Keeping your Ducklings

Hatching ducklings from fertilized eggs, is a rewarding way to begin your own duck-keeping experience. When growing baby ducks, you can pick different ways of beginning your own flock, but, you also have the option to start a flock with mature ducks.

Suburban duck hobbyists can purchase mature ducks, adolescent ducks, ducklings or fertile duck eggs to begin keeping ducks. But to some, the experience is more fulfilling if they start with the brood from eggs first.

Hatching Duck Eggs and Brooding Hatched Ducks

To hatch your own fertile eggs, you will need an incubator. An egg incubator is essential for hatching duck eggs. But, you should remember that you cannot provide enough space for duck eggs in the egg incubator as you would with chicken eggs, because most of the duck eggs are larger than chicken eggs.

Most duck eggs take at least 28 days to hatch. This is about seven days longer than hatching chicken eggs. But, some eggs of various breeds can take longer. For instance, Muscovy ducks can take almost 1 month and 5 days to hatch.

Heat the egg incubator to 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit. You should check the level of moisture in the incubator first before placing the eggs. At the least, it should have 55 per cent moisture or humidity for the ducks to properly develop and hatch.

How you decide to brood your newly-hatched ducklings is up to you, but you should be cautious as it is the most essential step in keeping ducklings. Most people would brood ducklings using a chicken hen. A few backyard duck hobbyists choose a chick brooder to raise their ducklings. These two brooding options have their distinct advantages and disadvantages.

If you decide to use a chick brooder to provide warmth to your ducklings, the ducklings need a shorter time period than do chicks. Also, you don’t need a specialized set-up to brood your ducklings. You can use a cardboard box or a wood box. It is essential to have at least three to four inches of fillers that are dry and comfortable for your ducklings. You can use wood shavings or paper scraps as litter.

To provide sufficient supply of warmth and heat in the duck brooder, you can use a heater or a 250-watt light bulb. This set-up must be enough to brood up to 2 dozens of ducklings. You can also use a hover brooder, normally used for raising chickens. You should remember this, because ducklings are larger in size than chicks, a brooder set-up can only give space enough for around half of the space capacity for chicks.

Your newly-hatched ducklings require at least 6 sq. inches of brooder space and it should be raised to 10 to 12 sq. inc. of space as they grow bigger. You should adjust this setup depending to the growth rate of the ducks.

Baby ducks should be brood for about six to seven weeks after they are hatched. The period of time required in a brooder is shorter during summer.

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