One of our brooding pens which
shows the hanging feeder, the pine shaving bedding and red heat lamp.
The opening, visible on the left, goes out to a wire-covered waterporch
which is a great aid in keeping the inside area dry. We use a
minimum of two heat lamps in each section so that if one burns out, the
babies don't pile up. Fresh, dry bedding is sprinkled on the floor
as needed to maintain a healthful environment.
Some of the babies are going out the opening to
the waterporch where the drinking fountain is located. We brood
the different breeds of ducklings and goslings together so that they are
accustomed to being with animals that look different than themselves.
This practice makes them better able to get along with a variety of
animals throughout their lives.
When approaching and entering
the brooding area, it is important to let the birds know you are coming
before you open the door and enter their space. We knock on the
door and call out to them before opening the door slowly. This
habit makes the birds remain tame and calm, as seen by these ducklings
and goslings greeting us at the door of this brooder building.
As soon as the weather permits
and the babies are large enough that they are not at risk from the local
hawks, we let our baby waterfowl out into grassy yards during the day
where they get exercise, fresh air and consume quantities of grass and
insects. We always make sure to have a pair of adult geese nearby
(out of view in this picture) to help discourage winged predators.
Every day or two as
needed, we move the 2' high welded wire with 1" x 2" openings which is
held in place with easy-to-move fence posts. (We use 40" lengths
of rebar as seen in the background of this photograph.) At night
or during inclement weather, the babies are enclosed in their brooder
building where they have access during the day.
In pens that do not have ponds,
we often use this type of portable pan to provide bathing water for the
young birds. The adult Pilgrim female (on the far right) keeps a
close eye on these 8-week-old foster goslings under her care. Her
mate is off grazing with the main flock in this pen. We will put
up to 100 ducklings and goslings in with a pair or trio of adult geese
to help protect them from daytime predators.
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Copyright 2007 Holderread Waterfowl Farm & Preservation Center