Some of my ducklings ready for their first swim
mentioned earlier, for the first day or two you don't need to feed your
ducklings. On day 2 offer water and a starter food. As I raise chickens
and ducks together, I feed the same starter feed to my ducklings as I
do to the chicks. In both cases I run it through a blender to make it
finer, as I find that sometimes even the starter feed grain is still
too big for them to digest properly.
If I find that some of the
ducklings are struggling a bit, I cook some eggs up, chop up the yolks,
add some finely chopped parsley and feed it to them over 2 days. This
builds their strength up very quickly, and I have never lost a chick or
duck after hatching with this method. However, you don't want to feed
them the eggs past day 2 as it is too high in protein for longterm
After 3 weeks you can then change over from the starter
feed to the laying feed if you are keeping ducks for eggs. I tend to
keep my ducklings inside the barn for the first 2 months, just because
I have a lot of predators around, and I don't want them to catch a
chill in the long grass. Therefore, because they don't have ready
access to greens, I continue feeding them parsley, as well as some
greens to munch on during the day like cabbage leaves, some lettuce,
dandelion leaves, etc.
Allow your ducklings to have access to
plenty of fresh water. Place the water initially in jar lids, or even
coffee lids (I am thinking of the deep Nescafe lid here).
Allowing them to swim too early will result in drowning. So
give them access to a pond until they have all their secondary
feathers. Make sure you watch them the first time you allow them to
swim, just in case you have misjudged the timing, and there is still
time for rescue operations!
Finally, grit is important too, to
their diet, and this should be on offer separately in another
receptacle. Don't mix the grit with the food, just allow them free
choice, and they will take what they need.
When you move them to
their new house, do so when they are fairly young, as ducks are very
prone to stress when moved. Not only can they stop egg laying, if they
are adult birds, but they can also start moulting due to the stressful
Conclusion to Raising Ducklings
Duck can be a very
economical and hardy birds to keep on the farm. They are good foragers,
and still reward you handsomely in eggs and meat.
good layers in your flock. They will be the first ones out the
door, and the last ones to come in at night. However, that
means that these ducks are a prime target for predators, so try and
keep your ducks as safe as possible, as they are a delightful addition
to any farm scene and well worth the effort. Duck eggs are excellent
for baking, and far superior to chicken eggs.