Time to Make Way for Ducklings
I live on a farm. Farms have animals, right? I know nothing about raising farm animals because I'm a city girl. But a simple trip to my local Tractor Supply to get fence supplies and now, I'm the proud Momma of four of the cutest ducklings!
Ducklings, like chicks, need a place to grow for about 8-10 weeks before they are placed in a permanent space. I had read that I could use a simple plastic container. But my ducklings were going to be different. They deserved the galvanized mansion of a tub. We placed the tub should be in a well ventilated place . The foyer of the cabin became the nursery.
Ducklings need to be kept warm. All day and night for the first couple of weeks. There goes the electric bill. EK! To achieve the heat you need a _____ and a 250 watt red bulb. Not white or you'll burn the birds to a crisp. Ducklings don't get as cold as chicks, so plan on elevating the light. My light is about 3 feet away from the bottom of the tank. It provides it all the warmth that they need.
Of course, my new babies needed water and food. I bought the cute little water and food containers. The water container proved too small for these thirsty ducklings. Ducklings can truly drink some water.
Their food is Purina Chicken Starter. It is non-medicated. Ducklings are hardier than chicks and don't need the extra medication. The food is accessible to them 24/7 for now. It is recommended that you use chicken starter with 20% protein for the first 10 weeks, switching to 15% grower weeks 10-18, and 16% layer after 18 weeks. Niacin is recommended as a supplement, so I add brewer's yeast to their feed to aid in bone development as they grow.
Ducklings are pretty self-contained as long as they have food, water and shelter. The biggest thing that we as humans have to remember is to not handle them too often. Yes, they are cute and those eyes can hypnotize you. But, it is possible for the ducks to have Salmonella germs in their droppings or on their bodies (feet, feathers and beaks). The germs can get in cages, coops and soil. Salmonella germs can be found on hands, shoes and clothing of anyone who works with the ducklings.
We don't know yet what breed they are. Their permanent housing is weeks away from completion. For now, we are content to just to watch the magic happen.