Last week we got a batch of ducklings for the eventual move to Vidamour Farm and its wide open spaces. Hopefully in about 5 months time we will have a bunch of little layers producing lots of duck eggs!
The batch of little ducklings came from Wagners’ Poultry up near Coldstream in Victoria. It was a real pain to get there, but they had what I wanted (but only just enough) and after packing ten of the cuties in my big brown cardboard box, I brought them home. It was a hot day and sitting inside the car I felt pretty fortunate to have some air conditioning for me and the ducklings.
I chose to buy some Khaki Campbell cross Pekin ducklings. Wagner’s also had straight Pekin ducklings, but I am after egg laying ability and the Khaki’s should lay more eggs. This first batch of ten will be an experiment, and I’ll see just how many eggs they lay. If these ducklings lay well, then in the future I might get more from Wagner’s – but I’ll also be on the lookout for more ducklings and fully grown egg-laying ducks. At this stage I’m focusing on Khaki Campbells and possibly Indian Runners in the future.
I’ve taken pictures as best I can, but unfortunately the ducklings are really quick! We’ve had ducklings before, but I swear they’ve not been as fast as these ones. Here’s to hoping that they turn out to be super ducks!
I’ve also taken some video to show you just how cute they are. And also how fast the grow up! In the brooder, there is a feeding dish, water dispenser and some heat from a light. Initially I’ve kept the ducks in a very large cardboard box that previously stored Fowlers Vacola jars. On the floor, I’ve spread plenty of layers of newspaper (because the ducklings love to spray the water and shoot poop everywhere). I’ve spread straw over the very top, and included some freshly cut grass every now and again to get them used to juicy green stuff.
I’ve been waking up several times each night to check on the ducklings. They’re so small and require sufficient heat, water and food and my fear it that they run low on one (or all) of the three. I refill the bottle full of boiling water and rewrap it with the paper towel and also top up any food or water that has often been spread throughout the brooder. After the ducklings are a week or two old, I’m sure I’ll get less stressed about their health and have a full night’s sleep.
Taking the ducklings outside, they were initially rather scared and reluctant. Once they settled down, they frolicked in the grass and nibbled on some of the flowers in the lawn as well. Check out this Instagram image.
To be honest, I was rather nervous taking the ducklings outside due to my fear that they will die. There is a family of crows that have been rather vicious to local birds in the last few weeks. One day I ran outside after hearing commotion – only to find a crow standing on a little baby bird’s neck. They seem pretty cruel, and I wasn’t keen on chancing my luck with the ducklings outside. Rach was pretty insistent on it though, and provided we both watched the ducklings there wouldn’t be any problems. And that was the case, so I was wrong on this one!
In the second video you should be able to notice some distinct changes to the ducklings. They’re obviously significantly larger, but their faces have become more duck-like with more pronounced beaks. They’re still very skittish though and we’re handling them every day.
It’s only been about a week so far, and the ducklings have grown so much! Boy are they smelly and messy. My plan is to make them a brooder box to give them extra room, so I’ll try and include a blog post on that project in the next few days.