brewer’s yeast.

When waterfowl feed is unavailable, baby ducks can be fed chick starting feed, which should be non-medicated and fortified with niacin. If chick starter feed is unavailable, baby ducks can be fed waterfowl feed.

It is often advised that baby ducks receive a brewers yeast supplement since they require more Vitamin B3 than do chicks.

In fact, because niacin is water-soluble and does not accumulate in the body, ducks require the supplement for the rest of their lives in order to maintain the strength of their bones and legs.

6. Feed outdoors and be sure to constantly supply fresh water.

Ducks create a massive puddle of water around their water tub. They alternate between the feed and the water, saturating the feed in their mouth with the water to make it easier for them to chew and swallow.

Due to the risk of choking, it is critical to always supply baby ducks, especially when they are exposed to food, with sufficient water at all times, especially during feeding times.

I provide both feed and water to my baby ducks around the clock, but once they are adults and living outdoors, they receive both feed and water outside – always outside – since it creates too much clutter inside their house.

And just throughout the course of the day.

7. Domestic ducks are unable to fly.

Ducks are much more vulnerable to predators than chickens, owing to their inability to fly and their awkwardness when walking around on flat surfaces.

During the day, they should be kept in a safe enclosure, and at night, they should be kept in a coop or other secure building. 

Free-ranging should only be permitted if you have the ability to oversee them or if they have a devoted guard animal to protect them at all times.

8. Male ducks do not make a quacking sound.

Although it is possible to vent sex baby ducks at hatch (an excellent lesson can be found on the Metzer Farms website), the most common clue that you have girl ducklings is hearing them quack.

Male ducks do not make a quacking sound. As a substitute, they emit a gentle raspy sound. A curled tail feather will also develop on the back of a male duck. Some breeds may be sexed at hatching based on the color of their coats.

Obviously, the females will begin to produce eggs later on, and in some breeds, the head and wing feathers of male ducks will be more colorfully feathered than those of female ducks, and male ducks will often have bigger heads than female ducks.

9. Males can be quite aggressive when it comes to mating.

The behavior of male ducks, especially when they are young, may be rather hostile toward females. If you have a drake, it is critical that you have a sufficient number of females (a ratio of at least five females to one male is good).

As well as watching after them throughout the spring mating season, be prepared to separate them if you notice symptoms of the females having over-mated (broken or missing feathers on the back, wings or back of the head, bubbling eyes, limping, etc.)

Generally speaking, when a man grows older, he should settle down, and having a kiddie pool is a good idea.

Ducks have historically mated underwater to reduce the stress on the female’s legs during the breeding season (and also in the case of wild ducks, provide a measure of protection from predators).

10. Ducks do not utilize nesting boxes or roosting bars to make their homes.

It is absolutely OK for these low-maintenance quackers to be content with bedding down in the straw on the floor of a chicken coop or shed or other secure structure and then building their own nest in a corner to deposit their eggs in.

When converting an existing shelter into a duck house, as long as there is enough ventilation and no way for sneaky predators to get in, it is a simple process.

There you have it! Follow these guidelines and you’ll have the perfect duck haven.