When I opened the box, all the 'Grow Gel' was gone. Usually there are a few crumbs left. Not this time. They acted as if they were starving! I put them in their brood box with water, food, and grass hay (for bedding). As soon as I dipped their beaks in water, they were drinking. They started eating quickly, too. They stayed in the box for about 24 hours, then they were switched into the old rabbit cage.
More than half have gone to their new homes. We placed the order for our family along with 4 other families. All are doing well. We ended up with one that had very weak legs and didn't look like it would make it. But after a few days she is doing fine. I think it is because it needed better access to the food and water, something that is difficult where there are 27 ducklings around.
We order our ducklings from Metzer Farm. They have always been very good to work with and their prices are very competitive. I always order the grow gel since I think it is better for the ducklings. Technically, the ducklings have just absorbed the yolk and are fine for about 60 hours after they are hatched. But I don't mind spending the extra $0.40 or so per bird to give them food and water just in case they need it.
Metzer Farm also includes a free duckling in all but the smallest orders, so that if one dies during shipping, they have already 'replaced' it. We got one duckling free this order.
Ducklings do just fine in shipping. They are warm because they are in with other ducklings, they have food and water (from the grow gel), and the Post Office does a surprisingly good job of taking care of them as they are being shipped.
We order a breed called "Golden 300" or "White Layers" since the reason we have the ducks is for their eggs. Both of these breeds are well known for both their egg laying ability (close to 300 per year) as well as their calmness. We love the way Runner Ducks look, but they are more exciteable. Since we have so many visitors, we tend to like the calmer breed of any animal so that their production remains more constant, whether there are visitors or not.
So, Vet2Be has 7 more female ducklings that will be laying eggs starting this fall.
We feed our ducklings Turkey Grower since they do better on a higher protein content and no medicated feed. We aren't able to get a 22% protein content feed in our area, so we use Turkey Grower (at 26% protein content). We haven't had any trouble with Angel Wing, so we haven't worried about the higher protein content yet.