Are they getting enough food?
Are they getting enough food?
large breed geese are said to require 12oz of feed a day when on good pasture. So your ducks require far less, but you are providing more than an individual heavy goose. Put down about 1/3 of that and see if the bowl is empty or still food left. Its recommended to put out enough dry pellet that they can clean up in 20 minutes.
I just aquired some ducks last week. As far as I can see they are not eatting much of the layer pellets at all. My chickens don't really at this time of year either. They are free range except at night when they go in a secure pen. I think their needs are being met by all the yummy slugs, bugs, grass and compost scraps because they laid the day they got here and continue to lay.
Do you know what they were eating before? A guy at our local feed store said he had some ducks choke to death on the pellets. I use layer crumble. Also, if they are new to you, maybe they weren't fed well or the right food before. When we adopted some Runner ducks, they were not feeding them food with adequate protein. They were sickly and scrawny. I also gave them vitamin/electrolyte mix in their water to perk them up, especially when it was hot. Read the package so you don't give them a toxic amount. My ducks love fresh veggies and frozen peas. They all love dried meal worms too. I stick to the veggies for the most part because the worms are expensive and high in protein. They already get plenty of protein in their food.
My thought is that at 20 weeks, most of their development is now "fine tuning," internal organs, egg-laying systems, musculature and so forth, not putting on body mass as they have been since hatching.
So vitamins electrolytes and appropriate amounts of protein are probably the most important components of their diet and their need for calories is a bit less. I find the amount of food consumed by our flock varies depending on temperature, activity level, laying or not, stage of molt if they are molting, and I am sure other unknowns.
Glad that you are paying attention.
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I give my 7 month old ducks a bowl of crumbles every morning. It's 16 ounces of Layena and 8 ounces of Flockraiser. I find they mob the bowl first thing when I let them out and then forage for a long time, then mob the bowl, and forage. Throughout the day they will get a nibble or two singly and by 4:00 or so the bowl needs refilling which I give them 8 ounces of Layena and 4 ounces of Flockraiser. They are going inside by 7:00 and its usually all gone by then. Since my food sits outside during the day I am also feeding a small group of crows. I dont know how much food they are taking but when the ducks are hungry they chase the crows off so it can't be too much.
I put out a feeder of Flockraiser for my four girls each morning and evening for half an hour. I bought the bag of Flockraiser crumbles late August and I still have some left. I'm picking up a new bag of the pellets today, but the bag of crumbles can probably last another week. I've noticed my ducks don't eat much of the commercial feed since they're also free range. They prefer eating persimmons and bugs over the Flockraiser.
ETA: They are 13 weeks old.