Monday, June 15, 2015

brooder

i spent most of yesterday setting up the brooder and getting feeders, waterers, and feed prepared for the ducklings' arrival, which could be as soon as tomorrow morning.  i had originally set up the brooder in the greenhouse but after monitoring the temperature for about 24 hrs i've decided to bring the brooder into the house where the temperature fluctuations are less extreme.


ducklings are a fair bit splashier than chicks so in the hopes of keeping the brooder from becoming a pond i wrapped some hardware cloth around a paint tray to make a platform for the waterers and to catch the spillage and splashage that will inevitably occur.


to keep the brooder warm i'm using a ceramic heat bulb.  this is the first time i've used this type of bulb.  in the past i've used light-emitting heat bulbs but i was always a little disturbed that because it was always light in the brooder the birds were awake for much of the night.  ceramic bulbs don't emit any light so the ducklings should develop a normal sleep/wake cycle.  and they won't keep us awake at night.


most starter feeds are medicated so i decided to mix feed for the ducklings myself rather than buying a commercial feed.  i had great success mixing feed for the chicks i've raised and our hens are doing well on the feed i mix for them.  i soak grains to make them more digestible and add in goodies like kelp and fish meal to make sure they're getting the nutrition they need.  there are always fresh greens available from the gardens too.  because ducks need more niacin than other fowl the ducklings will be getting brewers yeast, a natural source of niacin and other vitamins and minerals, in their rations to make sure they get what they need to be healthy. 


now all we need are the ducks.