We love duck eggs. So much, that when talking over when to get chicks this spring, we decided to get ducklings instead!
We settled on Silver Welsh Harlequins because of their multi purpose use. They are moderately good layers, we should see around 175-250 per year depending on how we use lighting in their house. They dress out as good meat birds, are excellent foragers, and run on the calmer side of the duck temperament spectrum.
Since it’s just two of us for now, we were only looking for 4-6 ducklings, but in searching Craigslist, I found a lady local who was selling a batch of 7 who were already 7 weeks old. We instantly jumped on that deal, as having a local source for info seemed a good idea. The owner was very nice, gave us extra feed with our ducklings, sold us some eggs, and said to call her with any questions. Score!
We brought them home, but soon realized that our box was WAY too small for them. So we hurried to fix up the old Chicken brooder house that was in bad need of patching. One day of hard work and it was pretty well good, except two windows so badly broken they needed replaced.
With how unseasonably cold it is here, I was worried about them staying warm, so I took two old shower stall doors and propped them into the corners to make a much smaller enclosure, tied our heat lamp securely to one of the roosting shelves, directing the heat down into the smaller pen. This worked well to give them a warm cozy spot to gather. I covered the windows with several layers of frosty plastic, and we bedded them deeply with straw, about 8″ to start, and I would toss another couple inches fresh morning and night.
That evening, while vising my BIL, we mentioned that we were going to look for plexi glass to use in the windows rather than replacing them with glass pane. He offered us a piece large enough for both windows in exchange for demolishing the old potting shed it was covering. Score! So, Tuesday evening we headed over and took it apart, and yesterday I took the plexi down to our local Ace Hardware and they cut it to measurement for me. It’s worked wonderfully.
In my next post, I’ll share how we are managing water in the shed, and attempting to practice deep bedding.