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Ducklings - vs - Chicks

In the first few days of raising our first ducklings, I'm quickly learning there are a few differences from raising chicks.

Round 1

I love taking photos of each of our chicks. They stand there nicely with cute poses. Ducklings just want to be back with their friends and will do just about whatever it takes to get back there, including jumping from the brooder ledge several feet up!

On day 1 I gave up after getting only one photo. The following day I was determined to have a least one half-way-decent photo of each of the three breeds. It was a struggle... I present to you the best of the worst.

Round 2

Ducks are messy! Which also leads to stinky! It's not the ducks themselves that stink, but the moisture that is everywhere. I knew this going in, but was still pretty surprised at how true it is.

Thanks to YouTube, we found a fairly good system that is keeping the brooder from needing to be cleaned constantly. The water is sitting on a mesh cover over a plant saucer for the water to drip down into. The food is in a dish to keep the pellets from mixing in with the bedding and for easier cleaning.

Every other day we're still clearing out the wetness and the waterer needs to be refreshed several times a day. In comparison, we raised 7 chicks last spring in a slightly smaller brooder for 6 weeks and never had to change the bedding.

It's good they are super cute!

Round 3

I'm not sure if this is normal for all ducklings, but ours do not sleep at night under the heat pad. They spend quite a bit of the day under their mother, but at night they prefer to cuddle in a corner.

At just over a week old, our power went out for 10 hours. I was comforted in knowing the ducklings would be fine without supplemental heat.

Round 4

The ducklings do everything together! If one is out eating and drinking, they all are. When they are huddled and one stands up, they all standup and then sit back down together. That's pretty adorable to watch.

Chicks are much more independent. It's pretty common that a few will wander out while the rest remain under the heat pad. They still stick together as a flock from time to time, but it's not a requirement for them.

Round 5

They are growing soooooooooo fast!

We briefly considered brooding ducklings and chicks at the same time, but came across a blog post discouraging this because of the differing rates of growth. Even though I was prepared, I didn't realize exactly how drastically different it is!

At 2 weeks old, there are already about the size of chicks at several weeks old. I can imagine the horror of a massive webbed foot stepping down next to a delicate chick's head. 😳

The brooder is overflowing and I'm ready for these girls to move outdoors!

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