Duckling Care

This information is specifically designed for the care of day old ducklings, or ducklings purchased and received through the mail.


  • Ducklings do not need food or water for the first 72hrs. Their body has retained the yolk sac from the hatching egg for nutrition.
  • If food and water are available they will start to eat and drink on their own at the 24-48hr. mark.
  • Ducklings need a waterfowl or game bird starter. It is very important that it is non-medicated feed. Feed containing Amprolium can be used. Organ damage can occur if a medicated chick starter is used. The protein range is usually 18-20%.
  • For the first few weeks they will need a constant supply of food and water.
  • If they have food water must be present or they can choke to death. Ducklings will take a mouthful of food and then take a drink in order to swallow.
  • Depending on the size of the duckling they should be switched to a pelleted food at 3-4 wks. This has less waste.

  • Ducklings need a warm brooder box. I have never checked the temp. in any of my boxes, but it needs to be around 90 degrees and draft free.
  • A brooder light can be purchased at a local feed store. These lights can take up to a 250-watt bulb. You will only need a bulb that big if you are brooding outdoors or have a large area.
  • I use a Rubbermaid tub. This will require a 60-100 watt bulb to be on depending of how many ducklings and how high it is suspended.
  • You will know that the ducklings are warm enough if they are moving around the entire area. They will fall asleep alone instead of in a group. If they are too cold they will huddle together, and you will need to lower the light or go to a higher wattage. If they are too warm they will breathe with their bill open and will not go near the heat light. If they are too warm try to decrease the wattage or raise the bulb.
  • I start with the 100-watt bulb and do not place it in the middle. It is placed off to one side. That way they can get away from the heat.
  • After they are 10 days to 2 wks. I begin to decrease the heat until the bulb is off. They need to be monitored as described in #4. Eventually they can be moved to the porch/garage and then outside.
  • Bedding in the brooder can be wood shavings or old towels. No newspaper as this gets slippery and can lead to leg problems.