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7 Things Your Ducklings Must Have at Night (Including Water)

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Ducklings are cute and tender, so you must provide everything that you can to make them feel secure. These young ducks are easy to care for, you just need to make sure that they get everything that they need, especially at night when you cannot give them much attention.

What should you give your ducklings at night to make them safe and comfortable? Continue reading this article to learn seven things your ducklings must have at night.

What Must Your Ducklings Have at Night?

Ducklings, especially the very young ones, need constant quality feed and clean water so that they never go hungry. They also need to be comfortable while they sleep. How can you achieve this?

Here are the most important things to give your ducklings at night:

1. Water

different color of ducklings drink water from an iron trough

Make sure that your ducklings have clean and fresh water. Ducklings, especially when young, should not go thirsty for long.

Dehydration is harmful to ducklings, so you want to provide them with enough water, always.

Remember that your ducklings can get dehydrated quickly because a heat lamp is switched on and there is most likely feed in the brooder box.

Before you leave your ducklings to sleep at night, wash or rinse the water container thoroughly before adding clean water.

Please be sure to keep the water shallow and away from the sleeping area of your ducklings so that they do not play with or drown in the water. Keep the water in a safe spot, especially when night approaches.

2. Feed

two young ducklings feeding from a wooden feeder in the farm

Of course, ensure that your ducklings have a steady supply of feed if you want them to grow healthy and strong. There are so many types of feed for ducklings, but some examples that you can give them at night are:

  • Mash: Your duckling feed should have a minimum of 21% crude protein. Also, make sure that it is always clean.
  • Seeds: Seeds such as chia and sunflower seeds are rich in protein. These seeds are therefore healthy and suitable for your ducklings. However, make sure that mash is also readily available.

As treats, you can serve some of the following to your ducklings at night:

  • Vegetables: You can leave some lettuce or cabbage leaves for your ducklings to peck on whenever they want.
  • Grains: While grains are seeds, they mostly contain carbohydrates. Ducklings need more proteins, so give them grains as treats for now.
  • Insect treats: Give your ducklings little mealworms and other insect larvae that you can find in feed mills. Natural feeds make ducklings hardy and happy.

As your ducklings get older, you can give them other types of treats such as fruits and bread.

3. Secure Shelter

Muscovy duck mother with ducklings in the shelter

You do not want your ducklings to just feel safe; you also want them to be safe. If the brooder box or sleeping area of your ducklings is far from your sight, ensure that it is protected.

If there are duckling predators such as raccoons, foxes, and cats in your area, use a wire mesh or whatever you can make use of to protect the brooder box.

Aside from predators, protect your ducklings from wind drafts and other factors that can make them feel uncomfortable in the box at night. Just make sure that you are fully in control of everything that can enter or leave the brooder box.

4. Source of Heat

little ducklings in the cage under heat lamp

When ducklings are in their first week, they need 98° Fahrenheit in their brooder box. As they mature into the next week, reduce the temperature by 5° Fahrenheit. Continue reducing the temperature weekly until you reach room temperature.

When your ducklings still need extra heat, make sure that they get the right temperature in their brooder box. You can make use of a heat lamp to increase the temperature.

If you are raising ducklings during the winter, make sure that the heat lamp does not go off, even during the day.

Keep your ducklings warm throughout the winter, both day and night.

5. Bedding

group of little ducklings sitting on straw in wooden box

Your ducklings are still at their tender age, so make sure that they have comfortable bedding.

In the first week, you can use paper towels as their bedding. As your ducklings progress to week 2 or 3, you can use wood shavings, straw, or shredded paper in their enclosure.

By then, your ducklings will know that bedding is not food that they should eat.

Your ducklings are still very young, so it’s important to change their bedding two or more times daily, especially before you leave them at night.

Ensure that they sleep in clean bedding at night and remember to change the bedding (if it is messy) in the morning.

6. Other Ducklings

little ducklings at night in their cage on the grass

It is not a great idea to raise a lone duck. Ducklings that grow without seeing other ducks or ducklings become less active and hardy. You do not want this to happen.

At night, the presence of other ducklings can make your ducklings feel secure, stay happy, and calm.

If you happen to have only one duckling, the duckling should not be too far from you at night. It should also feel your presence so that it can feel safe.

7. Regular Checkups

portrait of happy woman veterinarian with duckling on poultry farm

In their first week after hatching, pay close attention to your ducklings. While you cannot look at them every second of the night, try to check them sometimes at night.

When performing your regular checkups, inspect the following:

  • Feed: Check if the feed is depleted or messy. Make sure that your ducklings always have clean feed.
  • Water: If the water is messy, change it. If ducklings are playing in the water, remove them.
  • Temperature: Use a thermometer to check that the temperature inside the brooder box is right for your ducklings according to their age.
  • The behavior of your ducklings: If your ducklings are not comfortable, you will know from their sound and behavior. At night, most of them should be calm or sleeping.

If everything is all right, you can be sure that you’ve done a great job and that your ducklings are safe and comfortable at night.

Frequently Asked Questions

three little ducklings drinking water from a can in the farm

How Long Can a Duckling Go Without Water?

The younger your ducklings are more susceptible to the effects of harsh environmental factors. Factors such as heat, cold, dehydration, and hunger quickly affect tender ducklings, so you want to do anything you can to keep your ducklings safe.

This is why giving water and feed to your ducklings at night is very important, especially when the ducklings are still very young.

Do not allow your ducklings to be thirsty for very long (unless recommended by the vet).

If you must remove the sources of water from your duckling’s brooder box, make sure that your ducklings are mature enough, at least 4-6 weeks of age.

However, if you can, please make sure that your ducklings always have access to clean water (even when they have grown).

top view of a kid feeding ducklings with dries straw on the background

Do Ducklings Always Need Feed at Night?

When your ducklings are still at a tender age, make sure that they have access to food, always! Their food should be protein-rich so that they can grow quickly.

However, when your ducklings are over 6 weeks of age, you can start reducing or removing their feed at night. You can stop giving your ducklings feed at night when they can comfortably sleep at room temperature.

This means that when your ducklings do not need a heat lamp anymore (so long as it’s not winter), you can choose not to give them feed at night if you want.

Just remember to give them food in the morning so that they do not stay hungry in the morning.

ducklings with mimosa flowers

Do Ducklings Need Feather Dusters at Night?

Many people say that ducklings and the chicks of other birds need feather dusters to feel comfortable.

Their reason is that the feathers of feather dusters help produce warmth for the ducklings and also mimic the feathers of mother ducks. As such, ducklings use the dusters to feel secure.

While it is true that feather dusters do mimic the feathers of mother ducks, ducklings do not need feather dusters at night.

So long as your ducklings are warm and there is enough food to eat, they will be okay and sleep peacefully at night.

Feather dusters might also harm your ducklings, as curious ducklings can pull off the strands. They could ingest pieces that could harm them or be poked with broken feather splines.


Even though ducklings are cute and tender, you can leave them at night without getting worried so long as you give them what they need.

Remember to check on your ducklings occasionally, especially when they are very young, just to make sure that they are safe and comfortable while you are away from them.