I like ducks. They’re cute, they’re fun, they do a great job of hunting slugs and aquatic insects, they aerate the ponds and eat the algae. They’re also quite tasty. We ran out of ducks last year. I had been planning to get more ducklings this spring but things were too hectic. As a result the pig pond has gotten a little scummy with algae. If the ducks were there the algae would be gone.
Ben, Hope & New Ducklings
Finally in the beginning of summer we got some ducklings from McMurray Hatchery. Twenty in fact. McMurray tends to be a bit higher priced but also has more selection than I’ve found elsewhere. Another good one I’ve dealt with is Privett Hatchery. Both ship mail order. Be ready when your little ones arrive. I have gotten chicks and ducklings as late as October and done well with them but the warm summer months are the easiest time.
Duckling Barrel Brooder
When the ducklings arrived we put them into a half barrel with bedding on the bottom. Hay, wood chips and wood shavings all make good bedding. The round shape of the barrel helps avoid crushing in corners.
The light gave them a little extra warmth on our cool nights. By using a hood I probably could have avoided the light. The radiant heat did help them dry out better when they got wet. They also have a waterer and feeder in the barrel.
Hope & Duckling
Hope is very enarmoured with the ducklings. With a bit of practice, and no lost ducklings, she learned to hold them gently.
Duckling Trough House
The ducklings quickly out grew their initial barrel brooder. There next house was a cracked cattle watering trough. With a bit of slope it has a beach so that the lower end fills with water. The ducklings thought that was grand. They’re not yet ready to swim but they do like splashing in the water and dipping their beaks. We began feeding them some greens at this point. This was after about ten days.
Barrel Bedding Pack
When I lifted up the barrel brooder I found this nice bedding cake. I cut a door in the brooder and moved it into the trough to be their new home.
Hope Introducing Duckling to Door
As I moved the ducklings over to their new trough house Hope introduced them to the door of their new house.
Giant Pekin Duckling
That is a Giant Pekin Duckling. It is about 50% larger than the regular Pekin Ducks. We also got three White Crested Ducks which look like Pekin Ducks wearing fluffy Russian fur hats. At this point the ducklings have lost their yellow ducky plumage and are now covered in white feathers. Their latest move was to the atrium garden which has a bathtub filled with water where they dunk and swim. This week I opened the gate to the pond level but I have yet to see them explore all the way down there. In time they will.
Outdoors: 67°F/56°F Mostly overcast, brief rain in later afternoon
Farm House: 71°F/67°F Excavator began
Tiny Cottage: 65°F/60°F