How to Raise Baby Ducklings
So, you either found a baby duck or multiple baby ducks, or you bought one at a feed store, and you need help. I personally found three abandoned ducklings in the middle of a busy intersection, and I wanted to share with you how to successfully raise them to adulthood!
- Ducklings are very possessive. The first thing they see they believe it is their mother. If you are raising multiple ducklings with no mom, they will bond together, and nothing will tear them apart. If one of your ducklings gets left alone, it will quack and peep for hours. If you are only raising one baby duck, it will need a human bond and become attached to its human handler. Keep in mind if you intend on keeping them as pets or releasing them back in the wild.
- When they are little ducklings, they need warmth! Especially if you only have one. Any heat lamp or lamp will do!
- Housing. Any storage box will do to house your babies until they are older. You can use cardboard boxes too, but they might get wet, you will have to line the bottom of a cardboard box with a thick layer of newspaper. Any container that will house your baby ducklings will need to be lined. Ducks are the messiest animals I have ever had; they poop everywhere all the time! Also, during feeding times, food gets everywhere, make sure you have time to clean up.
- Feeding. Ducklings have the biggest appetite in the world. If they don't attack their food as soon as they see it, that usually indicates sickness. It is quite easy to make homemade duck food, or you can buy cornmeal or duck starter meal. Cornmeal can be found at any grocery store, but duckling food can only be found in tack stores. Make sure not to buy adult waterfowl food for your baby ducklings because it is filled with medicine. Since baby ducks have such big appetites, it is very easy for them to overdose on any adult bird food.
- Baby ducklings need a variety of greens and protein in their diet, but it all needs to either be finely chopped or all ground up in a blender. Here are several homemade meals I made my baby ducks regularly.
- I would blend a little bit of cat or dog food in a blender with and vegetables, Romanian lettuce, spinach, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, carrots, broccoli and more. Also, you may include fruit, but not too much because it might increase their droppings and is high in sugar. Some fruits to blend into a mixture are grapes, strawberries, apples, bananas, peaches, tomatoes, pears, and more. You could also add eggs for protein.
- For breakfast lunch and dinner, I would open my fridge and grab any of the above ingredients and throw them all into a blender and feed it to my ducklings. Some meals I would focus more on their veggies and greens and other times on their proteins, and sometimes just blended some apples for a little snack. Duckling starter meal is mainly filled with cereals and corn, which is not as healthy as making them homemade meals. It might take a little longer, but in the end, it leads to happier ducklings.
- Ducklings love water, make sure to keep their water bowls shallow and sturdy. Your ducklings will jump in it every chance they can, and might even get their poop in it. Wet ducklings can lead them to get very cold. You can add some rocks or marbles in their water bowls so they can't jump inside their bowls, and so their bowls won't spill. Ducklings need water to swallow their food. You MUST provide them water when they are eating.
Ducklings can swim on day one. You must supervise them when they are swimming, Fill a small tub with lukewarm water, and you can supervise your ducklings swim. When they are young, do not let them swim for too long because their body will get too chilled. After they are done with their swim, make sure to dry them off. Once they get older, you can let them swim in an inflatable pool.
Once your ducklings get to a couple weeks old, you can let them run free in your backyard. I made my three ducklings an enclosed area in my backyard where they can run free and pick at things on the grand. In the enclosed space, I also included a tub that they can drink from and jump into. They also loved to be sprayed with a house. Do not leave your ducklings outside non supervised until they are about a month old. I ended up releasing my ducks into a local lake at three months old. I do not advise you keeping your ducks unless you have a large property for them to roam and a lake. They are very messy animals, and the best place for them would be to live in a lake with other ducks. They adapt very well, so you do not have to worry about them not surviving once you release them back to the wild.
Baby ducks are survivors! The smallest one of the three that I found just laid on the side of the road not moving while the other two ran around in circles. It looked like he got hit by a car, or got stuck in a tire. I thought he was dead, but I couldn't just leave the poor guy on the side of the road. Once I got the 3 of them home, the injured one really picked up energy and turned out to be fine. Probably, he was just a little scared, maybe ran under a car. Remember, these guys are survivors!
Make sure to take lots of pictures of them! They grow so fast! If you have any other questions about raising ducklings comment below! I would be happy to get back to you.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
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