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You are Here: Home -> Forums -> Health/Care -> First-Time Duck Owner Here!

Topic: First-Time Duck Owner Here! (2 messages)

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First-Time Duck Owner Here! (2 messages)
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A first time duck owner. Have owned turkey poults and chickens in the past! Any help is appreciated. :)
Hello, good day!

I've just ordered some pekin ducklings that are going to be arriving in the week of May the 11th. I have owned turkey poults and chicks in the past, but not ducks.

Therefore, I do have a couple of questions. I also will put some things I've learned to make sure they are factual (thank you for your time).

Things I Know:
- Ducklings need to have their beaks dipped in the water every so often to make sure their bills are clean (please, *please* comment if you know how often I need to do this, I've heard different answers from different sources).
- Ducklings need a heat lamp on them at 90 degrees that is to be lowered five degrees every week (until an outside temperature).
- Ducklings cannot eat the same *medicated* feed as chicks since they do not have the same medical issues as chickens, but they can eat the same general feed.
- The water that the ducks should have cannot be too deep that the duckling can drown, but deep enough for the bill to be able to get wet. (Any depth recommendations?)
-The ducklings do not have the oils on their feathers similar to that of grown/adult ducks, therefore there needs to be extra precautions around water as they cannot float on water.
- Pekin ducks do not fly!
- Ducklings must have access to clean water to drink near their food.
- It is best to make the feed "mushy" at first to make it easier to swallow, but it needs to be replaced more often than regular feed.

Things I Question:
- Since pekins do not fly, what happens during migrating season? Is it best to keep them inside a heated coop, or something else?
- I've heard that ducks can be "walked". Is this humane or okay to do with a duck? If so, I'd love to try this, do you have to get them used to the harness young (similar to that of a foal with a halter)?
- When do the ducklings gain the ability of dipping their bills in the water by themself?
- Will they be okay with human contact (holding, petting, etc...) when they first arrive or should I just let them adapt to their new surroundings first? If not either of these, what do you recommend?

Please let me know if I missed anything, or, if you please, let me know the answers to my questions.

Thank you so, so much!!
-- Erin
Post edited by erins.ducks 5/6/2020 7:11 PM
5/6/2020 7:10 PM report abuse

Score: 51
Survived our first winter in Montana. Girls did well even when it got to -22.
I have never heard about ducklings needing their beaks dipped in water. They do that themselves. For water I recommend a gallon milk jug with a couple holes in the side. The holes should be big enough for the ducklings to comfortably get their heads in but not their bodies. Water should be deep enough for them to dunk their heads. As they grow you will need to make a new waterer that has higher and larger holes.

Ducklings require heat but not constantly. They also need a cooler area they can go to if the get too hot. The cooler area should be about 15 degrees cooler than under the heat lamp.

Do not give ducklings any water to swim in. They can easily drown as their downy feathers can get waterlogged and cold. They really do not need to swim as babies. If you do want them to swim then make sure the water is shallow and you will have to stay with them the entire time they are in the water.

Make sure you add powdered niacin to their food. If they do not get enough niacin they can become weak and will not be able to stand. i used the powdered niacin I bought at the health food store. You can also buy niacin that can be added to their water. Ducklings need twice the niacin that chicks require.
Post edited by PATRICES 5/17/2020 6:42 PM
5/17/2020 6:41 PM report abuse