Hi! I'm Heidi.

Hi! I'm Heidi, and here is my Homestead Journey.....

Hi! I'm Heidi, and here is my Homestead Journey.....

 

Wife. Grandma. Gardener. Student of Plant Medicine and Herbs. Whole30 Fan. Poultry Farmer. Trying to be Courageously DIY. Essential Oil Enthusiast. Beginning Horsewoman. New Homesteader in Mid-Life.

Do you want to feel empowered by being able to be as self-sufficient as possible in this uncertain world?  Me too!  Join me in this learning journey!

I'm Heidi, and this is Ranger.  He has been with me for over ten years, and I love him dearly.  

I'm Heidi, and this is Ranger.  He has been with me for over ten years, and I love him dearly.  

Bringing Home Ducklings and Adding Them to Your Flock!

Bringing Home Ducklings and Adding Them to Your Flock!

About a month or so ago, my husband and I were at our local feed store to pick up a few things and hopefully purchase a few more chicks to add to our layers this year.  Sadly, they were out of chicks that day---EXCEPT for these four sweet little yellow ducklings peeping away!  Oh. My. GOSH!  I fell in love! So we ended up bringing all four of them home.  Yep!  All four! Now, I didn't know a lot about ducklings, and I'm going to share with you the things I wish I had known!  Their addition to our little homestead has been successful so far, but things might have been a little easier if we had been aware of a few things!

Ever thought about raising ducks? Well, we "accidentally" got these four little cuties when the feed store was all out of chicks! We brought these guys home instead! Here's what you MUST know about bringing home ducklings! 

Ever thought about raising ducks? Well, we "accidentally" got these four little cuties when the feed store was all out of chicks! We brought these guys home instead! Here's what you MUST know about bringing home ducklings! 

This article contains affiliate links, and this simply means if you happen to click through a link and make a purchase of any kind, I will earn a very small commission...at NO extra cost to you!  Thank you so much for supporting Healing Harvest Homestead! Heidi
Bringing home the babies on the first day.  They are just the CUTEST little things!  (Kind of helps with that Empty Nest Syndrome thing, right?) 

Bringing home the babies on the first day.  They are just the CUTEST little things!  (Kind of helps with that Empty Nest Syndrome thing, right?) 

What You Need for Bringing Ducklings Home

The ducklings we purchased were only a few days old, so we basically treated them like we would chicks---except for their water.  Here's how we supplied them for the first two and a half weeks:

1) A Home

For this, we used a large horse trough we pulled into our guest room inside the house.  It is just too cold in February up here in the mountains for any kind of poultry baby to be outside.  They need warm temperatures---not as warm as chick (90 ish degrees), but pretty close when they are that young.  

2) A Tub for Water

Ducklings LOVE their water.  They need to dunk their heads in order to clean out their sinus cavity, and it also helps them digest their food.  They love to play in it too!  We just used a small Rubbermaid tub to start out.  Then we graduated to a larger one! Then a super big one!

3) A Feeder and Feed

We just used a large round feeder for the ducklings. They eat regular all flock, whereas baby chicks must eat medicated feed.  Do not feed your ducklings medicated feed!

4) A Heat Lamp and Fixture with a safety wire

Even though we brought the ducklings inside, our home is not near warm enough for baby chicks or ducklings either--  So we included a heat lamp system for the ducklings.  

Here's a top view of their new home.  The heat lamp is infrared, that's why the weird red light! You can see they love their water! 

Here's a top view of their new home.  The heat lamp is infrared, that's why the weird red light! You can see they love their water! 

But Then They GROW! What You'll Need to Consider as they Get Bigger

The ducklings grew amazingly fast!  I would say they doubled in size after only a few days...and kept going!  After a week, we decided they should have a nightly bath in the bathtub because they were not getting clean enough in their little water tub in the trough.  We let them play in the tub for around 30 to 45 minutes.  They LOVED it!

Then....back in their nice warm trough in the guest room.

Here they are floating around in the bathtub---We kept the water cool, but not cold, and high enough so they could practice their paddling skills! It was so fun watching them! 

Here they are floating around in the bathtub---We kept the water cool, but not cold, and high enough so they could practice their paddling skills! It was so fun watching them! 

But....eventually, they just got WAY too big for the trough in the house.  PLUS, as they got bigger, they got stinkier and messier too!  It's really incredible how messy ducks are!  Chicks are SUPER clean compared to ducklings, I have to say!  We had to clean out the trough on a daily basis because if we didn't, mold and mildew would form as the ducks get everything wet! 

Here we are, after taking a bath! 

Here we are, after taking a bath! 

The Nursery Coop Outside

Once we acknowledged that ready or not, warm enough outside or not, they were just too big to be kept in a horse trough in a guest room in the house---it was time for us to take them out to what we call the nursery coop.  

The nursery coop is actually our very first chicken coop.  It's insulated and pretty perfect---it was just a little too small for all our chickens once we got over about eight or so in our flock.  So my husband built a larger coop (with a sun roof!) for the chickens, and this smaller coop has become the nursery coop.  It's a transition coop we keep fenced off from the adult chickens where new babies can continue to grow up, meet the adults safely, and have more room and a small outside area to roam around too.  It's a chicken run in the big chicken run! Like a playpen! 

Securing the heat lamp from the ramp in the Nursery Coop.  This allows the babies to still get warm if they need to, and the coop is large enough they can get away from the light if they want to as well.  

Securing the heat lamp from the ramp in the Nursery Coop.  This allows the babies to still get warm if they need to, and the coop is large enough they can get away from the light if they want to as well.  

Here they are! Their first big day outside!  You can still see their yellow down, but they are getting their feathers at this point.  

Guess where they went first?  YEP!  The water tub---which you can see has now gotten larger, too! :-) 

This was the initial tub in the nursery coop.  They've grown out of a total of three tubs so far!  It's seriously incredible how fast they grow! 

Ever wanted to create your own herbal tea blends? Learn how to formulate the perfect blend, whether just for taste or for medicinal reasons! 

Ever wanted to create your own herbal tea blends? Learn how to formulate the perfect blend, whether just for taste or for medicinal reasons! 

Mama Hen says, "What on earth ARE those things?"  :-)  

Mama Hen says, "What on earth ARE those things?"  :-)  

And Then Those Ducklings Grew Some More!

Last week, after being in the nursery coop for only about two weeks or so, the ducklings were just a tiny smidgeon bigger than an adult hen.  So....we figured it was time for them to graduate to the big run!  

We had brought out the baby chicks (we ended up getting a week after the ducklings) to be with the ducklings in the nursery coop, and that went well for about a week.  But the ducklings just got even bigger, and it was getting crowded in that little daycare with 12 babies all over the place!  

Time to meet the Mama Hens face to face for the first time!

The Face-to-Face initial meetings went really well!  

The Face-to-Face initial meetings went really well!  

The ducklings and the hens get along fabulously!  Ducklings are definitely funny birds---The first night, we were concerned that they wouldn't know to go into the big coop for shelter, so Mr. HHH went out to check on them.  He came back in laughing.  Do you know where they were?  

They were swimming around in their tub in the dark!  :-)  They are going to be just fine, we can tell.  They should double again in size from the picture above, so I'll give you updates on how they continue growing up! ;-)

If you are interested in reading about bringing home baby chicks, you can read more about that in my article!  There are some very important differences!

Have you ever raised ducks?  It's going to be a fun journey for us, and I'd sure love to hear your experiences!

Hugs & Self-Reliance!

Heidi

P.S.  I hope you'll consider signing up for the HHH Newsletter and never miss a thing!  You'll also receive a free gift from me: My eBook, "How to Use Herbs to Relax in the Evenings."  

 

P.P.S. This article has been shared on these blog hops:  The Homestead Blog Hop, The Homesteader Hop, Grandma's DIY, Our Simple Blog Hop, and also over at the Homestead Bloggers Network!  Stop in and enjoy lot of great simple life, traditional living ideas! 

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