5 month old runners


In the Brooder
7 Years
Jul 5, 2012
Hi Just a few questions about my ducks. They are 5 months old and as we are heading into winter with shorter days, I am wondering if they will start to lay now or not until spring. Should I be changing their food in anticipation of them laying or wait until they start. I have 1 drake and am wondering if it will be ok for him to eat the layer food or not. They are currently on multifowl grower with 17% protein. Also what will be warmer for winter bedding pine wood shavings or straw. The duck house is insulated with ventilation. Thanks
Hi and

At this time of year they probably will not start laying but you never know. You don't need to switch them to layer until you have your first egg. Theoretically, you should switch them off of layer when they stop laying in the fall. Storey's Guide (my go to for duck info) says basically that it is best not to feed drakes layer ration but they can eat it and it is not likely to cause problems. It is just not reasonable to assume that we can feed our drakes seperate from our ducks. You could keep them on whatever you are feeding now, the protein % is okay and offer oyster shell as a calcium supplement to the females.

I keep oyster shell out as well as dried, crushed chicken egg shells. I do feed a layer ration mixed with a 9-way scratch. The layer is 22% protein and is mixed basically 50/50 with the 9-way which is 13% protein. It is the most economical way that I can feed a balanced diet where I live.

If your coop is insulated (you don't say where you are) use whatever bedding is easier/cheaper for you. Shavings are usually easier to maintain since straw will get wet and mat and possibly mildew (which is bad).

Good luck and post pics! (I started my ducky adventure with Runners)
Thanks for the info. Yes the coop is insulated. I live in Windsor, Ontario. Winters can be variable weather wise. Currently I use shavings but wondered if straw would be warmer, as you can put it thicker and they can nest down into it. I do agree though that shavings will be easier to clean. What do you think about adding cracked corn to the diet throughout the winter. I read somewhere that it will help them produce more heat. If so, what would be a fair ratio to mix it in with their feed.
Here is a few pics of when they were small. Will have to take new ones and post
Aww are they ever cute! Mine are around the same age and no eggs yet. I use shavings for their house inside and their run outside I put down straw in the fall/winter/spring since it keeps them from getting all muddy and they don't get frostbite on their toes in the winter. I do clean out the outside pen every week and a half to two weeks otherwise it gets really gross. I use the straw/poop mix for fertilizer for my gardens.
As for corn, I feed mine a little bit so they can keep themselves a bit warmer in the colder weather. I stop giving it to them when they start to lay in the spring since they get their layer feed with grit and oyster shell then. The corn just makes them put on weight which isn't good for runners necessarily.
Here's a picture of my outside pen from last year in the fall freshly bedded down with straw.
What little cuties. Because you are feeding a 17% protein feed you will want to limit any additions to their feed. At this age you want 15-17% protein. Here is a link to Metzer Farms site (where I got my runners from) with a calculator for mixing your own feed http://www.metzerfarms.com/FeedConversion.cfm?CustID=1179172
You could add 6-13 lbs of corn to 50 lbs of your feed to get 15-16%. Corn will put fat on them and many only feed it during the winter months. There is alot of debate about corn. You could give it as a treat. A handful or two one or twice a day.

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