Welcome back to our series of posts to help you get ready BEFORE your ducklings and goslings arrive!
To read our post on the brooder and bedding, go to Getting Ready for Your Ducklings and Goslings: Brooder and Bedding.
To read our post on water and waterers, go to Getting Ready for Your Ducklings and Goslings: Water and Waterer.
To read our post on feed and feeders, go to Getting Ready for Your Ducklings and Goslings: Feed and Feeder.
Heating and Heating Lamp
Ducklings and goslings are vulnerable after hatching and require a source of heat for a period of time. Originally, this was mama duck's job, but as there is no mama duck, you will have to find another source of heat.
Heat lamps are the easiest and most common way of heating your brooder. Here on the farm we use and offer heat lamps with 150 watt bulbs. The hood is aluminum and has a ceramic setting. If you want to find your own bulb, we recommend finding a clear white bulb. You can use a red bulb (infrared), but those are used primarily for chicks to prevent cannibalism which is rarely seen in ducklings.
Heat lamps can be hung using chains from the ceiling or clamped onto a wall of the brooder. Temperature is controlled by lowering and raising the lamp. In the picture above, we have cut out notches in an aluminum flat bar and attached them to heat lamps to easily move them up and down.
We typically suggest starting at 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit under the heat lamp, but if you live in a warm area you may only need to turn on the lamp at night. It typically takes about a month or so for ducklings and goslings to start growing in their feathers. You can normally shut off supplemental heat within two to three weeks.
Make sure the heat source is off to the side so that they can leave the heat to cool off if they want. The important thing is to observe them. If they start huddling, you know they need more heat. If they stay away from the heat lamp, you can raise or remove it. If they start panting, then they are too warm and you can remove the heat lamp.
In order to know the temperature of your brooder, we suggest using a thermometer like the one we offer.
Heat lamps can be a fire hazard if improperly handled.
If you decide a heat lamp is not for you, you can try a BrinseaEcoGlow Brooder. They make two sizes and Brinsea claims they are safer as they use 12 volt power for heating.
For those with no electricity, hot water bottles covered by towels are an effective alternative. Just be sure to switch out the water as the bottles cool, especially during the night.
We encourage you to get creative. There are many different ways of setting up your heat source.
What setup do you use?