Although ducks can be domesticated, they are not common pets. So when raising ducklings, people are sometimes clueless on how to care for them. As with most pets, keeping baby ducks requires a lot of responsibility. And owners may have to spend a great portion of their time attending to the ducklings’ needs.
Whether you are just planning to keep baby ducks or already have some ducklings under your care, here are a few things you have to know about caring and feeding them.
- Make sure the feed is safe for the baby ducks. The sad truth is that most first-time duck owners feed baby ducks with just about anything they find in stores or what their well-meaning friends tell them. In the end, many of them end up killing their baby ducks. To tell you, there are lots of opinions out there, telling you to feed your ducks this and that. But remember that when it comes to feeding, an expert advice should be sought. Consult a veterinarian or a duck breeder to find out what to feed your baby ducks, as they can tell exactly the health condition of your baby ducks and the feeds that will specifically meet their nutritional requirements.
- Keep a steady supply of food and water. In the first 72 hours of their lives, baby ducks won’t need food and water. But after that timeframe, food and water should always be present in their box house. Remember to always change their food and water as often as necessary to prevent ingestion of bacteria and other deadly microorganisms.
- Encourage proper bone leg development. Baby ducklings’ leg bones are overly fragile and need help to get them properly developed. One of the things you can do is to allow them to walk on a hard, flat surface a week after they are hatched. Then on the succeeding weeks, get a few corn cobs, crush them into tiny pieces, and liberally spread them to the box house flooring. Doing this will train the baby ducks’ legs. If not provided with the right floor surface, baby ducks are much more prone to splayed legs, a condition that can be corrected by an operation.
- Observe care when holding the baby ducks. Again, baby duck bones are fragile, so be gentle when touching, holding, and carrying them. Under no circumstances should you hug the ducklings or squeeze them tight. If you want to express your affection for the ducklings, content yourself with patting their heads, stroking their bodies, or staring at them. Also, never drop them to their box house.
- Remember that ducks are social animals. A baby duckling can be raised alone, although it will be more natural for the animal to be with its kind. So make sure to raise at least three to four baby ducklings. You will notice that they group together and stay intact for all of their years.
Baby ducklings will grow into their full maturity after around eight to ten weeks. And by this time, you will enjoy their affection, loyalty, and playfulness and will realize that all the effort you put in caring for them when they were babies is all worth it.