In order to have healthy ducklings, crucial care must be taken from the time the eggs are hatched. Ducklings are delicate and small in size and therefore require special care. A safe environment assures good health and mental stimulation for ducklings. The process of incubating duck eggs must be done indoors as it requires special attention. Once the eggs are well incubated and ducklings have grown a little older they should be moved outdoors. As ducklings are small in size they should also be kept away from other pets such as cats or dogs. Dry and rough bedding work well for these bird species. Too much heat and cold can raise health issues and therefore, a sturdy and cozy shelter must be provided to keep the ducklings safe.
Ducks bond quickly with their owner and love being around other ducklings. In case you are raising a single duckling then make sure that you are always around the little one. The feeling of someone being there comforts the duckling and even strengthens the bond between you and your duckling.
Taking Care of Ducklings
Looking After the Eggs
Proper incubation of duck eggs determines the health of the duckling. A safe technique of incubation should be adopted to avoid any mishaps in the early stages. Mark the eggs so that identifying them becomes easier. Make sure that you turn the eggs at least 3 times a week. This should be done to avoid the membrane from sticking to the shell. However, avoid turning the eggs 2-3 days before hatching.
Hatching of Eggs
It is best not to interfere when the eggs begin to hatch. It is not necessary that all the eggs will hatch at the same time. Every egg will take its time to develop and hatch. During the time of hatching, the duckling will break the air sac within the shell and then peck the shell to come out. A duckling will use its entire body's strength to push itself out of the shell.
Brooding is a stage where the duckling requires maximum care. As it is just hatched, it requires some warmth around it. Therefore, purchase a brooding box with an attached heat lamp. Allow the duckling to rest for as much time as possible. As the duckling moves around and rests, avoid interfering and handling it.
Feeding a Duckling
A duckling may not feed for the first 24 hours of hatching. However, later it must be provided sufficient food and water, so that your duckling stays healthy. After two weeks of hatching feed vitamins and pellets. Ducklings must be fed twice a day. They are clumsy and even spill and dirty the water. Therefore, water should always be cleared and replaced soon. This avoids them from falling prey to any diseases.
Taking the Duckling for a Swim
Ducklings are great swimmers and they can even swim on the second day of hatching. So, use a small pool to allow your duckling to swim. Add some planters so that your duckling can rest from swimming.
Once the ducklings grow a little older, take them out grazing. Ducks love grazing and feeding on insects, which provides them with protein. As your ducklings are growing they will feed on fish, worms, aquatic plants and mollusks.
Ducklings must be kept in warm and dry areas. They should also be kept protected from rough winds and rain. Once the ducklings turn a month old, you can leave them in your backyard. The above given tips will ease your duckling care and make the process enjoyable and fun.