Good news: ducklings are very easy animals to raise. They have many qualities, including those of integrating well in a pen, allowing emotional bonds to be formed with them and effectively ridding the garden of weeds. If you value advice and want to be sure how to raise ducklings, reading this article will be very helpful.
Meeting the duckling’s bonding needs
If you are raising several ducklings, which is recommended by your welfare, and they don’t have a mother, because you found abandoned ducklings or because you decided to adopt some through a gift or purchase, their bond will be very strong. Thus, in case of isolation from the group, the duckling will cluck and quack until it finds its companions.
If you’re just raising one duckling, you’ll need to spend a lot of time with it to satisfy its bonding need.
Satisfy the duckling’s heat needs
The group’s interest is that we can hug each other to warm up. But that might not be enough. Also, if you are raising one or more ducklings, depending on their age, a heat lamp can come in handy.
The temperature can be maintained:
- Thanks to an infrared lamp (but beware of damage in case of contact with water),
- Thanks to an Elstein lamp, which produces only heat (and no light),
- With electric or gas heater.
Newborn ducklings need 35°C. The temperature is then reduced by 2 to 3°C per week of life. at the age of 5 weeksthey should no longer need heating if the natural temperature of the place where they are located is not lower than 23-25 ° C. If the season is good, ducklings can go out from the 3rd or 4th week.
It is by observing its behavior that you will know if the temperature is adapted to your needs. If it’s too hot, they’ll move away from the heat source. If it’s too cold, they gather closer to the heat source. If the temperature is right, the ducklings are close to the heat source, slightly apart from each other.
How should ducklings be housed?
These little animals are also afraid of air currents. Therefore, you will have to put them in a place free of them.
Any storage box will do to house your ducklings. However, cardboard does not react well to contact with water. If you insist on this material, you will have to line the bottom of the box with a thick layer of newspaper, which will have to be replaced as soon as the moisture appears. An absorbent straw bedding is also suitable.
Among the negative points of ducklings is dirt: they sow their droppings everywhere and spread their food widely. Therefore, you will have to dedicate time to cleaning the premises that host them.
How should you feed ducklings?
Ducklings have a healthy appetite. A healthy duck is a duck that attacks its food when presented. Otherwise, he is sick.
the ducklings have need water to swallow their food: it is therefore imperative that they have access to fresh, immaculate water when they eat.
One mistake is to feed them adult waterfowl food. It is simply not suitable as they are not adults.
the ducks are omnivores. Ducklings accompanied by their mother eat everything they find, such as earthworms, larvae, slugs and more or less large seeds.
A balanced food for ducklings will consist of a variety of green vegetables (lettuce, spinach, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, celery, carrots, broccoli, nettles, dandelions, green beans, etc.) and protein. Fruits should be avoided due to their sugar content. Ground barley, millet, wheat, oat or corn seeds can be incorporated into food rations from one week of age. You have to finely chop everything or grind the mixture in a blender. Foods for cats or dogs mixed with vegetables are also suitable for them.
Until the age of 2 weeks, proteins represent 22% of the diet and from 2 to 7 weeks, this proportion is only 16%.
Food should be placed in a slightly elevated container, as any food placed at ground level will quickly become soiled with droppings. It is advisable to ensure that feeders are clearly visible, colored and placed in light. You have to to watch the way each duckling eats runs the risk of favoring the stronger over the weaker who is in danger of withering away.
Make a pool for your ducklings
Ducklings can swim from day one. They do, however, need supervision during these times. It might make you smile, but the ducklings are covered in low : so they are not waterproof like adults. A shallow tray (paint tray type) filled with warm water will be enough to satisfy them and ensure their safety.
It is also necessary to monitor the time they spend in the water, otherwise their body temperature will drop. 20 to 30 minutes each day are enough. After they are done swimming, you need to have time to dry them.
As ducklings love water, they will dive into their water bowl as soon as they can. Also, it should be shallow and solid. You can also add stones or marbles.
You can remove all supervision from 1 month of age. If they can evolve freely, they must still be protected from predators.
Protect ducklings from predators
Ducklings are easy targets for predators. If you have placed your ducklings in a garage or barn, make sure there are no openings in the room where a predator could enter and reach the ducklings.
Domestic dogs and cats in your home should be kept away from ducklings or they could attack them. Even if your intentions are more peaceful, the disproportion of forces and the fragility of the duckling’s body can lead to injuries or worst.
Handle a duckling correctly
A duckling is a fragile little creature that must be handled with great care. Its legs and feet are particularly delicate. If you have to catch one, do it by grabbing the base of the neck, without squeezing too clearly, or over the top, running 4 fingers on one side of the animal and the thumb on the other. Once grasped, it is important to hold the duckling by the lower part of the body, to avoid a possible fall and to reassure the little one.