Basic Duckling Care

sweet duckling

Can you believe it? Easter is right around the corner! This is usually around the time where people begin to buy precious baby ducklings or chicks! I’m excited because this year we have our ducklings. I thought it would be the perfect time to provide you with basic information on how to care for these animals.

Ducks are so cute and super fun to have as pets, but they do require lots of special care. One rule of thumb when deciding to take on the responsibility of adding another precious little life into my family is making sure I can properly care for it.

I would never recommend buying a duckling just because it’s cute. The hard truth is THEY DO GROW UP, and fast! It’s important to give them the proper care they need and to provide the right living conditions for them to grow healthy and strong. 

holding a duck
What you’ll need

When baby ducklings are first born they should be kept inside in a warm shelter for the first two weeks. My husband and I will usually purchase a large rubber tub, metal tub, or a heavy-duty plastic one. I also make a cover for the top of the tub so they stay safe. If you have any pets you’ll definitely need to cover them. This enclosure is where they will spend the majority of their time.

The main responsibilities you’ll have are keeping the tub tidy along with providing them food and water. Ducklings need special food. This food is called duck crumble and is something you can purchase at a local feed store.  I always make sure that my babies have access to clean food and water at all times.  I usually refill their food and water both in the morning and in the evening before bedtime. For bedding, I use shavings and then transition to hay as they get older. Make sure to change out their bedding at least once a day because ducklings love to play in the water and usually get their bedding wet. 

duckling setup

Another important device to have is a heat lamp. You can purchase one on Amazon or at a local feed store. The heat lamp needs to be on at all times when they’re young, at least 90 degrees. As they grow older you can turn it off during the day, and then completely off when they’re full grown.  The required care for ducklings depends on the age and whether they’re inside or outside. I usually keep our babies inside the house and when they get a little older we transition them outside into our barn.

Moving ducks outdoors

When the ducks are four to five weeks old, I move them into an outdoor enclosure that is fenced in during the day. They can get some fresh air and sunlight. In the fenced-in enclosure we have a kiddy pool and access to patches of fresh grass in our yard. They also need room to move around so make sure there is enough space for them to run around and get some exercise! Do not let ducklings outside of the enclosure, they could get lost. It’s best to wait until they’re full-grown and familiar with their surroundings to let them wander around. Ducklings are really friendly, so be sure to take them out to play with you! They love to follow me around in the house when they’re babies, and once they get older and more comfortable with their environment, they follow me and play we with them outside. 

sweet baby duckling with a duck toy
Learning to Swim

Swimming water is very important in duckling care. Watching ducklings swim for the first time is one of the cutest things to experience! My family has so much fun watching them learn how to swim. I usually start them off with a kiddy pool. I put a small amount of water and some rocks in there so that they can hop on and off, just enough to get their feet wet. Then as they get older, I add more water and watch them dive down and splash around. In the summer on our porch, I set up their pool and have playtime with them so they can socialize. They bring my heart so much joy and the kids get such a kick out of them. 

a handful of two ducklings
More Resources

I’ve included some other resources that provide helpful information with further duckling care. I recommend checking out Tractor Supply, Fresh Eggs Daily, Life is just Ducky, and Country Side Daily. There are excellent examples within the links for set up and care. However, if you are thinking of bringing ducklings home, be sure to provide food, water, a fresh bed, and a heat source! I hope you find that ducklings are the right fit for you and your family! They can be a lot of work but they certainly bring a lot of joy and it’s so fun to watch them grow. 

duckling in a sorbet bowl

Pin this idea for later!

duckling care
basic duckling care
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *