Ducklings - your experience please.

Discussion in 'Breeding, Raising, Feeding and Caring for Animals' started by sun burn, Nov 3, 2010.

  1. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Gee stingray, i am glad you are staying home today. Sorry to hear that you are losing a few. About drake. Be careful he doesn't trample on them. ducks are pretty clumsy with their feet and i have read that they generally should be kept separate but i don't know for how long.

    About my lot. There's only five ducklings but there's still a bunch of eggs. Does this mean they won't hatch now. This morning mum was sitting just outside the nest while the little ones were clambering all around in it. So if mum doesn't stay in the nest, those others won't be able to hatch. Stingray what do you think. Did all yours hatch at once. I did put some eggs in from another duck at some point but not this many. I am surprised how few ducklings there are.

    Also i had a feel in the other ducks next yesterday adn there is only one egg! I am sure there were more. She never gets off her next except for a bath and feed and is just not far enough way for anyone to have stolen them. Perhaps they are there hidden somewhere. I will have another look this afternoon.

    Stingray your experience has been very helpful i think. I have learned that from predators it seems when they get a little older is when they are more vulnerable.

    I still haven't moved my lot yet. The mother is pretty defensive, understandably. I don't like upsetting her, but of course i will if and when i deem it necessary and move the lot of them up to the hen house. Gosh they are cute though.
     
  2. Stingray

    Stingray Junior Member

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    yeah , the trampling (lost alot a few years ago, the stupid parents trampled most of a double clutch of about 30 or so of appleyard ducklings) was the reason for separating the drake this time.
    18 of a clutch of 19 hatched all sometime between, me feeding the animal at about 6:30am and gettin home from school run about 9:30am ... the last one never hatched .. i've left it in the nest still.. but I figure it was a dud (LOL)
    good luck with them .. they definitely are cute :)
    hehe .. all its doing for me is emphasising that I WANT to move to 5 or so acres (LOL) NOW .. :)
    want to be allowed to have more than we have atm :)
     
  3. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    I think i must be a bad mother.
     
  4. Stingray

    Stingray Junior Member

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    why ? lol?
     
  5. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Because it looks like i'm only going ot get five ducklings out of a lot of eggs and four ducks. By rights there should be quite a lot more.
     
  6. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Call it selection of the fittest sunburn. It's good for the flock. Or something.
     
  7. Stingray

    Stingray Junior Member

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    well, its sunday night (10 days from hatching) and we are down to 14 ducklings,
    still no sign of what's taking them, so I am assuming a crow, as we've had a few about recently, and there are no signs of feathers/down/mess etc in our yard.
    Tomorrow will put some shade cloth over the pen and see if that stops them disappearing
    Other than that, I purchased some mesh to put around the bottom to stop them getting out.
    How ever I think they are getting to big (LOL) to escape, but still going to put it around the pen :)
    all a good learning curve for moving to rural property next year :)
    - DAz
     
  8. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Found this elsewehre on the web. Sounds sensible. alhtough it doesn't specificaly answer the questions i was searching to answer, which is what (plants) do ducks like. I need to try to grow some things they would like to eat so they wont' want to eat my 'expensive landscaping" anymore.

    Contrary to popular belief, bread and crackers are a dangerous food for ducks - occasional feeding of this is so-so, but your duck will suffer malnutrition if proper feeding is ignored. Chocolate is NOT safe for ducks and dogs. Avoid nuts and seeds. Duck have a different digestive system than most other birds and can't handle many of the same foods that are safe for some birds. When feeding corn try to only feed in the winter cause it will keep them warm all winter long, just mix it with laying pellets/crumbles

    What they can eat off the menu: Aside from pelleted mash, their staple food (what they eat on a daily basis), they enjoy vegetable trimmings, algae, plants, snails, meal worms, night crawlers, coy food, feeder goldfish, and expensive landscaping.

    Chopped, hard-boiled eggs are good for a treat. Some foods that are OK for adults are not particularly safe for a duckling, especially anything containing breads and certain dry foods, all mine love boiled squash also.

    DO NOT feed medicated pellets cause they are only meant for chickens since ducks consume more then chickens they will overdose on the meds. E-mail me if you need any info about your ducks, Good Luck

    WANT TO STATE THAT ISLE955 DOG FOOD IS A HUGE NONO I HAVE HAD 7 DUCKS GET FED DUCK FOOD BY A NEIGHBOR AND START PUKING IT UP IN LIQUID AND CHUNKS SOON AFTER THEY DIED, YOU CAN FEED A COUPLE PIECES OF CATFOOD BUT DO NOT FEED DOG FOOD
     
  9. Stingray

    Stingray Junior Member

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    koolies, ours do get bread (multigrain only *blah* to white bread being allowed in this house.. urgh!)
    and alot of weeds and scraps shared out between them and the chooks ..
    they also (when i can) are allowed to free range around the yard :)
    oh and :( we are down to 13 ... still no sign of whats taking them ....
    on the plus side they are big enough not to get out anymore (yay!!) ...
    the roll of mesh i got for around the bottom will be put aside and setup with the next clutch :)
    - Daz

    ooerr forgot .. (edit) .. planning to set a "pond" up to grow water cress/chestnuts and have small fish in it to control the mozzie lavae ... so i might get a "bag" of feeder fish to.. and release them into he ducks water :)
    need a solar powered pond pump too .. hrmm .. freecycle and ebay here i come ;)
     
  10. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Have you covered the top yet? If you have then it wont be a bird. If you haven't then its a good guess that it would be a bird. Have you not seen any birds hanging around in the trees? No kooakaburras - apparently they like ducklings too. Anyway this is quite distressing. I hope you don't end up with only 5 like me.
     
  11. Stingray

    Stingray Junior Member

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    unfortunately no.. between no time when my back is ok, and back playing up .. i havent had a chance to fix the shade cloth over it .. :(
    hoping to get to it tomorrow.
    Only birds i have noticed (that i would suspect) are the crows.
    I didnt think the kooka's would got the ducklings - figure they were too big for kookas to bother, (saw a kooka the other night who looked like he was "eyeing" them off.. but he ended up snackin on a nice sized lizard), they seem content to feast on the abundant skinks we have :)
     
  12. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    I wouldn't be so sure. Someone mentioned to me that they like ducklings. You wouldn't think of turtles taking them but they do too. So don't take them swimming in the local creek. (if you have one).
     
  13. Stingray

    Stingray Junior Member

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    lol.. not lettin them go over the road .. hahaha :) ..
     
  14. annette

    annette Junior Member

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    hi there

    well I got my ducks. a drake, 3 ducks and 12 6 week old ducklings. They have settled in well and am getting eggs already. One problem, the drake pecks at the ducklings and so I separate him at night so everyone can get a good night sleep. Well in the morning, the ducks carry on like it is xmas morning, all over him like a rash. Now i thought that it was only geese that are very attached to each other, not ducks. So big boy and his girls are very much in love. Now I could never separate them for good. Is it just me with lovey dovey ducks or is this normal?

    cheers
    annette
     
  15. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    I think it must be normal. I've got 4 ducks and a drake. Their is a fair bit of affection but there are also fights but between the women. Bertie only gets affection but I've noticed the girls don't exactly queue up for sex. He rapes them each time. He's very inconsiderate. He will even jump on them in the bath but i haven't noticed him screwing more than once a day as yet.

    Instead of making him go it alone overnight, why not put the two not mother ducks with him and let the mother ducks and her ducklings be alone for the night just. Or don't you know how many mothers you've got or which one it is?

    My chickens were 6 weeks old when i got them. They grew up really fast. Yours should start laying next spring i'd say.

    How many eggs are you getting?

    What's you yard set up like. I ask because i need to solve the ducks laying eggs problem. I did get one today but i don't know if either one of hte others have started laying again or if they are hiding them somewhere out in the garden.
     
  16. annette

    annette Junior Member

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    Hi sunburn

    I don't know which one is the mum. My set up is pretty basic at the moment.
    they are in an old chook house about 2m x 4m. This has 2 doors, 1 to go outside and 1 to a straw yard which is about 3m x 4m. As the ducklings get bigger I'm going to need more room. So I either extend out or get some other accommodation separate to this one. I have an old garden shed that can be used and I am also looking at 2 old avaries that are for sale on ebay. By the time you buy fencing and wire i may as well buy the old avaries I think. they are pretty big. I'm lucky I have a fair bit of room to put these things but most areas are on a slope so I need to plan pretty carefully.

    As for eggs, I got the ducks on Wednesday and left them in there. I got an egg. Thursday and Friday let them out early. no eggs. This morning I left them in till 11am and got an egg. I have lots of long grass around as it has been too wet to whipper snip so there are probably eggs laying around somewhere.
     
  17. Stingray

    Stingray Junior Member

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    sounds like keepin them in until 11 forces them to lay where you want them .... have you dumped some hay in their for them to make a nest with?
    I gave mine 2 lots .. one in their "hutch" (old dog house.. LOL) .. and another out side it under the tin roof i have setup ..
    they squashed the outside one down to sit on (LOL) .. and she mad a nice nest inside with it and laid all her eggs there :)
    I have been letting mine out int he morning (we are still @ 13 ducklings and holding .. LOL) - no thanks to the kids ,.. grrr.. they went into the pen without asking while it was open this arvo and play3d with a couple of ducklings, but it seems they were holding them in the water and they cot saturated and were having trouble swimming .. one ducking was submerged :( and only his head/neck were above water when i caught them ..
    after quick rub down they were released to their mum .. but she really had a go at the one that got the wettest .. after holding him with 4 of the other ducklings to try to get some scent back on him she seemed to accept him more ..
    They were all huddled under her when i check them late this arvo.. so will see how they go over night ..
    have put shade cloth over the pen so i think thats helpin to stop the losses
    If i let the drake out at the same time as the mum n ducklings he just seems to want to go root her constantly .. should i let this? will she start laying more eggs? is there a set time i should delay the next clutch?
    Thanks

    - Daz
     
  18. annette

    annette Junior Member

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    hi daz

    i read somewhere that they get broody about 4 times a year. I don't know if this is right or not. I'm figuring when my ducklings are about 12 weeks I am expecting at least one of the ducks to get clucky. Time will tell.

    I'm glad the shadecloth has stopped the losses. maybe it was some pesky crow hey?

    In the house itself I have put down some bedding. It is just hay. I noticed the duck moved some around to form a sort of nest in which she laid her eggs.

    I haven't seen the drake go after the ducks as yet. I'm sure he has and i just haven't seen it. The drake and ducks leave the house when i open the door and the ducklings stay inside. The grass is so long I don't tend to see them so much. I have heard that a drake should have at least 3 ducks to keep him satisfied otherwise he can get a bit nasty and really give the duck a hard time. If he is going at her all the time I would suggest givong her a break and keeping him away for some time during the day.
     
  19. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Annette, don't you plan to let your ducks free range? Its so lovely. If you can do it, let them go. It will reduce yoru food bill. Of course at the moment while they are new to your place, everyone needs to get settled in but it doesn't take very long. And i think they are unlikely to wander too far away, especially if there's water for bathing and plenty of food. I let my 6 week old chickens out within a very short time i think. Less than a week i think. I just don't like keeping things locked up. If you are not going to let them free range, how come? My overnight chook pen for both chooks and ducks at the moment is 3x3m.

    Yeah keep an eye on where they go if they are laying eggs elsewhere. By the time i find them, there are often more than 5. However, don't do what i did and just throw them out. Chances are they are still good but you can check them by seeing which ones float in water. If they float they are bad but they keep for up to two months i read when kept out of the fridge (less in a fridge belive it or not). It will be interesting to see if you can get two tomorrow.

    Stingray. I am glad to hear you got a cover on the pen.

    Keeping them in the pen doesn't always work. Only one of mine is laying in the pen so i've taken to letting them out. I thought maybe it was too soon after sitting on their nests but one went back to lay in the nest after letting her out and so does the chicken. I mean i kept hte ducks in till late for a few days and no eggs. then the first day out, i got an egg. Perhaps there were too many other ducks around - they like privacy apparently or is it a safety thing. The chicken and duck lay in the same nest which i think is cute. There is only one nest i might add. I don't really have enough straw and stuff. I used dry grass. But the bottom has sawdust on it. There are things i can use and i must do a bit more work on this aspect of my hen house i know.

    tip: i do like having sawdust on the floor as its easy to pick up the poo with your gloves even daily and keep aside for your compost. I know most people do this sort of thing weekly but i find it easy and it keeps the pen smelling better and iwth all the rain i think its better that its a bit cleaner too.

    swimming... my drinking bowl for the ducklings is big enough for them to get their belly sides totally wet. They seem to cope with that. They are unlikely to drown in it as they have to walk. they use the bowl as bit of a footpath too sometimes. Gawd they are the ultimate in cute aren't they? And i haven't even been allowed to hold one yet. Mum duck is still having a go at me when i go to fill the food bowls... how ungrateful... I even carry over a big tub for her to have a proper wash in. and its hard for the little ones to get in so its quite safe. I am sure your little one will be fine over night. Its now nearly two weeks old, though of course it might be colder where you are than here.

    Yes it was a mistake to show Bertie where mother duck was wiht her ducklings. He didn't even look at the ducklings. He just immediately chased her off for a root. It was a little while before she got back. She got away about 50 metres. I waited to make sure all was fine till she got back of course. Since then the drake seems to have forgotten about her and so no more dirty interludes have come to pass. And no egg. I don't expect any. I can't imagine he'd want to root her more than once a day. If it is more, then you have got a too randy duck and maybe you have a bit of a problem. (how many ducks have you got? There should be more than one duck with a drake. ) I think its likely the mother duck might prefer the drake not to be chasing her so perhaps keep them apart rather than chase him off her. But if you want the eggs yourself, then you will have to get in there and get them. I don't think the rooting will make a difference to her laying eggs.

    I recently asked here about how soon they'd start laying and someone said about 8 weeks after they've hatched. That ties in with what happened with my chickens. I think its because their hormones change. If my chickens are anything to go by , you will notice other behavioural changes with the mother duck too. She will stop being so motherly. The other day my mother hen was cock fighting iwth her son! They are vying for the highest rank in the pecking order. I don't know if ducks ahve such a pecking order but there's bound to be other changes.
     
  20. Stingray

    Stingray Junior Member

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    hi sunburn :)
    only have one duck for the drake - not allowed any more (LOL) .. so will have to get rid of the ducklings soon..
    i tried signing up for https://www.farmstock.com.au but never recieved email confirmation (emailed them for support - no go to)
    i get a mega bale of hay.. costs me about $60 just fits on my trailer (LOL) ..lasts us about 2-3 months mulching gardens/chickens/ducks etc .. and internally rots down to a nice compost if left for while :)
    mine love to free range :)
    try to let them out atleast once a day .. they love ranging about in the morning .. with grass all dewy they go nut chasing all the lil bugs :)

    - Daz
     

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