Need chicken/duck info in a hurry

Discussion in 'Livestock' started by gypsysue, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

    Two of our hens have been sitting on duck eggs for a few weeks and today they have started hatching out. This is our first experience with hatching.

    In the past we've always bought chicks or ducklings and kept them under a light with food and water.

    Now we live off-grid, so a heat light is out of the question. This time of year I think they'll be warm enough with the hens. But right now they're up in the nest box. Will they fall out? Once they're out, they woudln't be able to get back up. And they might be able to get through the holes in the poultry fence.

    If we set out chick/duck starter, the older chickens will eat it.

    So...should be bring them inside and put them in a box, and give them food and water? Is it true ducks don't have to be kept as warm as chicks?

    What if we left the oven door open and set them inside where the pilot light will keep them warm?

    Anyone have any ideas to share?
  2. Sourdough

    Sourdough ExCommunicated

    My turkeys set my goose eggs better than the geese do.

  3. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

    That's cool, sourdough!

    The reason our hens were setting on the duck eggs is that the ducks wouldn't do it!

    And the hens were DETERMINED to set on eggs, but we don't have a rooster!
  4. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

    Ok, as long as the momma chicken is with them they will cuddle right on to her to keep warm so I wouldn't worry too much about heat right now. But if they are too high from the floor they might be hurt falling and the momma will fret that baby can not get back up while she is getting the rest to hatch.
    For feeding the best thing to do is put out a "feeding box/cage" which is a box or cage with small baby sized openings that has the feed and water for them only inside it, not only can they get in and eat and drink they can also take shelter from the larger chickens, and the big chickens can not eat their food up, but ducks will play in that water and make a huge mess, so make sure they are outside or in a shed that is easily cleaned. YOU DO NOT WANT THEM IN THE HOUSE FOR LONG, trust me on this--they stink! i don't care how cute they are!;)
    If you have the means and the area try to make a smaller "holding coop" for your mommas and babies that way the other chickens will not bother them..
    And don't think about taking them away from the momma chicken you will never hear the end of it from the momma and the babies, Momma will take good care of them till they want to hit the water, then momma will pitch big fits!:D
    We had a broody hen adopt already hatched out ducklings and you almost couldn't even get near them!
  5. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

    Thanks Emerald! So many things that I hadn't even thought of! Like making them a small feeder box that only they can get into! Good idea! During the night I'll think about how we could make a smaller holding area separate from the other hens. Might be easier to just wall the rest of the hens to the other side of the coop and leave the Mommas and babies on the end they're on.

    Yeah, those Momma hens really had a fit when we lifted them enough to check on the duckling! Peck, peck, peck!

    There's 5 babies now, under two hens. 3 more eggs to hatch, if they're going to.
  6. GroovyMike

    GroovyMike Well-Known Member

    Emerald has it right. Seperate the hen and chicks from the others. Don't keep them inside. They'll be plenty warm. yes they will fall and they will not be able to get back up. maybe move the nest to the floor? yes they will go through the fence until they get big enough not to fit, then at least one will get stuck trying. Forget the oven idea.

    And yes, the ducks will take to water as soon as they can reach it. The hen will freak out trying to stop her "chicks" from going in the water for fear that they will drown, but the ducks will both float and swim - chickens don't swim at all! Watch out for turtles, they'll pull ducklings under to drown and eat.
  7. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

    All five ducklings made it through the night, and one more hatched this morning!
  8. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

    I'm dying to know! How are the babies? Anymore hatch out and how are the rest doing- driving the momma nuts yet?:D
  9. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

    seven ducklings hatched out! It's funny the difference you can see in the day-olds and the newly hatched! It's like they doubled in size over night!

    Some are a few days old now, and they have already learned how to step into the waterer and play. The Momma herds them around and walks through the dish right behind them and out the other side!

    So far they're doing well. There's one more egg. None have hatched since the night before last, but we'll let the last egg sit a few more days. The other hen is hoarding it underneath her, along with the chicken eggs she tries to keep us from getting!

    The weather has turned hot, just in time!
  10. HozayBuck

    HozayBuck Well-Known Member

    We had a hen take over a nest of everybodys eggs, hatched them and we never did a thing, she took care of them and all 10 made it... the hen knows what to do, just leave her alone and she will do it... it's fun to watch them, one will wonder off and mom makes a sound and man do they run to her...and most hens will fight to the death for their babys... also when she gathers them under her wings next to her body they are as warm as they will ever be...

    Way cute!!! our last bunch of ducks were bought and raised.. they now sleep with the Great Pere at night on the porch, they ain't stupid, they know safe and warm when they see it... of course the porch is a mess and has to be washed down a lot...but...the Lady of the Manor loves her duckies...
  11. Chieftain

    Chieftain Citizen, At Large

    Hey gypsysue, congrats on the baby quackers, and if you need more good "how-to" specifics, I would recommend you take a look at:

    Raising BackYard Chickens, Build a Chicken Coop, Pictures of Breeds

    If it flies, they have someone there who is an absolute expert on any question you may have. The have separate forums set up for each different type of bird and the activities for each; whether it is how to build a proper Bantam chicken coop, or how many square feet a duck house needs for each duck.

    I'll warn you, they have some members who will give you information like taking a sip out of a garden hose so be careful what you ask for, and people ask the same questions over and over endlessly, but they do have some pretty good forums set up for any and all kinds of poultry and fowl and there is a lot of tremendously good information there.

    Check 'em out...