There’s really nothing like the sound of tiny chicks in an orchestra of peeping. I bought five of them at a local feed store in the Spring of 2011, along with two ducklings. When I got the little sprouts, two chicks and both ducklings were two-weeks-old, and the other three were four-weeks-old. I know I’m running the risk of sounding like an annoying parent here, but they grow up way too fast. It’s important to enjoy the fuzz-ball stage, because it’s gone before you know it. During the first month, you should be holding and talking to them every single day. The relationship you build with them early on will last through adulthood.
During the fuzz-ball stage (technical term), it’s important to watch your ducks and chicks around water. Ducklings really love to play in water, but they can’t swim. Chicks will never swim, and can actually drown quite easily. But they love to wade. As they get older, it’s nice to have a wading pond for the chickens and a pool for the ducks. But until they reach two-months-old, keep the water levels low. Ducklings will need to rinse their nostrils and eyes, but they chill easily, especially when wet. So the water container should have an opening only large enough for their heads to fit. Ducks aren’t waterproof and weatherproof until about seven or eight weeks old when their oil glands starts working. When this happens, they will start preening their feathers to waterproof themselves. This is also about the time chickens start developing their pin feathers (adult feathers), and loosing all their down.
In the city, it’s easy and fun to manage a small flock. Poultry and game birds are social and need friends, so plan to have a couple. There are some guidelines for how many you can have, and how close to your neighbors they’re allowed to be, so refer to ‘City of Phoenix Animal Ordinances’ in my resources list. The set-up can be pretty basic, but there are some essential guidelines, especially when rearing young ones. Please refer to the Brooding FAQs for more details on raising babies.