Brooding Facility

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