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Ducklings and Chicks, A Newbie questioning themself

Posts: 22
Location: North Woods MN
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My chicks were born on 06/12. All 26 of them are happy and healthy so far, one has developed a crooked beak but is doing well for now. We plan on keeping Crookie for as long as possible. If it turns out that it can't eat I might just hand feed it. It would only take a few months to get to slaughter weight and I'm willing to put in a little extra effort for one bird. And if it turns out to be a girl I'm sure there is some bleeding heart vegan in the city I can dump this poor bird on. I know a few that would jump at the chance to save a chicken.. and if they don't.. well then.. are they truly vegan? lol.. sorry to any vegans I'm pissing off here.

My ducks were born on 06/24. 6 of them arrived here but we lost one the first day. The remaining 5 are vigorous and cute as all get out.

So I've had the ducks right next to the chicks in their own tote in paper with sawdust under it so they don't eat the sawdust. They are on sawdust today for the first time. And I want to make the move so that the chicks and ducklings are all together. How should I do this? Should I put them in there at night? I don't think the chicks are on a nightly sleep schedule really because they are under a light all the time.

Also.. do I really need the heat lamps? It's plenty warm during the day now ranging from 75-80, and 50's at night (Northern MN). And they will huddle for warmth at night right? I'm leaving it on just because I've never had birds and don't want to kill them. So I'm following all the conventional chick wisdom, plus adding some permaculture things, like I've been giving them fresh greens/grass/chunks of sod almost every day.

When should they have their first adventure outside? I have the base of my broiler pen all ready to go. I was thinking of sticking the chicks out in that for a few hours during the day when I can watch them. They are still too small for the electric fence. but I am planing on putting the broiler run in side the electric fence for added protection.. Mostly from dogs at this point. Even my dog was licking her lips watching them today.

So.. In short.

When to go on grass?
When/How to introduce ducklings to the chicks?
Heat Lamps? Need them or not?
Anything it sounds like I'm doing wrong here?

Posts: 946
Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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glad to hear it is coming along successfully Valerie. to answer your specific questions-
1-they can go on grass during the day now. predator protection is your only concern there.
2-ducks and chicks are good to go together right now. no need to fuss over it, they will be fine.
3-chicks should be good without supplemental heat. ducklings probably need another week, although if you can make a nice warm nest for them, like a low ceiling box lined with sheepskin, then they would probably be allright.
4-only other thought is watch that dog of yours. domestic dogs are the biggest killers of poultry IME. dont underestimate how much he/she would love to chew on some little birds. complete distrust is in order at all times.

keep up the good work! it just gets easier from here.
Valerie Acquard
Posts: 22
Location: North Woods MN
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Today the ducks moved from their tote to the larger brooder with all the chicks. The ducks stick together with each other. The ducks seem to know they are the smarter bird. They don't let the chickens bully them at all. They defend each other from the pecking order pecking. No one is hurting each other just establishing ranks I guess. Everyone is doing well still. I would say the ducks are by far the superior being. I thought the chickens would have their way with the ducklings, the ducks seem so much cuter/fuzzier/defenseless, but my opinion was vastly proven wrong. I'm glad.

It's so funny to see 26 chicks scared out of their minds piling in a corner (this was only the first 20 mins or so) all because of 5 fuzzy yellow ducklings. So funny.

I am sold. I don't want anything else to take up my time. My day jobs need to start looking for a replacement....

If animal husbandry can be an addiction, I'm hooked hard.
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