Caring For Your Ducks
If you have decided to raise your very own ducks for pets you have made a good decision. Ducks can be very entertaining creatures to watch. From the way they quack to the way they waddle and everything in between. Some would say that the most entertaining part of having ducks as pets is to watch them swim. They tend to be very acrobatic in the water. You will most likely find your ducks diving under the water and even doing flips!
With the joy of owning your own ducks, however, comes responsibility. There are a few supplies you will need for feeding and watering them. If you have ducks that are in a brooder, you will need to purchase a feeder and waterer specified for small poultry. Usually, the feeders and waterers are made so that the hatchlings can access it without being able to get into the food or water and get it dirty. Basic things to look out for when purchasing a feeder is that the ducks can fit their beaks into the feeding holes into their adolescent stages. Also, when purchasing a waterer, it should only be deep enough so the ducklings can fit their beak and nostrils into, not their whole head. Although they are aquatic animals, ducklings can actually drown the first couple of weeks of their life. If the waterer you have seems to be too deep, you can fill it with marbles to make it safe for new ducklings to drink out of.
When your ducklings have first hatched, it is not necessary for them to eat for the first twenty-four hours of life. They will use this time to consume all of the nutrients they obtained from absorbing all of the yolk in their egg during their final stage of hatching. After the initial twenty-four hours it will be your time to step in as 'mom' and begin to feed them. The best thing to start them out on would be poultry crumble that contains twenty to twenty-two percent protein for the first three weeks. Between three and six weeks old, you may switch them to crumble with sixteen percent protein. After six weeks you can maintain your duck's diet on poultry pellets. If you have laying females, your feed store will provide laying pellets specifically for that. Otherwise, basic poultry pellets containing sixteen to eighteen percent protein will suffice. Also, never feed your ducks seeds, nuts or even chocolate. Some human food can be toxic to them, as well. It is best to stick to what is sold at the feed store. If you want to spoil them and give them a treat every now and then, do your research first on what they can safely consume. Since the crumble feed is in small bits, it will be easy for your ducklings to digest. This type of feed also provides the proper vitamins and nutrients for ducks and other poultry alike.
Besides eating and drinking, ducks need the chance to play, as well. Like most young animals, ducklings like to enjoy playtime every now and then. While your ducklings are in their brooder, you can actually leave a few little items in there for them to play with. For example, cat toys seem to work well or small cloth or bouncy balls. Not too small that they can ingest them, however. You can also supply floating toys for them in their pool. Some ducks will choose to play with them, some will not.
These are the basics in enjoying the lives of your pet ducks. All in all, it is a fairly simple task to raise ducks. Remember, just like any other pet, they will need your love and attention as well. If you take good care of your ducks they can be an enjoyable part of your life for an average of ten years.