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adding niacin to a duckling's diet

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by LearningToFly, Apr 27, 2011.

  1. LearningToFly

    LearningToFly Out Of The Brooder

    May 4, 2007
    Hi, y'all!

    We have moved Blossom the duckling into a large guinea pig cage next to her cheeps in the smaller cage. They all spend their time huddled next to the bars being close to each other, but the chicks seem to be adjusting to the change better than the duckling.

    I am concerned that she does seem pretty low energy, and am thinking that I should add niacin to her diet. Where do I get it (we live in an urban area and 'duck supply stores' are fairly far between), and how do I add it?

    Thank you!
  2. duckking

    duckking Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 2, 2010
    Cascade Foothills, WA
    Get just normal niacin NOT the 'no flush' type in 100mg pills at a drug store or health food store. They crush really easily and add to a gallon of water. Shake it up to dissolve and voila! Makes a huge difference.
  3. LearningToFly

    LearningToFly Out Of The Brooder

    May 4, 2007
    Thank you! I'll grab some for her tomorrow.
  4. gofasterstripe

    gofasterstripe Chillin' With My Peeps

    Give her lots of peas too and green, you can also give her lettuce, melon grapes. Peas are full of Niacin and are good for them.
  5. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    Oh yes they love lettuce cut up and frozen peas. Just give the duckling a gladware container it can climb in and out of, fill with room temperature water and toss the lettuce or peas into it. S/he will have a blast getting them.

    Greens should be a daily added food source for ducks... just a little everyday does wonders.
  6. Balbinka

    Balbinka Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2011
    Yes! Greens, a lot of them!

    But remember to sprinkle a bit of grit on her feed so she can digest the different foods safely.
  7. Sore Thumb Suburbanite

    Sore Thumb Suburbanite Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2011
    orange county
    David Holderread is a great source for duck information: he has several books available, I have read and reread his Storey's guide to raising ducks and His book on geese.... everybody quotes from him, he's great.

    Niacin is important to add if you are just feeing your duck chick starter feed: just like the first post said 100mg per gallon: I found capsules at my drugstore that saved me the trouble of crushing... nice feature.

    Also make sure the feed is non-medicated... its important that ducks keep the good bacteria in their system, the medicated feed kills it. Also supply some small grit (not calcium grit-just some sandy grit to help them digest their food-too much calcium causes problems too) and definately feed them lots of greens. I just pulled weeds every day- clover, dandylion, thistle, grass... I cut them up small and put the greens in the drinking water, nomatter how much I put in, its gone in seconds. Putting greens in the water keeps them fresh and encourages your duck to drink. Also if huddling is a regular activity, you may want to check the temp-make sure its around 95 for the first 2 weeks. Sorry I'm talking your ear off... hope this helps.
  8. LearningToFly

    LearningToFly Out Of The Brooder

    May 4, 2007
    The temps are 95 degrees and have been for three weeks. Last night I finally raised the light ( I usually raise it a lot sooner for chicks) and they reacted by stopping huddling so much. Totally the opposite behavior from what I expected.

    I've been putting greens in her water for 2 days. She ignores it. And... She appears very lazy. Not lethargic - she is alert. But she won't move away from the side of the cage where the chicks are, not even to eat or drink, unless we go in and move her. Then she eats and drinks and goes right back.

    I'll try the peas.

    I've been reading Holderread.

    I've been told here that chick starter meds aren't what they used to be and are safe for ducklings. Is that not true? 'Cause that's what I'm feeding her. And I've never, never seen duck starter in our feed store before. I wouldn't know where to find any.

    And she doesn't seem to like being in water. She fusses and fusses. I can't tell if it's that she doesn't like water or wants her chicks, but we put her in the bath tub and she literally tries to climb out, all the while peeping very loudly and urgently.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2011
  9. Sore Thumb Suburbanite

    Sore Thumb Suburbanite Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2011
    orange county
    I definately couldn't find duck started either- I used 20 percent proteirn game bird mix (for turkeys, ducks etc-and it also has niacin) and I supplemented that with grains at 3 weeks, lowering the overal protein percentage to 16 percent. Holderread is very adamant about not using the medicated chicken feed. But that can't be the only problem with her though, because she won't eat the greens. How frustrating! Sounds like your duck is depressed, possibly lonely. I once separated my geese from my ducks for 24 hours (the geese seemed to be getting incubator pnemonia-so scary) and the ducks cried and cried all day and all night. Since you are feeding them the same food, perhaps put a chick in her cage for company, it couldn't hurt much, just take away any open swimming water (if you have any in the cage).

    I'm so sorry your having problems with your duck,
    perhaps next time when you order, getting at least 2 will keep them from being lonely... and also order grow gel or chick booster for the water (each hatchery has some version of probiotic mix that either dissolves in water or becomes an edible gel-this all helps out condition wise from day one)

    Oh! try sugar in the water 1/2 cup per gallon, that gives a little more energy-made my ducks and geese pretty hyper.
  10. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    It really sounds to me like she's lonely. Niacin is an excellent addition to her feed, so I won't talk you out of that, but the symptoms of deficiency usually have nothing to do with energy--it's usually shaky legs that you see. Low energy could be LOTS of things, but loneliness and stress are big possibilities. Does she have to be separated from them all the time? Can they go in some sort of outdoor enclosure during the day to be together? It's good that they can see each other, but she wants to preen and be preened, and all the other things birds do for each other. Another thing you can do is put a "lovey" in the cage with her--a stuffed animal duck or chick that she can cuddle & preen. It's not as good as the real live thing, but it may help.

    Also, the heat may be too much for her. Ducks need a lot less heat than chicks. Can you give them enough space for her to move to a cooler part of the cage if necessary? Does she pant or stretch her legs out behind her a lot? Those are signs of heat stress, and they can cause lethargy too.

    Good luck with her. I'm sorry you're having trouble. It's always hard to watch our birds have problems, but I think she'll be fine, especially if you keep looking for ways to help her. [​IMG]

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