Early Brooding

The second group moved to the brooder a couple days after the first. For a moment they were pecked at a bit, and huddled in the corner. However, after a few minutes they became braver and slowly came out and, by mimicing the older ducks, they learned to eat and drink. After about two days they were fully integrated with the other ducks and were overcoming the ‘two group’ idea.

The ducklings grow very quickly. I have been shocked by how large they have become. As they grow so rapidly, they go through food and water very quickly. After about four days after the second group had been put in I was refilling the water 2 or 3 times a day. Before to long the water needed to be refilled every few hours. The food was being refilled every day. It didn’t take long for the small bag of food to run out. After some thought, I decided not to buy more-- I would make more.

The food I make is a combination of several grains. Rye, wheat, dried corn, brown rice, and sometimes oats are all combined to make a feed that they love. The grains are ‘cracked’. This makes them smaller (almost exactly the size of the store-bought feed). It also weakens the grain a little to make it easier to eat and digest. I carefully watched the ducklings after administering this food, and they seemed as happy and healthy as ever, and grow just as quickly.

The dirt I put in the bottom of the brooder is working well, but it makes the ducks a little bit muddy. They do a good job keeping theyselves clean by preening, but cannot get it all, especially that on their feet. When the second group was about ten days old, I wondered if I could somehow clean them. I researched it, and found a variety of opinions. The majority said putting them in water was alright, as long as they were thouroughly dried immediately afterward. It is good for them if you do this, because it helps their oil glands develop. I splashed a little water on them, to make sure their feathers could repel water (If they get soaked through it is almost impossible to dry them well enough). Then I took them inside and placed them in a plastic bin filled with about an inch and a half of water. I left a place for them to climb onto if they wanted to get out of the water. After a moment’s hesitation, they began to play in the water, and cleaned themselves. I dried them carefully with a soft towel, then returned them to the brooder. They seem to still be doing well.