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When can ducks go outside? Everyone wants to know when ducks step foot outside. Ducks love outdoors, bathing in the sunshine, swimming in the pond. How long can you deprive them of that? When is it safe for ducks to go out? We know you have been looking to find some answers, you have landed yourself at the right place.
As a pet owner, we understand, you are desperate for your ducks to explore the outdoors. Trust us, little patience goes a long way, it is mandatory to allow them to go outside when not only is it safer for them but also they are prepared. As beautiful as they are, ducklings create quite a mess. One of the reasons pet owners want them outside soon enough is because they can be quite messy.
Letting them out prematurely would only bring trouble. With little knowledge of the outside world and the dangers lurking in the dark, their life is surely at risk.
You have to assess different situations and ask yourself some questions, is the living environment suitable for them to move freely? Can they defend themselves from the predators?
Ducks are aquatic birds known as Waterfowl. Being social creatures, ducks like to live, swim, roost, and forage in groups called flocks. Ducks spend their days outside even nights if the temperature is favorable. Ducks are not meant to live indoors, it will just make them cranky and rude. After a certain age, they can live and move outside permanently.
When Can Ducks Go Outside?
Ducks can move outside when they are 3 to 4 weeks old only if the living environment is safer and they can protect themselves from predators. It is your responsibility to make sure that the ducklings can survive on their own before moving them out.
According to Research, the Living environment and duckling’s condition play an important factor in deciding the time as to when they can move outside. They should be fully feathered before going outside permanently. If the ducks would also be spending the nights out, the nighttime temperature should not be lower than 50° F.
Getting them out prematurely often comes at a price, the price being their life. It is up to you to make sure that their needs and requirements are met and provided with a safe living condition.
When Can Ducklings Stay Outside?
When ducklings reach 3-5 weeks of age, they can spend warm, sunny days outside under careful supervision. This decision of moving ducklings out is also weather-dependent, too cold or too hot weather can be a deal-breaker.
Ducks are fully feathered at the age of 6th-7th week and quite mature by then, it is ideal to leave them out then as they no longer have trouble regulating their body temperature.
Can Ducks Sleep Outside?
They can if they are old enough and ducks quite love it. Ducks like to be outside and love to roost like chickens. If the weather is not freezing cold and it is safe, ducks can stay out all night long. Wild ducks sleep up in the trees whereas it is not safer for the pet ducks to be out without a pen or a shelter.
Pet ducks do not know how to protect themselves therefore, it is better to keep them caged at night. Wild ducks are adapted to the harsh living environment and know some tricks to save themselves from predators. Wild ducks can sleep outside however, to say the same for pet ducks, it would be troublesome.
Can Four Weeks Old Ducks be Outside?
As long as the temperature is not below 50° F, ducks can move out when 4 weeks old. However, they lose baby fluff and be feathered out at the age of 6-8 weeks, that is when it is safer for them to move outside permanently. By 6 or 7 weeks, they can forage and swim in the pool without drowning. (Source)
Factors to Consider Before Letting the Ducklings Stay Out
You can not just let the ducks stay out, especially when they are not physically strong to tolerate temperature variations and protect themselves from the predators. The following factors should be considered before making a decision to let the ducks stay outside.
Ducklings with baby fluff can not stay outside as they can not regulate body temperature. They need heat and warm protection till their feather arrive. Ducklings with baby fluff likely to get cold, therefore, should be kept inside. The ideal temperature for ducklings should be 50 degrees or higher.
As the ducklings need heat during the first few weeks, especially in the first week the temperature inside the brooder stands at 90 degrees. When the ducklings enter the second week, the temperature inside the brooder is lowered by one degree each day to match the temperature outside the brooder.
As it is established earlier, ducklings can not stay out if the temperature is under 50 degrees, however, once the temperature inside and outside the brooder is at the same level, they can be shifted to a safe location outside. Ducklings can only move to a specific location or a predator-proof shelter outside.
Ducklings can spend warm winter days outside when they become 3-5 weeks old provided they are carefully supervised and adequately protected. (Source)
When the ducklings are older than 4 weeks or become fully feathered, they can move outside permanently.
Ability to Drink Water
Ducklings born naturally possess oil glands to coat and waterproof their feathers which prevents them from drowning. However, ducklings hatched in an incubator lack oil glands and therefore at the risk of drowning or becoming waterlogged.
Ducklings can create quite a mess, therefore use a shallow bowl of water so that they do not trip, fall into the bowl, and drown. What could be a more clear indicator than ducklings’ ability to drink water, if they have trouble drinking water, it is clear they are not ready to be kept outside.
Ability to Swim
When ducklings are 3-4 weeks old, they should only be allowed to go on short, carefully supervised swims. Fill a plastic tub with water and allow them to swim and splash around in it. Once done, return them to the brooder so they do not get too cold.
Ducks will likely go for a swim in the pond once they are staying out, the love for water is in their DNA. Make sure they can swim beforehand to avoid the risk of drowning. Unless you are confident that they can swim, only then they should be going out. Read more about ducks that can swim underwater.
Shelter & Living Space
Before they move outside, it is your responsibility to build them a suitable shelter that protects them from predators, inclement weather, and heat. A weather-proof shelter with windows and good ventilation should be in place to prevent any unfortunate incident.
½ square foot of floor space is required for 2 weeks old ducklings and 1 square foot for a one-month-old duck. They need a spacious living room both inside and outside to not be cramped all the time.
In a nutshell, ducks can go out at the age of 3-5 weeks but under strict supervision. They are still young and exploring the surroundings, therefore, should not be left alone to fall prey. In the right living environment, ducklings will stay happy both inside and outside the brooder.