Friday, June 4, 2010

Baby Ducks

Pekin Duckling

This has been a tough year for our ducks. First, we lost Ivan, our Call duck to a mink and then Rebecca, a 9 year old Khaki Campbell to old age. That left Casandra, an Indian Runner, all by herself. Well, not completely by herself. She has 7 chickens to hang out with, but it hasn't been the same for her; the chickens don't really enjoy swimming in the pond.

Last week I called our local feed store and ordered 2 Pekin ducklings and got a phone call that they were in today. Since these are day old ducklings, they need to stay in our house for a while before they can go live in the chicken coop. We have raised many babies in our house, from chickens, ducks and turkeys to pheasants and guineas. I think we have it down to a science.

We have a few large plastic totes that we saved just for this purpose. At first we tried cardboard boxes, which worked out okay for all the animals except the ducks. Ducks are very messy drinkers and it didn't take long for the cardboard boxed to become a nuisance. The plastic totes work out very well.

We first put in a layer of shavings in the tote and then a bowl of food. The water container gets set on a brick to keep it off the bottom of the tote, and therefore stays a little cleaner. Shavings find their way into the waterer much too quickly.

Since our house is powered by solar, we don't use a heat lamp in the tote, but we do have a small red light that uses very little electricity. We heat up a brick in the oven (not too hot), wrap it in a towel and place this in the box. The red light does offer some heat, but it also seems to relax the birds for some reason; they seem to find the color soothing. We first noticed that with chicks.

Inside the tote, warm bricks and light

The tote sits on top of our washer and dryer. We place some window screens on top (to keep young flyers in and cats out) and in the evening we place a towel over most of the top to be sure everyone is warm enough.

Tote for raising baby birds

Pekin Duckling

12 comments:

  1. Nancy,

    Your babies are so cute. Do they sleep all night and have your cats try to "play" with them?

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  2. Thanks, Judy. They do real well at night. Not a peep out of them, and so far the cats have been good. I let the ducks run around on the floor, but not when the cats are in!
    ~ Nancy

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  3. Oh how beautiful! I can just imagine how soft they are. I am sure Casandra will enjoy the new company when they are old enough to get outside with her. Emily in So. TX

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  4. They are VERY soft : ) Today they are in the screen house for the first time. Will bring them back in to our house tonight. I think they are enjoying the fresh air and green grass!

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  5. Hi again. We met on a Yahoo Group awhile back. I commented on your Cider press using a garbage disposal. Pretty cool idea!

    Cute babies. Ever since you told me about runner ducks I have had them on my list. Since... we have 5 pigs. I wanted to say hi and I am following your blog! Your hard work is admirable.

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  6. Thanks Andy and Cheryl, it has been a while and I am glad you are still around.

    Very cool about the pigs....I love pigs, which is a problem because I love them too much and want to make pets out of all of them! I think some day we may get a pot belly, then I can have it as a pet.

    These ducks are doing great and hopefully it won't be too long and they can spend the night outdoors in a house instead of in here with us.

    Last Saturday our cow had a calf. I will have to post some photos (actually did on flickr). He is a cutie!

    Nancy

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  7. He is cute! I commented on that post as well. I have wondered if the pot belly pig is any relation to the Lard Pigs that I read are extinct... After awhile of pigs fighting over hogging food and at times drawing blood... that ruins the pet thing for me.. though tummy rubs bring it back.... We work in Pork Slaughter so Pigs as pets are not an option for me. Thanks for replying back. Finally got a Google account so I could finally say hi! though I have been reading your blog for awhile. This is one of my favorite blogs... Thank you again!

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  8. Thanks so much...glad you are enjoying. Never had a bad experience with pigs, so for me they are still cute. All of the ones we have had (only 5) could have become big babies if given the chance. Sometimes I wish I weren't quite a softie! ( I am working on it!)

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  9. We're raising Muscovy Ducks...I highly recommend them.

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  10. Very very cute
    Our broody chicken just hatched a duck egg out. None of the other eggs hatched. Hopefully the little duckling doesn't grow up thinking it is a chicken

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  11. The "mother" chicken will freak when the duckling goes in the water! Should be interesting to see the duck scratch for food.....

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