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.

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