Apr 30, 2012

Raising Ducks, Week Three

Eleven ducklings are about seven too many to raise in a kiddie pool in your living room.  I knew it would kookoo, but as ten ducklings were the minimum order (and an extra one was thrown in for good measure), I decided to deal with duckling mania.  It's only a few weeks, right?  At this point, there's so much poop piling up and water begin splashed about that we're cleaning out the sawdust bedding in their kiddie pool every morning while they have a swim in our bathtub.  It's getting smelly in the house and we're looking forward to when they'll be able to move outside for good, but it's 32 degrees out there this morning, and the kids don't have any real feathers yet.  We'll put them out this afternoon IF it reaches the predicted high of 62, isn't too windy, and is full sun where we put their moveable foraging run.  And then only for a couple hours because the warm part of the day won't last long.


As we move into week three, we'll be changing the ducks' food rations a bit.  For weeks 1-2, we let them have a constant supply of food so they could get off to a good start.  Which they did - they're about three times as big as they were when we first received them as two day old ducklings.  Since we're raising them for egg production, we don't want them becoming overweight or developing health problems associated with consuming too much high protein food (we wouldn't worry about those things if we were raising them for meat) so we're going to stop giving them food on a "free choice" basis and only feed them three times a day.  They are going to hate it, but it's for their own health!  We'll also begin increasing them proportion of oats added to their game bird crumbles.  They'll still receive greens many times a day - there's little danger of feeding them too much broccoli or lettuce, they seem to love it, and it gives them something to do while they're cooped up in the house.

Amazing change from day two to day ten!

Here's the reality of raising ducklings - poopy wet bedding to clean every stinkin' morning.

Spraying out the kiddle pool brooder.

That will be the ducks' nighttime house and run as soon as they're old enough or it's warm enough for them to live outside - whichever comes sooner.

For their third week of life, we will decrease the amount of protein in the ducks' food by adding oats to it. And, instead of giving them constant access to this food, we will be feeding them three times a day.

They'll still get all the lettuce, broccoli and other greens as they want.  Maybe some bananas or other treats, too.

Feeding them big hunks keeps them occupied.

Tailfeathers forming!

I collected a few worms and grubs to throw in the bathtub with the ducks.

Jumping from their pet carrier into the bathtub.

We throw lots of chopped greens into the water at bath time.

Let's see how they do with some grubs.

They're on it!

How 'bout a wee worm?

No chance for worms in this tub!

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