I bought Pekin ducklings at the cattle auction barn on saturday, and I haven't seen evidence of poo yesterday. or this morning. I did see poop on sunday but maybe they were just crapping out the food that they ate on saturday at the sale barn.
I'm feeding them duck starter, and they are eating it. I can even get them to eat out of my hand. They are also going to the water dish a lot.
I checked their butts and don't see any blockage.
I don't think they're cold stressed because they aren't shivering, they aren't quacking excessively. The temperature is usually around 70 degrees Ferenheit, with a range of 65-80. The humidity ranges from 40-65%. I have them indoors with a stand-fan moving the air around lightly, and an indoor/outdoor air exchange fan which I only turn on during the day when it's sunny. Should I have the exchanger fan on all the time? I had it off when it's cold to save on heating costs.
I've got them enclosed in a makeshift pen, with straw as their bedding. They seem to be running around and playing. I check on them 3-4 times a day.
For the last two days I've been playing them a classical music radio station on low volume, but only during most (not all) of the daylight hours.
Yesterday I started adding chopped up grass, thistle and dandelion leaves, a few slugs, pillbugs, these tiny dark black thin insects, and these reddish-brown centipede lookin things that crawl real fast (I don't know their name). They came running with enthusiasm and started nibbling on everything voraciously. I'm going to hold off on all of the stuff I just described because maybe I shocked their stomachs.
On closer inspection, they are shitting. I'm used to chicken shit, which is as you probably know, is much more bulky, dry and visible than duck shit tends to be when your bedding is straw. The duck crap has been falling between the cracks of the straw, so I had to look much more closely to see it. All is well and good in duckland here.
Good to hear Travis! Would you be willing to share your experience with me? I really would like to start raising Pekin next year for sustainable meat source and I only have limited experience with chickens at the moment. So far I haven't found too many people willing to share on a small scale like yourself. Any info would be appreciated including video!
My girlfriends been prompting me to make a video, and will be doing so, maybe on the weekend.
I'm not sure how much I have to share, as I'm about as novice as you can get. Like you, I've got some experience raising chickens but that's about it.
This site is geared towards larger scale operations but I still found it applicable to small scale. I also trust the information more than some random Joe's website, as it's from Cornell University. I bookmarked it because it has a chart that lists the optimum room temperature for ducks depending on their age. duckhealth.com
I'm not sure what else to share beyond what I listed in the OP Rob. What do you want to know?
One thing is to make sure you feed your ducklings starter feed, and not mature duck feed as the medication in the feed can screw up the little ones.
I've been told that you can let your ducklings roam around on their own once they are 2 months old
They supposedly drink a lot more water than chickens, and are a lot messier.
I've heard that you're supposed to leave them alone as much as possible for the first 3 days you have them as they can become too imprinted on you.
Feed them chopped up or blended up greens if you can. Give em slugs, snails, worms etc to eat as well.
I've been training my ducks to come when I call by holding a handful of grain near them and calling "here ducks!". I pull my hand away a little and call again. I'm sure there are better ways to do it but this is all I know. Supposedly you can train ducks to go to areas with flags but I'm not sure how.
1. I have a 20 foot by 5 foot pond area that IM planning on housing them next to. I want 3 females and 1 drake for the parent stock; I plan to keep them in a secure area with access to the pond year round. Will this be enough room for them in addition to some grass area to roam around in?
2. Once they have ducklings and the ducklings are old enough, I will move them to a separate duck tractor or sorts, feed and water them until they are 8-10 weeks, then get them slaughtered. Since you have only had the ducklings you might not be able to comment too much on this process and how well it will work.
3. What exactly is in starter feed vs the regular feed, and are medications really necessary in a low density population for the parent stock?
4. Will a regular chicken feeder work for feed or do I need a special feeder?