If you’re wondering how to raise a baby duck, you’ll be pleased to know these birds are not complicated. With a modest setup and attention to food, water, shelter, and heat, you can soon have happy ducklings quacking on your land.
Raising baby ducks for beginners starts with a few basics:
Ducklings need nutrients to grow. A simple and effective solution is feed that is designed specifically for baby ducklings. Look for organic, non-medicated starter feed with a mix of protein, vitamins, amino acids and minerals. You can supplement with fruits and veggies and cut up very fine dried mealworm and brewer’s yeast, though this is not needed with a good feed designed for ducklings.
Make sure to avoid bread and white carbs as a snack or food. White carbohydrates like bread have too much sugar for ducks and can prevent them from eating their nutritional food. You also want to provide grit to help the ducks digest their food.
Baby ducks need enough water to drink and dunk their heads in. They should not have water to swim in until they are four weeks old. Young ducklings don’t have waterproofing on their feathers and can more easily drown or become chilled.
Ducklings do need enough water to dip in their feet and bills, since water keeps their nasal passages moist. Replace water daily to keep it fresh and clean. If you have multiple ducks, you may need to replace the water more often.
Ducks need shelter to stay out of the sun and feel safe and protected. Make sure the area, known as a brooder, is secure from predators and allows them room to spread their wings and groom. Straw can be a welcome addition to the coop, but be sure to change it regularly to prevent mold and pests.
If your ducks are less than 7-9 weeks old, their feathers are not fully grown in, and this can make it harder to regulate temperature. Use a heat lamp to keep them warm. You will want to keep one end of the brooder warm and the other end unheated. The warmed end should be 90°F for the first week of a duckling’s life and reduced by about one degree gradually.
Like all fowl, ducks can shed Salmonella germs. Every time you interact with or handle your ducklings, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly. A nearby clean-up station can help.
If you want a healthy foundation for your baby ducks, buy a bag or two of our Organic Duck Crumbles. This feed is specifically formulated for the needs of ducklings and adult ducks, with minerals, protein, vitamins and amino acids.