PREPARING FOR YOUR ORDER:
- Brooder Space/Heat: Day old poultry should be started in a proper space such a barn, out-building, basement, poultry coop or garage. It is important to make sure your brooder space is clean and disinfected prior to using it, especially if poultry have been kept there before. Whether you have them on bedding or on a wire floor, there should be some type of solid wall or partition around them to prevent drafts. Make sure dogs, cats and rodents are kept out. Initially each baby duckling or gosling needs about 1/3 square foot of pen space. What works best for larger areas is a brooder ring of cardboard 18 inches high with a heat lamp hung over the center of the area. Doing a ring/circle will not leave any square corners for baby poultry to pile in the corners and keeping them from wondering off too far from the heat and food source. Hang the lamp about 18 inches above the floor at first. A thermometer placed on the floor should read 95 degrees directly under the lamp/heat source. Raise the lamp every 3-4 days to gradually decrease the heat level to 90-85 degrees.
- Bedding: Use 2 to 4 inches of dry litter, such as pine wood shavings, chopped straw or other appropriate bedding. Do not use newspaper or other slick material, this can cause legs to slip out from underneath them and cause serious leg problems. We also don't advise using cedar chips, treated shavings, large thick wood chips or dusty sawdust as bedding.
- Water: Make sure you provide plenty of containers of water based on amount of poultry. Provide room temperature water. Wash & clean the containers every few days. We recommend adding our Streseez Plus (1 teaspoon per three gallons of water) to their drinking water.
- Feed: Use NON MEDICATED FEED for Ducks and Goslings. Use a good starter feed, (ask your local feed dealer) then switch to a grower feed.
FIRST DAY INSTRUCTIONS:
Arrival: The post office should notify you when your order arrives and will ask you to pick them up. We suggest notifying your post office to let them know you are expecting an order of live animals. After arrival introduce room temperature water first, this is the most important nutrient after being in transit.
Sexed Birds: If you ordered sexed birds there will be a colored rubber band on the leg to distinguish the sex and breed. Once you have determined what the breed and sex is by that band please remove it off the leg. The description of the band color will be on the back of delivery slip.
REMEMBER….Baby poultry may carry germs that can make people very sick. Avoid contaminating human food and always wash your hands after caring for them.
WATCH THE BEHAVIOR: The best way to judge comfort of the birds is to watch them. When they are cold they will be loud and huddle close together, if comfortable they will be reasonably quiet. If they are huddled to one side there is a draft moving the heat to that direction. If they are staying away from the lamp, the lamp is too low or it’s too warm in the room. Huddling closely under the lamp indicates they need more heat. If they are spread out throughout the pen drinking, eating and sleeping you have a perfect living space.
One heat lamp can handle about 35 ducklings, 20 goslings.
0-1 week old 90-95º F
1-2 week old 85-90º F
2-3 week old 80-85º F
3-4 week old 75-80º F
4-5 week old 70-75º F
5-6 week old you can start weaning from heat lamp (above 65º F)
Normally brooder temperature can be dropped about 5 degrees a week and can be turned off during the day by 2-3 weeks of age unless you live in cooler weather areas then by 3-5 weeks of age eventually weaning them off the extra heat completely. If raising them in warmer weather, heat may only be needed for a couple of weeks. You’ll have to determine by their age and permitting weather to allow them to go outdoors for brief periods of time during the day. Once they are fully feathered around 7 to 9 weeks of age staying outdoors all the time will be perfectly fine but they should have a shelter to protect them from too much sun and heavy rains.
As They Grow: Young poultry (especially waterfowl) grow very fast you will need to enlarge their pen as they grow and keep up with clean bedding as necessary.
Water Area: Waterfowl are messy with their water and for this it is best to make a wire platform on which the waterer can sit on. With using a platform set up, any spilled water goes through the wire and out of reach. They cannot track it back to the bedding or make a mud puddle with it. Their drinking water stays cleaner plus their pen or pasture also stays dry.
Little ones can be on 1/2" hardware cloth placed over a pan for the babies. The platform should be large enough to extend at least 6" out from the edge of the waterer for the babies.
Adults can be 1" welded wire nailed on to wood cross pieces. This can be placed over a pit in the ground for the adults. The platform should be large enough to extend at least 30" out from the edge of the waterer for adults.
Swimming: You can carefully introduce water to ducklings and goslings as early as one week. They must be able to walk in and out of the water very easily. The water should not be too cold and they must be able to find their heat lamp for rewarming. They do not have oil on their feathers at this age, so they cannot be in the water for long periods or they will become waterlogged and chilled. Exposure to water speeds the development of their oil gland allowing them to be swimming freely by five or six weeks of age.