How to Raise Ducklings

Ducklings are about the cutest critter in the barnyard or backyard. Care for your baby ducks with these tips on raising ducklings and watch them grow into easy-to-please members of your family.
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Photo By: Image courtesy of Lisa Steele

Photo By: Image courtesy of Lisa Steele

Photo By: Image courtesy of Lisa Steele.

Saxony Duckling

Its hard to believe that just two weeks ago this duckling hatched from such a small egg. This Saxony duckling will weigh 7 to 8 pounds when grown. Give this breed room to stretch their legs as they are excellent foragers.

Pekin Ducklings

Snow white Pekins start out as yellow fuzzy ducklings until their white feathers grow in. Pekins don’t tend towards broodiness (the females don’t tend to sit on eggs to hatch ducklings), so artificial incubation usually is needed if you are interested in hatching Pekin eggs.

Three's Company

Male and female Saxonies are impossible to tell apart when just several weeks old. Until the ducks are fully feathered at 7-9 weeks old, they have trouble regulating their body temperature and need heat. Watch the ducklings and the thermometer in your brooder to gauge if they are warm enough. Warm ducklings will scamper around the brooder.

Rouen Duckling

Rouen ducklings look nearly identical to Mallard ducklings, but are a far heavier and larger breed. Ducklings can be fed regular chick feed, but be sure it is unmedicated because ducklings eat more than chicks and there is a risk they could over-medicate themselves. Ducklings have higher niacin requirements than chicks, so add a sprinkle of brewer’s yeast on top of their feed to assist in building strong bones.

Mallard and Pekin Ducklings

Pekin ducklings grow much faster than Mallards, and the full-grown Pekin ducks will be more than twice as heavy as full-grown Mallards. Domestic Mallards are small, weighing only about 2.5 pounds, and excellent flyers.  So, it's recommended to keep Mallards in a covered run to keep them contained.

Magpie Ducklings in the Grass

As with other ducklings, these baby magpie ducks will enjoy healthy treats such as dandelion greens, chopped grass and weeds (chemically untreated), worms, Swiss chard, kale, peas and moistened oatmeal.

Magpie Ducklings

By the time ducklings are 3-5 weeks old, weather-dependent, they can spend warm, sunny days outside, carefully supervised and protected from predators. These magpies start out yellow and gray as ducklings, maturing to pure white with black markings when fully grown.

Duckling in the Balance

Ducklings should be limited to short, supervised swims until they are about a month old.

Ducklings in a Carry-On

A carry-on bag probably wouldn't work as a brooder, but you can try a spare bathtub, large Rubbermaid tote, dog crate or cardboard box lined with plastic.