This is what they look like at their in between stage.
At a few weeks old they really start to develop. They go from being these little yellow fluffy ducklings, to somewhere in between this and an adult! The feathers gradually loose the fluffiness and in replacement they get waterproof ones. At this point it's still not easy to tell their markings and therefore confidently identifying their gender can be tricky. Supposedly the noisy ones are females, but in our opinion they all make plenty of noise.
They are still living indoors at this point as they're not quite ready to brave the good old British weather! But that does admittedly mean a lot of mess. They are not clean birds at all and love to kick and splash everything everywhere. We have made a mesh tray to try and collect some of the splashed water as they drink so the bedding doesn't get sodden. We also keep their food in a chick feeder until they get bigger; because this stops that going everywhere and they are less likely to eat the bedding too.
At this age the swim training starts. Naturally they swim like "a duck to water" and therefore very well. They love the water and know exactly what to do. The training however is to give them chance to build up stamina. They are supervised in a shallow tub to ensure they are safe in the event of them getting too worn out to swim to the edge. Because their feathers are not waterproof they also absorb the water which makes them heavier and thus harder to float. We will continuously do this until their waterproof feathers come out and then they can have a supervised swim in the pond.
Eventually they will go and live with our adult ducks. Keep posted for more updates on their growth.