Ducks - Mallards

Young ducklings

  • Keep ducklings warm at 35°C by using a lamp or heat pad. Once the ducklings are 3 weeks old reduce the temperature to 24°C.

  • Ducklings do best when they have a buddy of the same age. A mirror and teddy can be helpful when there are no buddies available. Single ducklings often imprint.

  • House ducklings in a plastic container with a towel in the bottom. Use a wire lid or make a hole in a plastic container lid and put in window screen lining.

  • Ducklings are messy!

Fledgling ducklings

  • House fledgling ducklings in groups of approximately the same age.

  • A rabbit hutch with no floor/wire in the outdoor part is a great way to introduce ducklings to the grass and the outdoors. A lamp or heat pad should still be provided for warmth in the shelter part of the hutch.

  • If the weather is cold, bring the ducklings inside at night.

  • Wait until ducklings are older before introducing them to water. Young ducklings aren't waterproof. As the ducklings get older use a water spray bottle to introduce them to water and to check that they're waterproof. The water should bead off their feathers when they're waterproof. A shallow water container can then be introduced.

Duckling food

  • Ideally feed ducklings a duck specific food i.e. duck starter, from a pet store. Unfortunately, this is not always available. Chook Manor's Game Crumble is a good option.

  • Chicken starter mash or crumble can be used, although try and find a non-medicated feed. Don't use chicken layer mash as it's too high in calcium.

  • Mix feed well with water, so the feed is floating. Add greens, e.g. chopped grass, duckweed, watercress and/or chopped romaine (not iceburg) lettuce.

  • Place large stones in the food dishes, so that they aren't easily tipped.

  • Also place large stones in the water containers so they can't tip the container or go for a swim before they're waterproofed.

Mallard food in the wild

Mallards eat plant material - seeds, grains, grasses and aquatic plants. When available, they also eat insects, snails, worms and other invertebrates.

South Island Wildlife Hospital logo
South Island
Wildlife Hospital

022 106 0170

60 Hussey Road, Northwood

Christchurch 8051

New Zealand

  • Facebook - White Circle

© 2018 Wildlife Veterinary Trust