Taking care of your newly hatched chicks or ducklings that you have rented should be a fun adventure....don't stress out! Important when you arrive home is to get THE SETUP - setup. Check out the video that is on our website, or read the instructions below. After you get your temperature adjusted to the correct temperature with 1" of bedding in the bottom of the tub, place the chicks or ducklings in the plastic container with some food and water and LEAVE THEM ALONE for about 2 hours to let them get adjusted to their new home. When starting out with your new pet, I suggest you sit on the floor when holding them. The ducklings will probably like to walk around rather than be held.
This is the housing that is necessary for the newly hatched chicks or ducklings that you are renting. Important is to pick a spot that is away from drafts, other household pets and direct sunlight. You will need a plastic tub. I use a 56 quart container. The size and depth work well for this application. Next is a clamp on light fixture. This should be clamped onto something sturdy like a table leg allowing it to be moved up or down as needed. The light bulb to be used is an old style incandescent bulb, not an LED or Heat Lamp. I use a 60 watt bulb. Put about 1 inch of bedding in the tub and turn on the light. Set the thermometer under the lamp with the lid of the container placed cockeyed on the tub. That is to keep the heat in. The desired temperature for the chicks is 90-95 degrees. The duckling temperature can start at 90 degrees.
Make sure the light stays on all the time. That is their heat source. Food and water needs to be available all the time. Fill the food twice a day. Change and fill the water also twice a day. The ducklings will need more water available to them. Do not give them food without the water.
The chicks don't make as much of a mess and so add a little more bedding to the container about every other day to cover the poops.
The ducklings will need to have additional bedding added daily.
There isn't enough bedding provided for you to totally change out the bedding.
The temperature can be lowered for the chicks to 85-90 degrees. Just raise the clamp on fixture slightly. They might be starting to jump out. Ideas others have used if it is an issue, try putting screen over the plastic tub.
The temperature can be lowered to 80 for the ducklings. They can swim in your bathtub if you would like. Important is to have the level of the water only as deep as they are so they will be able to stand up. Make sure to dry them off when done.
Pasty butt or chick pasting up is a common reason for a sick baby chick, most often caused by stress or not enough clean water provided. This is a condition where droppings stick to a chick's vent area, preventing excretion of waste. The condition is easily treated and recovery can be quick if action is taken promptly.
If manure is dry and cemented to the down, use a cotton swab and apply a small amount of vegetable oil to help soften the mass. Once the mass is softened, use warm water to gently work the mass from the chick. Be gentle; it is very easy to pull off feathers and skin if you are not patient and gentle. Then use a clean, soft towel to dry off. Keeping the chicks warm is important because young chicks are not quite able to regulate their body temperature and are at a high risk of chill when wet.