Pekin ducks are among the most popular pet ducks. These ducks have been completely domesticated and are friendly and highly intelligent. Though they are white with yellow bills as adults, ducklings are yellow and fluffy. They tend to grow more rapidly than other species of ducks, so owners of ducklings should be prepared to house and care for the adults when they are larger.
How to Raise Pekin Ducks From Ducklings
Place the ducklings in an enclosure that is large enough for them to walk around and explore. Large boxes, toy chests and large plastic storage bins all work well. Aquariums and rodent enclosures are not appropriate for ducks.
Provide the ducks with a small, shallow bowl of water that is not deep enough in which to drown and not large enough in which to swim. Ducklings should not be provided with access to swimming water. Their feathers are not developed enough yet to swim and they may even drown.
Cover the bottom of the cage with an absorbent litter; 4 to 5 inches of non-toxic cat litter, shredded newspaper or absorbent rodent litter. Ducklings can't be potty trained so will quickly make a mess in a cage. Pekins dislike humidity and moisture, so it's important to provide adequate litter to keep the cage dry.
Use a small heat lamp to provide adequate heat. The temperature in the duck enclosure should be slightly higher than room temperature — approximately 78-80 degrees. Avoid using heating pads because ducklings can burn themselves. If the ducks are too hot they will move away from the heat light and if they are too cold they will huddle together underneath it. Use your ducklings' behavior as your heating guide.
Feed the ducks a commercial feed made for ducklings. Avoid feeding them food meant for adult ducks. Duck food can be purchased at farm stores, some home and garden shops and some pet stores. If you can't find duck food, chick food is an acceptable substitute.
Socialize your ducks to human contact. To do this, hand-feed your ducks and play with them daily. Pekin ducks have sensitive feet, so avoid touching their feet and be careful not to pinch them when holding them.
Take your ducks out of their enclosure daily. Ducks need exercise and exposure to sunlight. Carefully supervise them when you are outside with them.
Build a duck enclosure for your ducklings to live in when they become adults that offers protection from the elements and predators. Suggestions for an adult duck enclosure are included in the Resource section.