Homesteading Uncategorized

Pros and Cons to raising chicks and ducklings under a red light

I will throw myself under the bus when I say that I was clueless when I started my homesteading journey.  And I’ve had quite  few failures before finding my groove.

With each passing month, then years I have acquired useful knowledge.  Failed at quite a few things, and excelled in others.  Found what I enjoy to increase our sustainability and what I don’t enjoy.

I think sometimes we neglect to look at our failures and see where and how we can improve.

Homesteading isn’t easy.  It is however a simple way of living by bringing healthy foods to the table and eliminating ones carbon footprint.

Two years ago we decided to add backyard chickens to our homestead, it has had it’s own failures and successes.

I would need a novel to include all of the failure and successes, so today I’d like to chat specifically raising baby chicks and ducks under a red light.

Our first set of baby chicks we hatched outside with the help of a mama hen and our surprise Rooster.  The process was simple, and natural and really required nothing from us.  I loved it.

Fast forward to a second attempt at raising baby chicks and ducklings.  We decided to try purchasing 4 baby chicks and 2 ducks from our local Tractor Supply.  I read that duck eggs are excellent for baking so I figured why not add a couple to our homestead.   I’ve found for the future this is definitely not a desired route for our own needs.  It’s exceptionally time consuming, messy, and to be quite honest has been an experience I never want to repeat.  You may think differently but let me share with you the pros and cons to raising baby chicks and ducks under a red light.  And you decide.

Let’s start with the pros

  •  You have the ability to choose specific breeds of chicks and or ducks.
  •  Handling young chicks and ducks can increase their friendliness towards you.
  •  Simply, they are cute.
  •  Raising them from chicks and ducklings assures you of the healthy diet they receive from a young age.
  •  It’s a fun experience for children.
  • Future farm fresh organic eggs.
  • An inexpensive way to start a backyard flock.

Now let’s chat cons

  • The MESS.  When I say mess I mean mess.  Poop gets into the water feeder as well as the food feeder.  Requiring their brooder to be cleaned multiple times a week.
  • Baby chicks and ducks eat and drink A LOT.  Multiple times a day I find myself changing out their water and food to keep things as clean as I possibly can.
  • They stink.
  • They need to be under a red light until they are feathered this takes anywhere from 7-10 weeks.
  • Time, time, and time.  Baby chicks and ducks require time, it wasn’t until we decided to try the red light that I realize how time consuming it really is.


I’ve had friends raise their own chicks under a red light with minimal complaints.  I however could write a novel on my complaints.  All jokes aside I will enjoy them once they join the big hens in the yard and provide us with fresh organic eggs.

This isn’t to dissuade you from trying to raise your own baby chicks and or ducklings but I think I could have benefited from hearing the reality of raising them under a red light.  They require a lot of time and attention until they are old enough to go outside.


Do you own baby chicks and or ducklings?

Do you find that the cons outweigh the pros?

Happy Homesteading!





By Danielle

Danielle is a modern day homesteader. She moved from the suburbs of California to the High Desert with her husband and two kids to live a more balanced life.
Follow along to find a simple way of living.

5 replies on “Pros and Cons to raising chicks and ducklings under a red light”

Our ducklings were only under a heat lamp for 3 weeks before they went to their coop. 1 week in the house (got them as day olds), 1 week in the basement, and the third week in the garage. It all depends on what time of year you get them – we got ours in March here in Oregon and they were laying by mid summer. Yes, they’re messy and stinky to start out but that’s why we moved them out of our living quarters when we did. Yes, ducks need their water changed more than chickens but ducks also lay year round and can deal with much colder temps than chooks without needing heat 🙂

PS we wish we could have a Drake’ but have heard too many stories from friends about how rapey they get and we want our girls to live peacefully (when we added to our flock we got a one year old from a neighbor which took about two weeks for them to acclimate to each other).

Food for thought!


Hi! thanks for your response! Ours are currently in the garage they are so stinky for the future I prefer to let the mama hens take care of their own business. In Northern Nevada we still have unbearably cold weather so they haven’t gone out yet to the main coop but now I’m wondering if the ducks would be okay out there? Just a few more weeks and I’m counting down we got ours in late February. Do you keep your ducks and hens together? I had to laugh about the Drake’s being to rapey I’ve heard that too and have had a few Roosters that were too rapey for my liking. 😬 We now have a mild mannered Rooster thankfully. We got two female ducklings for their future eggs I’m looking forward to that! We have an entire farm of mixed animals all cohabiting together. Hoping for an easy transition with the latest babies.
We have a few hens that are very territorial I think I’m overthinking how they will acclimate all together.
Thanks for the input I’ll definitely need to see if it’s early enough to boot the ducklings out 😊


I looked up my duck history and see it was in the upper 50s in the days when we put them in the coop and for the first few nights I put the heat lamp on but noticed they weren’t anywhere near it so we knew they were ok. We use straw for their bedding and use the layering method rather than constantly changing/cleaning the coop and it seems to do the trick (plus it’s an amazing garden topper / mulch when we do clean it!).

We don’t have chooks but babysit our neighbors’ a lot. I wanted year round layers and was too lazy to build roosts, plus ducks are easier to round up 😊
Most folks around here keep both chooks and ducks together.


Thank you for checking into it and for the information! We are still in the 20’s and 30’s at night but warming up to the 40’s and 50’s during the day I’m thinking they will be fine with some fresh air. I could always stick them under the light just as night. Thanks for the information I really appreciate it. Ducks are completely new to me. I’m going to have to research the layering method I’ve never tried it. You’ve given me hope there’s an end in sight to the garage farm 😂 if you have any duck tips I’d love to hear it 😊


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