Raising baby ducks is not for the faint of heart, or gag reflex! Unless it is summer time and you can keep those cute fluffy quackers outside from day one, don’t try to brood ducks.
We had inherited 6 ducks when we moved out to our farm. We had such fun playing with them and lets face it, chasing them. They quacked and waddled and I was in love from the start! When we found out they were laying eggs I was even more thrilled.
That winter we lost two of our ducks. Over new years something got into the pasture and attacked two of them. Lucky was not so lucky. Nor was Rainbow. The kids were sad about it and so was I . I didn’t know how much I liked ducks until we had some.
That spring, (well still winter actually, it was February) we decided to raise some more chickens. My husband decided to surprise me, and brought home 4 ducklings a week later! It was like Christmas!! Those ducklings were so cute and fluffy! I was in love! We put them in a brooder box with some of the chickens, only to find within only a couple of days that the ducks were already outgrowing the chickens. They were at least a week younger and already bigger than the chicks.
They were getting bigger fast but still so cute. Its a good thing they were cute, because that may have been the only thing that saved their lives! They were SOOOOO messy! We learned that ducks have to drink to be able to swallow their food. They would eat and then get to guzzling water, and as they did so water would slosh everywhere and out of the sides of their bills. Their poop was really big and so messy. It would make a nasty squirting noise as they pooped too! .
The mess they were making would make such a stink! I was changing their wood shavings daily if not twice per day because it smelled so strong. I would run warm bath for them and let them play in the bath tub as a way of cleaning them up while I took care of changing their bedding. Not going to lie, watching them play in the tub was often the highlight of my day. It was so fun! But it didn’t outweigh all the work these 4 little tykes were!
Because they were growing so fast, they ate so much food. I was filling their food every few hours all day and ALL NIGHT! Ok ducks are smart! These cute yellow critters didn’t yet quack, but could peep very loud! They would start out quietly and get progressively louder until I would get up and get them food and water. Dave said I was crazy for getting up with the ducks, but if I didn’t, they would get so loud they would wake my baby! So I would be up anyway!
Once they were fully feathered at about 8 weeks, it was such a relief! They were big enough to go outside! Sadly April is still very cold at night here in Utah, so we would let them be outside during the day but bring them in at night for another week or two. They were fun, but I would not do it again! Never again will I brood ducks inside! On this farm, ducks are outside only from the day they hatch!