27% Duckling Starter?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Broodica, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. Broodica

    Broodica Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am REALLY confused now. I ordered a duck starter kit from Meyer and have been happily feeding it to my now 6 day old ducklings for 3 days. Just noticed the breakdown on the label that was buried inside the feed bag and it says 27% protein!!! (was using game fowl starter from the beginning that had 20% protein). One of my ducklings has weak legs, so added vitamins and electrolytes plus at 1/4 tsp. per gallon of water, 100mg of crushed niacin, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. I have been giving them some uncooked oatmeal as well, but just a bit.

    Now I am freaking out that they are getting too much protein! ACK!!!!! Should I mix the oats in to reduce the protein of the 27% feed (1 cup oatmeal per 5 cups feed?), or just go back to the 20% feed? Or mix the 20% in with the 27% feed? Are they getting too much stuff in their water? I am really concerned about my weak legged Rouen - the other is a Mallard and I am getting 2 more 2 day old Mallards on Wednesday.

    We already lost a 3 day old chick and one of the ducklings had arrived DOA. I don't want to lose anyone else. HELP!!!

    Any recommendations, advice, help? Some valium would be nice to.....

    PS Duckking is my son. He's as anxious I am.....
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2010
  2. cracking up

    cracking up Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine get turkey starter that's 24%. I've never had a problem but there are a lot of people on this board who know a lot about what the babies should be getting. I would probably mix in some chick starter if I were you.
     
  3. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    That is a lot of protein, and I would worry that they grow to fast. The faster they grow the more likely you will encounter problems with their joints. A rich diet is knows to cause angel wing. They argue if it is protein or carbohydrates. Regardless to much of the good is causing fast growth, which leads to it. I give all my ducklings the 16% grower developer food, and don't even bother with the chick starter stuff. What I do is I grind the food in a food blender so it is finer for the first two weeks. Now they do need more vitamins/electrolytes and niacin in their young age compared to adult birds. That can be added to their drinking water as you already do. This is the only kind of water they get for the first 10 days at my house. After that they get it once per week until 12 weeks old, and then monthly. This assures strong bones and health, while the protein and carbs are used for muscle and weight gain. For now I would go and get something like the Nutrena Naturewise Grower Developer complete crumble, or similar with 16%. They don't have the Purina stuff here where I live so I cannot give the equivalent name. Keep the high protein food for later when they are 3 months old and just mix it into their regular food at that age. At least then you no longer have to worry about the fast growth.

    BTW all those darn different mixes are really confusing, aren't they. Took me while to figure it out. I start to think it is a money scheme they are running. Would love to send you some Valium, but I need to see a valid prescription first. Just kidding. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2010
  4. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

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    For the record, protein DOES NOT CAUSE GROWTH PROBLEMS! Excessive carbohydrates or a LACK of protein DOES cause problems. There are plenty of animals studies showing that intentional overfeeding of protein doesn't cause any health problems at all. It can be a waste of money, but it isn't going to cause joint problems, excess weight, exploded kidneys or any of the other problems people blame on protein.

    Seriously.

    I feed all my ducks 24% or 28% game bird feed from the time they hatch. They also get greens, but even those tend to be higher on the protein side...clover, duckweed, etc...
     
  5. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Here we go again, you blew up and did not read what I wrote. Well no need to write any further.
     
  6. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

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    I read it. I have been studying endocrinology and nutrition for the past 3+ years. The info about protein is based on a flawed, debunked premise. But if you can't convince people colds are not caused by going outside with wet hair, I guess it will be a few centuries before the protein myths die.
     
  7. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    That's why I state that some arguments point toward carbohydrates. Overall a diet to rich in calories causes fast growth, which is not good in young birds. It's not just the overall percentage, but rather the total grams of protein or carbs per day per bird. This is hard to test in small household farms, because of free ranging and what ever else they eat. They were able to produce angel wing with high carbs and in high protein diets in test groups of birds in Germany. Those birds were confined to large pens and could not free range. Looks like the birds body can break down protein into carbs in their body. To much protein pushes muscle grows, to much carbs weight. Both together are heavy on young bird joints. The carbs do increase insulin production in birds, which acts like a grows hormone when they are not fully grown. So in that regards it is close to human behavior. Still human endocrinology cannot be transfered to ducks, because their system does not entire work like the human body. So what can you do. Cut back on anything that is to much and make them walk for their food. That builds strong joints for sure.

    They have something similar in golden retrievers. You have to monitor their intake or they grow too fast as well. This does also cause joint problems and bone pain in those puppies.
     
  8. cracking up

    cracking up Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Told ya there were people who know stuff!!
     
  9. HiddenHill Heretic

    HiddenHill Heretic Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wifezilla, You are a bit of a nutter(IN A GOOD WAY) about this whole protein angel wing issue, eh?. Can we agree that if one feeds their ducks lower protein feed, angel wing is less likely? Can we also agree that there remains a POSSIBILITY that high protein MAY cause Angel Wing and or structural issues due to size in young ducks? If so, it seems a bit....shortsighted to recommend that one could use high protein feed at duckling stage. Obviously you feel adamantly about this issue, but most others feel differently, as do two people who have handled and raised thousands of ducks (Mr Holderread and Mr. Metzer). Now, I do not want to drag them into this, it simply seems a bit dangerous to advise going against the wisdom of what we have as experts in this area. I am sure you are simply trying to help, but for those of us newbies, it is a bit confusing. Thank you for your continued passion and advice.
     
  10. Broodica

    Broodica Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am sure there are valid points to both sides of the issue. I decided to be more cautious because I am really concerned about my Rouen's legs and then this angel's wings thing popped up. I swear he/she grew just since we went out for dinner and a movie! My Mallard seems to be growing more slowly. We take them out of the brooder twice a day to run around, figuring that will help strengthen the legs as well, in addition to a paddle in the tub once a day (90F water and closely supervised. They are already diving and torpedoing!)

    My husband, the math genius, worked out the ratio between the 20% and 27% feed for me to bring the protein down to about 22%. I'm really torn, because Meyer was very specific that the ducklings should get 27% for the first two weeks, but most of what I have researched leans toward the 20%-22%. Not to say there aren't those who agree with Wifezilla, and those like Katherinad, who think that that's even too high. Being a total Newbie, it's all very confusing as HiddenHills said.

    Sooooo, they are now on 22% protein starter. Adding 100mg of niacin, vitamins and electrolytes plus (1/4 tsp/gallon) and 1 tbsp/gallon apple cider vinegar to their water. I also gave them some fresh spinach today cut up into 1/4" pieces, sprinkled in their waterer dish. They LOVED that.

    You're right, Cracking up, the knowledge of the people on here is truly amazing and I want to thank you all. Even the disagreements are educational and, of course, send me back to my books and researching. Between the ducks and the chicks, I am not sure I am thinking about anything else these days.....
     

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