Duckling brooder

I believe I may have mentioned more than once about just how messy baby ducks are. They are soooo cute, but they are equally as messy. This is especially true when it comes to their water. Watching our now adult ducks I understand so much better what little ducklings are trying to do. Last year, our first year to brood ducklings it felt as though we were only just one step ahead of what they needed and were constantly having to reinvent how we were managing them. This year we all feel much better prepared for how to set up the duckling brooder.

First, they grow fast. Our little balls of fuzz are only three days old now, but already we see a noticeable difference in their size. They may not take up a lot of space right now, but very soon they will have more than tripled in size. So, we started with something big enough right away. The stock tank has worked extremely well so far.

Containing the water was also something we never quite figured out. They needed to be able to get to their water, but just a waterer in the brooder on top of the shavings meant that in approximately three seconds, all the shavings would be wet and need to be changed again. We made due with a disposable aluminum pan last year, but this year we have something much, much better.


This was TM's brilliant idea. It is the top of a cat carrier which the waterer is then set in. It is brilliant because it has high enough sides to keep the water out of the shavings, but the opening allows the ducklings to get in to get water. But there is a lip at the opening so that the water stays in. I have only had to clean this once so far whereas last year it felt as though it was being cleaned every five hours.

The one thing we did right last year was to buy these cool heating panels. The ducklings go under them if they get cold, but the heat is not hot enough so they can get burned. And unlike a heat lamp, it can't set the shavings on fire.


Finally, our brooder involves a lot of hardware cloth. This is because of the high number of predators we keep as pets in the house. The hardware cloth is strong enough that a cat can sit on it and it won't bend. It is also strong enough (and clamped on well enough) that if a large dog broke through the perimeter baby gate, the dog could still not reach the birds.


Credit for the fantastic set-up goes to TM and M. who whipped it together while I was out picking up the ducklings.

And now for some gratuitous duckling pictures.





It's hard to see, but their little webbies are so cute.




Comments

Anonymous said…
I don’t recall why you are raising ducks
thecurryseven said…
Well, the excuse is that we like the eggs and would like more to be able to sell. But really, we discovered we just really like ducks and they make life more amusing.

e

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