Chicks & ducklings first treats & swim

The chicks and ducklings are two weeks old today, so I gave them a few bits of kale as their first treat.  (It’s generally recommended to stick to the starter feed at first, so they get used to eating that, then slowly introducing small quantities of treats.)

But first, here’s a shot from the chick cam of them exploring the roosting bars. A little surprising that they can reach the upper bar; it’s a long way for a little chick:


Chicks sleeping on the lower bar yesterday afternoon (when the coop was warm enough to not need to be under the heat lamp):


A shot from the duck house cam of a duckling stretching its tiny wings:


Overnight, the chicks snuggled together under the heat lamp:


And ducklings under their lamp:


It took the chicks a few minutes to figure out that the kale was edible. Here’s the first chick to take a treat:

First chick treat

A couple of others chased her; what will become a normal behavior for them:

Chicks chasing

They soon figured out the treats:

Chick treats

A couple checking me out:



Roosting chicks:

Roosting chicks

I also gave kale treats to the ducklings, which they figured out immediately:


Duckling treats

I also temporarily put a paint tray with water in the duck house, so the ducklings could have their first supervised swim:

Duckling first swim

Ducklings don’t have the waterproofing oil when first hatched, so they can get chilled or even drown if left in water. So they can only have short supervised swims from two to five weeks old. Not only is this good training for them and their leg muscles, it helps encourage them to preen, which distributes their oil glands (or so I read; since ducks are a new thing for us, I’ve read guides to raising them; they are similar to chicks, but have some differences).

Why a paint tray? It has a gentle slope, making it easier for ducklings to walk in and out of the water. This tray isn’t ideal, though, as the lip too high for them to easily climb over. So I’ve ordered another from Amazon.

Here a duckling is dipping its bill in the water, which helps clean it:

Duckling swim

Found another treat:


Drinking from the tray:


More wading:


I removed the tray when I left the duck house. We’ll give them brief supervised swims each day till about five weeks old. After that, the tray will be left in there until they are old enough to go outside, once they are fully feathered, which might be around eight weeks old.

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