Raising ducklings is a great experience. It can teach your kids the responsibility of having another living being to care for and nurture. They are also good natured and fuzzy as ducklings so they’re fun to cuddle around and play with.
But there is a great deal of responsibility raising a duckling. Raising one from duckling to duck is no light matter but with a few preparatory tips, your kids should be ready to raise the little darlings.
- Come prepared. Raising ducklings isn’t like raising chicks where you stick them in a coop and provide chicken feed, water and light and you can watch them grow into chickens. Ducks are a specific breed of water fowl that have specific requirements. You need to learn about their natural habitat, which includes water, need to learn the kind of food that is edible to them and the kind that could be fatal to ducklings. Read up on rearing ducklings online for information regarding their habitat and eating habits.
- Learn how to make feed. As ducks grow, their nutritional requirements change. Ducklings should do fine with starter feed which contains 20 to 22% protein. When they reach three weeks, upgrade to 16 % protein. As they grow to being full fledged ducks, they’ll need between 14 to 18% depending on whether or not they’re laying. Keep your feed in an airtight plastic container for hygiene purposes.
- Flock them. Ducks, like geese, are social by nature so you need to get more than one to raise. The minimum amount of ducklings you can get to raise should be two.
- Build a coop for the ducklings. Once you get a small flock of ducklings, you’ll need to make a coop for them for protection. You can use an old cage or fence off a part of the backyard for their coop. Line the cage or an area of the backyard with an old, unused soft towel. To mimic the heat source from an adult duck, you’ll need a heat source like an unused 8 watt bulb in the coop. Turn this on during nighttime as ducklings like to snuggle up to a heat source during bedtime.
- Gradually teach them to swim. Ducks are amphibious creatures, which means they can live on the ground and on the water. Water is essential to the raising of ducklings, they learn to hunt in it and use it to clean themselves. You’ll need to teach them how to wade into water as they grow up. Begin teaching them how to love the water by placing a shallow dish of water in their coop. As they grow bigger, upgrade to a kiddie pool for them to water-train in.
Those are but a few of the responsibilities you and your kids have to be prepared for when caring for ducks.
Of course when these ducklings grow into strong ducks and spread their wings to fly south for the winter, nothing will fill your heart with pride more than to see your darling ducklings take wing.