Brooders for Waterfowl

| 4/8/2016 10:04:00 AM

Tags: raising livestock, homestead planning, ducks, geese, poultry, baby animals, brooders, KirstenLie Nielsen, Maine,


If you’re thinking about getting waterfowl for your farm, remember that a brooder for ducklings or goslings has to be set up with their particular needs in mind. Young waterfowl are more resilient than baby chicks, but they are still delicate creatures that need special attention.

A waterfowl brooder should be kept between 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit for the first week of your bird’s lives, and gradually decrease by approximately 10 degrees per week until it is the same as the outside temperature. Ducklings or goslings huddled together and peeping constantly are probably cold, while warm birds will stay far apart in the brooder and may pant with their beaks open. Pay close attention to your birds and you will be sure to notice if they seem uncomfortable.


A brooder can be kept warm, like a chick brooder, with a heat lamp or a regular light with a high watt bulb. It is best to keep a thermometer in the brooder so you have an accurate idea of the temperatures your birds are under. Heat lamps are encouraged because the red light is said to be more soothing to birds than harsher white light, but any heating element should be monitored carefully to ensure there is no risk of fire.

The key to healthy waterfowl is plenty of water. Baby ducks and geese need water to swallow their food, or they will choke to death. Use a traditional plastic chick waterer that will allow them to immerse their bills without being able to splash around or poop in the water. A wet gosling doesn’t have the ability to seal their feathers as an adult goose would, and can easily catch a chill. In nature, their mother would warm them, but in a brooder open water is not recommended.

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