It seems counterintuitive that newly hatched ducklings and goslings should not be allowed to have a little pond of their own to swim in, but it’s true. There are two important reasons why you want to closely monitor your young waterfowl during their swimming times.
Super Thirsty At Arrival
First, when new ducklings and goslings arrive after being shipped in the mail to you, they will be quite thirsty. If you allow them to drink too much water immediately upon arrival, they may get chilled, which could lead to their passing away before they even get a chance to settle in. We recommend giving your ducklings and goslings water for only 15 minutes, then remove the water for 15 minutes, and repeat this process 3 or 4 times before allowing your waterfowl to have access to water at all times going forward.
There is also the risk of drowning in an open water container for young ducklings and goslings. Until ducks and geese are about 5 to 6 weeks of age, they do not yet have the oils in their feathers that give them their waterproofing film. So until your waterfowl are 5 weeks of age, water play and swim time should be closely monitored and only allow them to swim for brief periods of time. Make sure that after their swim time, they have a warm and dry brooder to go to. You’ll see that they immediately begin to preen themselves after a bath.
Letting Momma Duck Do It?
Even if you allow your adult duck or goose to hatch and brood her own babies, pay attention to allowing the little family to have access to open water for the first several weeks. Young ducklings and goslings have been known to drown in even a shallow pan of water, and a mother is often unable to rescue them from a container with steep edges to it, such as a rubber feed pan or similar container.