The darker patches on their backs are already quite different looking, some almost absent others quite large. First eggs in spring I guess, so a little wait.
How are the ducks doing which you hatched for a friend a while ago Melbourne12?
It will be interesting to see whether the dark patches (really distinct on one, visible on several more) persist as they feather up.
There's a sad story about the ducks. I think 7 of them grew to maturity, and for a couple of years they prospered. Our friend provided them with a pond and a bathtub, so they had adequate water, and they had at least an hour a day to free range outside the run.
But then he began to lose interest in his birds. I would look after them when he was away, and the whole setup became increasingly neglected. I would arrive on day one of his holiday to find that the pond and bathtub clearly hadn't been cleaned out for days. I'd just about get things shipshape by the time he returned, with fresh litter in the run, and fresh straw in the houses, but he just let things slide again and again. Things got so bad that other allotmenteers threatened to report him to the RSPCA.
Eventually someone DID report him to the council, and he had a couple of H&S inspections. But he didn't really improve much, and eventually a fox broke in to the neglected run and of course killed all the ducks and the chickens.
So, sorry for the sad story, but that was how it was. He's given up his allotment now, which is for the best all round.
The chicks are being reared for someone else entirely, someone who is an experienced poultry-keeper, just to reassure everyone.