Brooder Temperatures For Ducklings

In the farmingfriends forum we have been asked about brooder temperatures for ducklings.

the temp in his brooder is about 93 degrees F. Is that good? or should it be different? Badoodle


If the duckling is moving away from the heat lamp, is laying down alot and panting then the temp is prob too high, if the duckling is huddled under the heat lamp then too low a temp. moving around and sitting in different places usually means the temp is right. The link that Mo gave says, The duckling will need a temperature in the brooder of about 86 degree fahrenheit day one and then by day 7 about 81 degrees.

Once your duckling is dried out and strong enough it won’t rely on the heat lamp so much, like other birds such as guinea fowl.

Check out the following books about ducks and incubating and hatching eggs.

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Helping Weak Khaki Campbell Duckling

Jim sent an email asking for some advice about his newly hatched duckling who was very weak.

“hi Sara
Just a quick question, one of the ducklings that has hatched cant seem to stand up, hes flapping his little wings and his legs seem very strong, he wasnt help out of the egg although it did take him just under a day to get completely out, hes had food but mostly keeps his eyes closed until you talk to him.
any ideas of suggestions, even if its stop worrying (which is all im hearing from every one) would help!
cheers
Jim”

I advised Jim to give the duckling some warm sugared water that had been boiled

Lisa, one of the farmingfriends forum members recommended,

Hi Jim,

Saras right, give it some cooled boiled sugar water on a cotton bud,if it wont take it then drip it on the end of its beak , it will soon drink it and will give it some energy, when did they hatch? i has one that was week for a day or so,good luck with your little one, Lisax

Then Mama suggested,

Hi Sara, I did the same with my Gosling with a syringe dripped onto its beak and a bit of hard boiled egg yolk soon after. Hope the little one does well. Regards Mama .

Sarah advised,

I gave water in a dropper and very wet chick crumb, whilst mine was still in its shell – as it was exhausted. The sugar will give it a bit of energy. Hope hes really perked up by the morning.
Sarah

I was delighted when Jim emailed to say,

“hi sara, thank you soooo much for your help! in the end i just gave him some mashed yolk from one of my chickens, still wasn’t very strong but then once his sibling hatched out early this morning he perked right up and is running around happy as larry!
Jim, GLad and Barney”

Here is a photo Jim sent of the two ducklings.

Thanks for sending this photo Jim, glad there was a happy ending.

If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then check out the books shown above about keeping ducks which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced duck keeper.

If you would like to receive regular information about ducks then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

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Duck Treats

I have been sent an email from Jim asking about duck treats,

“Hi Sara, I have a question…we have two runner ducks that were abandoned…we gave them a garden spot to live thinking we only needed to worry about coyotes….my wife was on the way to feed our dogs…and heard a commotion…upon investigation she saw a Mink had our large Runner by the leg and was trying to drag him into a small shed…Linda must have kicked into Mommy mode she ran to them and started bashing the mink with the dog food bowls…and trying to kick him too…he would not let go…she finally hit him enough that he let go and ran off. When I got home about an hour later, went into the garden to check on the ducks on one of the rows, the mink was laying dead…so I guess those dog food bowls did the trick…

Now to bring this long story to a conclusion, I no longer want them to be in the garden, we have about 4 acres we fenced for some small dogs and would like to just let the little Duckies run loose.. none of my dogs will bother them, and in fact I think they will help protect them if nothing else.

We have them in a small enclosed pen while they are convalescing and I am guessing they will be there another 10 or so days…(both are almost back to normal…noisy, strong and confident) I would like to start giving them something great to eat when I pick them up at night to put in their night pen…(a very secure plastic steel cage)…with the idea being they will start looking forward to me coming out and I will be able to get them in at night once and if we give them the run of the place… any ideas on what might be their favorite food….my wife loves them because they eat slugs…she is our night slug hunter…roaming around the yard with her cottage cheese carton in hand looking for the best slugs for the kids…ha ha ha
Jim”

With regards to treats I give mine shredded lettuce, spinach beet leaves, mealworms,
worms, slugs and snails.

I posted your email query on my free forum here
http://farmingfriends.com/forums/topic.php?id=217

We have had a long discussion about duck treats and various members find different foodworks for them and their ducks and not others so here is the link so you can have a read. http://farmingfriends.com/forums/topic.php?id=568

Here is the list of treats the farmingfriends forum members treat their ducks to:

  • lettuce or cabbage shredded up
  • grass
  • chopped up courgette
  • chopped boiled egg
  • finely sliced cooked pasta – un-salted
  • boiled wet rice – unsalted
  • carrot
  • spinach or spinach beet
  • tomato
  • cucumber
  • cooked potato
  • veg needs to be  chopped finely or grated
  • mealworms
  • earthworms
  • another “treat” is to flood a piece of low-lying lawn with a hose pipe until the water is about 1cm deep and they will dabble in this and find food treats thenselves!
  • butter crackers
  • leeks
  • slugs
  • snails
  • peas
  • strawberries
  • pears
  • plums
  • swede
  • sweetcorn
  • grapes

What treats do you give your ducks?

If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then check out the books shown above about keeping ducks which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced duck keeper.

If you would like to receive regular information about ducks then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

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Duckling Hatched Early And Yolk Sac Not Absorbed

Had an email on Friday night letting me know that a duckling was hatching early and then this morning I heard that the yolk sac hadn’t been absorbed.

Hi Sara, just to update you on our eggs. It is not due to hatch until Wednesday next week but it actually started to break the shell yesterday at 5pm and now (26 hours later) his beak has come out completely – he doesn’t seem to be doing much more, as of yet, so we are keeping our fingers crossed he is strong enough with hatching early. Will keep you updated and send you photos when he has hatched completely.
Chantelle

Thanks for your speedy reply! I can see this being a long night Im so excited I wont be able to sleep! I have helped him a little by breaking off some of the hard shell but he is still very ‘gooey’ inside so don’t wanna break too much off incase it bleeds. Been reading things on the internet about how they can bleed to death if you break a vein so need to be careful. The children did see him popping his beak out today and opening and closing it- they were amazed! The are so excited for Monday morning when I take him back into school!
Thanks again for being so helpful and kind!
Kind regards
Chantelle

Hi sara, our little duck finally came out completely about an hour ago after I used some damp cotton wool to moisten the egg. He has a huge yellow lump attatched to his tummy with a gooey piece of string going from the lump to his back. I’m guessing this is the yolk still attatched to him but it is really big :( poor little thing. He’s warm in his incubator and occasionally trying to move so it’s just a case of waiting now to see what happens to this lump. I’ll keep you updated
Kind regards
Chantelle

Does anyone have any advice for Chantelle?

This was the advice I gave to Chantelle

I hope your duckling is ok. Yes it sounds like the yolk sac as the duckling is early. It’s now important that the duckling doesn’t get an infection via the yolk sac.

I have read that , “when a bird hatches with a yolk sac still outside the body, it is usually due to one or two things. Too-high humidity during brooding will cause this, as will an e.coli or staphylococcus infection during incubation. Sometimes the duckling will survive, but more often than not, bacteria gets into the sac through the duckling’s bellbutton and the infection gives the duckling septicemia, a body wide acute infection, and they die. Giving very potent antibiotics, like baytril, will help ward off infection, but it won’t necessarily save the bird.”

A reader of my website a year ago had a duckling hatch with the yolk sac still attached.
“His yolk sack was not quite absorbed. I am sure we panicked and were too quick to
intervene. We have raised the humidity level in the incubator (70%) and keep a wet paper towel wrapped loosely around him.”

Click on this link to read more about this duckling.

Hope he is ok.
Kind regards
Sara

Sarah one of the farmingfriends forum members said,

“The duckling sounds a little premature. Keep it warm and dry and encourage it to drink and have wet mash. it will soon dry out. It may have a herniated umbilica, which should be ok and still heal on its own if it is hardy enough. Sarah”

I am very sad to say that as of Sunday afternoon the little duckling passed away. It is always really sad when a duckling doesn’t make it. This duckling did well to survive as long as he did as his yolk sac was still so big and he was nearly 6 days early.

If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then visit the farmingfriends duck forum for the latest chat about ducks and then check out the khaki campbell duck eggs for hatching sales page.

If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then check out the books shown above about keeping ducks which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced duck keeper.

If you would like to receive regular information about ducks then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

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Identifying Gender Of Khaki Campbell Ducklings

It is difficult to guess what gender a duckling is just by looking at the duckling but my ‘farmingfriends’ friend Maureen has challenged me to take a guess at the gender of her three ducklings named Treacle, Toffee and Fudge.

Maureen's  khaki campbell ducklings

Maureen's khaki campbell ducklings

Maureen's  khaki campbell ducklings

Maureen's khaki campbell ducklings

‘Hi Sara, as someone far more knowlegable than me, how do you fancy taking a guess at the sex of my ducklings. I seem to have the full set small medium and large, have a feeling may have two drakes but the medium could just be a larger duck. Mo’

Hi Maureen, Smaller ducklings may mean females but it’s not guaranteed as some of my ducks are as big as my drake. What colour are their legs? My drake has bright orange legs and all the females have duller legs so this could be an indication, otherwise it’s waiting till their feathers develop and their call. Here’s a useful post about identifying ducks and drakes.
Look forward to finding out their gender.
Best Wishes
Sara

The books say it is possible to identify a duck and a drake from about 5 weeks of age but in reality I found that it was only when my drake moulted and got his male plumage and the curled tail feathers that I was certain I had a male!

Here are some ways to help identify the gender:

  • The tail feathers. It is the male that has curling tail feathers.
  • Colour of plumage. Some breeds of duck the male are more brightly coloured.
  • Colour of bill. Some breeds show a different colour in their bills from about 6 weeks between the male and female, where the females is usually darker.
  • Body size. Drakes usually have larger bodies and heads.
  • The quack. The drake has a softer quack, whereas the female has a louder more distinctive quack. The distinction by call can be made from 5 weeks onwards.
  • If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then visit the farmingfriends duck forum for the latest chat about ducks and then check out the khaki campbell duck eggs for hatching sales page.

    If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then check out the books shown above about keeping ducks which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced duck keeper.

    If you would like to receive regular information about ducks then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

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    What Causes Curled Toes In Poultry?

    I have been asked what cause curled toes in poultry and waterfowl chicks.

    Curled toes is when the chick, keet or duckling is born with toes or feet that are curled up.

    This can be caused by a number of things:

    • Curled feet can be genetic and due to inbreeding. It’s only safe to breed ducks down by three generations, thne new stock needs to be introduced.
    • It can be due to poor nutrition and a vitamin (riboflavin) defiency in the breeding stock.
    • It can also be due to infra red light in the brooder.
    • Conditions in the incubator can also lead to problems – bacteria in the incubator can lead to hatching problems and if bacteria has gone through the shell then it can effect the keet, duckling or chick.

    A useful book for a poultry, game and waterfowl keepers is the book Poultry & Waterfowl Problems By Michael Roberts.

    If you keep poultry or are thinking of keeping poultry then join the free farmingfriends forum for the latest chat, advice and questions about poultry and poultry related issues.

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    Curled Toes On Newly Hatched Ducklings

    On occasions a duckling can hatch out with toes that are curled up into a fist shape. Sometimes they may straighten out on their own in the first day or so but if they don’t you can make a cardboard or pipe cleaner shoe for the duckling to wear which will help to straighten out the toes.

    Cut a piece of cardboard to the size of the ducklings foot – use the uncurled foot as a guide for size and shape. The uncurl the curled foot and attach the cardboard show to the foot using pieces of  elastaplast.

    If using pipecleaners then the pipe cleaner needs to be bent into the shape of a three pronged foot and then attached to the ducklings foot with a bandaid or elastaplast. Cut pieces of bandaid to attach the pipecleaners to the foot.

    The temporary duckling shoe can be kept on for about 8 hours. Remove the shoe and see if the foot has straightened out. If need be the shoe can be refitted to help the duckling’s foot get better and allow it to stand properly.

    I was recently asked what help could be given to a newly hatched duckling with a curled foot.

    Some of the duck eggs hatched and one has a foot that is curled in a claw and won’t uncurl. I am quite worried. She limps around with some difficulties. What caused this? I am very worried, if she still has this problem when she grows up she’s going to end up as predator food. How should I treat this? HELP PLEASE!
    Thanks,Jonathan

    I will let you know how Jonathan got on with his duckling’s curled foot.

    If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then visit the farmingfriends duck forum for the latest chat about ducks and then check out the khaki campbell duck eggs for hatching sales page.

    If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then check out the books shown above about keeping ducks which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced duck keeper.

    If you would like to receive regular information about ducks then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

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    Brooder Litter For Chicks, Ducklings and Keets

    I have received this tip and advice about litter for a brooder.

    “The safest, most comfortable ,most hygienic, most chick friendly and cheapest litter for a brooder is clean chopped straw. All you need is a small bale of straw and your lawnmower (with it’s collection bag on if possible). Lay straw on a clean,dry floor and just mow it with up .It could not be easier ,by the way store in a dry bag / place. One square bale of straw will give you and the chicks a lotta pleasure. If you do’nt have a mower, get out the scissors ( get help from a adult please), you will chop a lot of straw in 4/5 minutes. For easier and quicker cleaning of brooder etc ,lay a few sheets of newspaper or cardboard on the bare floor followed by about a half inch of your chopped straw, add some more straw to this every few days,making sure that the chicks feet are always clean.Just roll up and replace when as required. Also for the first 3 to 4 days the chicks are in the brooder place a long single strip of cardboard 6 inches high around the inside of the brooder,rounding the corners, it stops them bunching and smothering.”

    Thanks Stephen for this tip.

    A litter material is placed on the floor in the brooder to help insulate the floor for the birds comfort and to absorb moisture. Litter also helps control disease and can prevent splayed legs which chicks and keets can easily suffer from if the correct flooring is not provided.

    Suitable litter materials include;

    • Wood shavings.
    • ground corncobs.
    • Sawdust.
    • Sugarcane.
    • Rice hulls.
    • Finely chopped straw.
    • Wheat straw.

    Whichever litter material is chosen it must be clean, fresh, not mouldy and 2-8 inches or 5-20cms deep.

    Unsuitable litter materials include;

    • Newspaper.
    • Paper.
    • Metal.
    • Plastic.
    • Lino.
    • Wood.
    • Ordinary cardboard.
    • Any slippery surface.

    Cloth, carpet or corrugated cardboard may be used as a flooring in a small homemade brooder as these surfaces can provide traction for the keets to get a grip on and not slip.

    I have successfully reared guinea fowl keets, ducklings and quail chicks on carpet and straw.

    If you keep poultry or are interested in keeping poultry then visit the farmingfriends forum for the latest chat.

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    Muscovy Ducklings Struggling To Hatch Out

    I have just received an email about muscovy ducklings struggling to hatch out.

    Hi Sara I have a muscovy duck that hatched out two of her babies, she still had alot of eggs but did not sit on them for a day so i took them away as they were ice cold. Just before i wanted to throw them away i heard a peep, so i rushed to get them warm, i left them for a day and still peeping. So i then just made a small hole where i know the head is as i dont know if they lost to much energy to break through, the embrio started to dry out a bit so i got their heads out and left them, one is out and doing fine but two others are still half way in their eggs, peeping and moving a little, should i just take them completly out to see if they will survive as i dont know how long they have been struggling to hatch, so far it is their second day with me. Arnold

    When I receive an email like this I always try to reply swiftly as this is a matter of urgency whether a duckling will hatch and survive or die in the shell having struggled to get out.

    It is always a difficult decicion for the person incubating whether they should intervene and help or let nature takes it’s course, but in this instance I would say that these ducklings deserve a little bit of help.

    My advice to Arnold was,

    Hi Arnold,

    Thanks for visiting farmingfriends website and leaving your comment.

    My advice is if after a couple of hours once the eggs have pipped an the ducklings are not hatching out themselves then you I would be inclined to help.

    I had to help 6 of the 7 khaki campbell ducklings I have and they are now over a year old and doing very well and all laying eggs of their own!

    If you decide to help then you need to work quickly to keep the egg warm. Peel the shell and membrane a little at a time making sure that you don’t make the duckling bleed. I usually try to peel as much of the shell and membrane except for cup shape at the bottom of the shell as this is where the duckling will still be attached.I then put the duckling back into the incubator so that it can wriggle out of the remaining shell in it’s own time. I always make sure before putting back in the incubator that the ducking can get it legs free of the remaing shell and it’s just a case of wriggling out or even just leaving it for the duckling to break the cord that links the duckling to the shell.

    It is important not to leave membrane as this will dry onto the duckling and make it hard for the duckling to get out of the shell.

    I hope you find this information useful.

    Let me know how your ducklings get on and best of luck.
    Kind regards
    Sara @ farmingfriends

    If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then visit the farmingfriends duck forum for the latest chat about ducks and then check out the khaki campbell duck eggs for hatching sales page.

    If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then check out the books shown above about keeping ducks which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced duck keeper.

    If you would like to receive regular information about ducks then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

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    Duck Dependent On Humans

    If you have a duck who has become dependent on humans, say if you incubate some duck eggs and only one duckling hatches out then the duckling may become dependent on the human who is caring for the duckling as the bird doesn’t have any other ducks to interact with.

    So what can you do if a duck or duckling has become dependent on a human?

    • Give the duckling or duck another duck or two to become friends with. Introducing ducks that are not as tame will help to  reduce the dependency on then human.
    • If it is a duckling then giving the duckling other stimulus in the brooder other than human attention may help to alleviate dependency.
    • Give the duckling a toy duck to interact with.
    • Give the duckling a variety of appropriate food to keep the duckling occupied.
    • Once the duck is old enough give the duck outside house so that the duck gets used to spending time away from humans.

    Do you have any tips for making a dependent duck or duckling less dependent on humans, if so please leave a comment.

    If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then visit the farmingfriends duck forum for the latest chat about ducks and then check out the khaki campbell duck eggs for hatching sales page.

    If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then check out the books shown above about keeping ducks which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced duck keeper.

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