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First Aid for Hatchling Baby Ducks

August 22, 2008 | By Anonymous

* If you keep the duck eggs in an incubator, you have to decide whom you wish the little ones to imprint on. If you are the one taking care of them, and you handle them, you will be their mama. It's a lot of fun, but only if it's what you want. Of course, you can imprint them on any old thing, like a warm bottle, if you like, but I find that besides the point, really, of having baby ducks.

* For the first two weeks, baby ducks need to be kept in a brooder at about 90F for the first few days, then gradually reduce to 80 by end of first week, and 70 by end of second week. (Normally, their mother would warm them.) If the ducklings all huddle, then they are too cold. They should be actively moving around at least part of the day.

* Also, they shouldn't go in the water for the first few days. Then they can go outside briefly and have a supervised swim in a shallow pond. Put them right back into the warm brooder to dry off.

* A brooder can be any box, tub, shallow aquarium that you keep inside under controlled temperature. Make sure the little ones can't get out, and make sure there is NO DRAFT. Also, don't put it in a high-traffic area. Ideally, a brooder offers 1 square foot of space for each duckling.

* After 2 weeks, they can go outside during the day. After 4, they can live outside.

* Bedding for brooder: Shredded newspaper coverd with a few layers of paper towels. The substrate shouldn't be completely even or hard. Or just lots of paper towels are fine, too. There are other options, but this is the easiest to keep clean, it's fine for the ducks, and it's cheap.

* Feed low protein duck food (unmedicated) or whatever your ducks are getting. At most 20% protein. Supplement with greens and other natural foods. (The protein is VERY important. If they get too much, they won't grow right.) Usually, the food will have enough vitamins in it. You may need to "teach" the little ones to recognize the food. Once one eats, the other ones will likely imitate. If you want to get fancy, use a duck decoy to show them how to eat. (You can also imprint them on the decoy.)

* You will need to clean the brooder several times a day to make sure ducklings don't get sick. Hint: If food/drinking water are in the middle of brooder, they are less likely to poop and step into it.


SOURCE: www.turtlecare.net/duck.htm
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