chicks,geese & ducks...brooding together : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

In about two weeks, I will be getting 4 ducks, 4 geese and 10 chicks. Can I brood them together? Do they need different foods? I have always used chick starter, but someone mentioned ducks can't have medicated feed? Never raised geese before.......

-- Sue (, April 03, 2002


Ducks and geese are very messy with the water and while they won't mind if the bedding is soggy between changes, the chicks won't like it. Ducks and geese will rapidly outgrow the chicks and start walking over them. I have always feed ducks and geese on the starter and grower I've bought for the chicks with out any problems. Don't introduce the ducks and geese to swimming until about 5 or 6 weeks old, and for short periods of time and don't leave them alone. They will consider you their mama and won't want to be left alone until much older anyway. Good luck!

-- Leslie Rigley (, April 03, 2002.

Leslie is right about the water, be careful about that. However you need a good book on waterfowl. Be careful about feeding them anything with antibiotics, it is often a disaster with waterfowl. And they need lots of snipped greens in the water. Waterfowl require higher Niacin content than chicks. For Ducks, the book by Dave Holerread is the best and cheapest "Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks", he also has one on geese, I cannot rate that one for you, I don't keep geese. Learn about them and you will enjoy them all the more. Re keeping them together, No. As mentioned above, the geese will grow very fast and will make quite a mess as will the ducks unless you set up just for them. If you will cruise the archives you will find many ideas on keeping waterfowl dry, warm and healthy with the least amount of care. Have fun, LQ

-- Little Quacker (, April 03, 2002.

The problem with brooding all 3 breeds together is one of pecking order. The larger will probably start pecking on the smaller ones immediately. Once they start on one baby, they'll all gang up on it, and it won't last very long.

Bedding for any kind of young fowl, water or otherwise, MUST be kept as dry as possible. Ducklings and goslings will mind it because wet bedding means cold!, period. Ducklings especially are prone to becoming cold (actually, hypothermic) very quickly. Hay should not be used as bedding for these critters. Wet hay becomes moldy, and that mold will kill the ducklings, possibly the geese too. Even adult waterfowl are prone to hypothermia any time.....geese probably a little less because they are larger.

Although most of us like to not feed chicken crumbles with antibiotics, ducklings and goslings love the stuff. The danger comes from getting an overdose of antibiotics. However, they should always have fresh, clean water available, and a variety of foods in their diets minimizes that danger. I had one duckling who wouldn't even touch the crumbles without antibiotics. It's a good thing the goat and pig liked them......

I have 2 tots in the tub right now - just about 3 weeks old. They've been introduced to water - warmer than tepid, and they love their baths. They have been and continue on cracked corn, which is easier for them to eat if it's in a bowl with a small amount of water, and they've been introduced to cooked rice and canned peas. They like romaine lettuce, but it's still a little hard for them to eat it. Next on the menu is canned green beans when they can swallow them better. My ducklings are never left alone in the water - they can drown until they're almost adults....

-- V (, April 03, 2002.

Just wanted to say sorry about this post. I checked "poultry" and then looked for "waterfowl" with no results. Unfortunately the duck and geese categories didn't jump out and smack me in the head.....severe blond moment! :)

-- Sue (, April 03, 2002.

Give the geese to a relative you don't like!

-- Emil in TN (, April 03, 2002.

Amen Emil!

No on the chick starter with antibiotics - ducks and geese eat and eat and eat (and poop and poop and poop) and they will overdose on the medication in the feed.

They will make a disasterous mess out of everything - bedding, water, feed, each other - but they are hilarious to watch while they are doing it.

No on letting the little water guys get wet until they are feathered out. When their mother is brooding them they are constantly under her and her wings so they get covered with ducky waterproofing oil compliments of mom. Without mom's help they are not waterproof (until they feather out and start producing their own grease) , and water does not roll off their back's - they get cold and waterlogged and can die or drown.

DOUBLE no to letting them imprint on you. A happy duck is a duck that knows its a duck and even though it sounds fun to have a duck follow you around and think you are his mommy it's not. You might as well start carrying the hose with you everwhere you go because he will leave a trail of poop, poop, poop,poop...... You'll go crazy! On the deck, on the drive, on the picnic table bench, in your garden shoes, and across the carpet if he gets in the door. And if it's the goose that imprints on you ..well you might as well head for the hills. A goose poops like a dog... three hundred and seventy eight million times a day. Take it from me, I am experienced in the "imprinted on me goose poop department". Just thought you'd want to know.

Sara Perry , Vashon Island, WA

-- Sara Perry (, April 04, 2002.

Re: ducklings and water, my ducklings are in the house. It's still getting below freezing here at night! The first few times they were in an inch or so of water, and they were dried off with towels. At 3 weeks, they're grooming includes oiling.

Re: imprinting. I lost one of the first pair of ducklings I got. The remaining one, a mallard female, was inconsolable for 3 days/nights - worse than having a new puppy crying all night. She imprinted on me - and I was delighted. What a wonderful experience. She spent most of the winter in the house with us - 2 cats, 3 dogs, 2 humans. She pretty much trained herself to poop on newspaper, too. When it finally warmed up, she went outside, into our backyard pen.

She eventually merged with the other pair of geese and mallards we had. She's still out there - still talks to me. And she bosses the rest of them around!

Believe me, she KNOWS she's a duck!

-- V (, April 04, 2002.

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