Am I feeding my Chickens and Ducks enough food?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by RoseUrsem, Nov 6, 2015.

  1. RoseUrsem

    RoseUrsem Out Of The Brooder

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    May 23, 2015
    I have 3 chickens and 2 ducks. They are free range. We did have a feeder, but we live by a stream so there are a LOT of other ducks that like to steal or food, so we would go through the food so fast and our flock would not get to eat the food(We are thinking of getting an automatic chicken feeder, but are unsure if the ducks will be able to use it???).

    I just throw out the pellets onto the ground when they come running for food. They eat them all and usually as for more. [​IMG] I am unsure if this is a good way to feed them?

    Our friends have 3 chickens and they feed them 1/2 a cup of pellets per day, but I think I am feeding by birds around 7 times that amount! Am I feeding them too much or too little? I want them all to be healthy. :)

    Thanks a lot!
    [​IMG]
     
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Throwing it on the ground is a very messy and inefficient way to feed them. You need to buy a hanging feeder (preferably plastic, somewhere in the range of 5-12 pounds) and allow them to feed free-choice.
     
  3. RoseUrsem

    RoseUrsem Out Of The Brooder

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    This is a good idea. [​IMG] But then the wild ducks can get the food..... when these ducks eat our food it leaves no food for our birds, so the whole system is pointless.....
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Your ducks - do they have their own pen where they are safe from predators? Some folks feed two or three times a day, in the pen. There is a chart of how much to feed ducks in Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks. It makes a difference what their size is and whether they are young and growing, or laying, or not.
     
  5. RoseUrsem

    RoseUrsem Out Of The Brooder

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    No, our ducks are free range. However, we live in New Zealand so there are no dangerous predators e.g. eagles, etc. The most dangerous thing to them is a pet dog, but all the dogs around our area are not free to roam, so we are really not worried about predators getting them. We do keep them in their coop st night though just in case. [​IMG] I just feed them when they run up to me. :) This can be and from 2-5 times a day... We are at school and work during the day so can not feed them from the time of 8 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon. They are not small ducks... They are Pekins and are around 12 weeks old, so not laying yet. They can scavenge during the day for bugs and grubs. I am not worried about them being to skinny, because I picked one up this afternoon and had a really big pudgy stomach by her crop!!! Does this mean she is fat?

    We are thinking about buying a step on/automatic chicken feeder. If the ducks figure out how to work it (which I am doubting because they are not very intelligent) will they gorge themselves and get overweight then???

    Thanks so much for your help. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  6. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

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    Off topic a bit :) but don't you guys have Hawks and goshawks etc? I did not know that :)
     
  7. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    When a duck has just eaten, the crop will be quite full, especially if they are fed less than 24/7. That's not a criticism - just how it seems to work, They are more likely to really pack it in quickly if they know they only have a short window of opportunity, it seems.

    Checking body condition involves feeling the keel bone. Let me see if I can find the chart @casportpony posted a while back. Post 11 - the fifth figure is missing, but you can get the idea. You might also just weigh them. Pekins are generally around 8 to 10 pounds, I think - need to check that to be sure.

    Meanwhile, consider setting up a light pen area for feeding your ducks that will exclude the wild "guests."

    I have to pretend offense about your remark that the ducks are not very intelligent - [​IMG] Mine are pretty sharp, actually. You may find they can figure it out. At the same time, mine also have the ability to get themselves into the most unpredictable kinds of trouble, so that's part of the mix, too.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
  8. RoseUrsem

    RoseUrsem Out Of The Brooder

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    Yup, we have hawks and stuff, but only in specific areas of New Zealand. We live in the bush, so not where we are. [​IMG]
     
  9. RoseUrsem

    RoseUrsem Out Of The Brooder

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    Even after not being fed for a while, their crop is quite large. What bone is the Keel bone? Sorry, I am a newbie to duck keeping. :) It has been really hard stopping the wild "guests" coming to eat their food, especially as there are 6 wild ducklings (they are nearly adults now, but not quite full grown) that like to explore our whole garden , and manage to eat all the food. I am unsure how I would make an area where my ducks can get the food but unwanted guests can not? I guess all ducks are unique, maybe mine are actually quite intelligent, but if they are, they are VERY good at hiding it!!! We are going to give the automatic feeder a go. If we never try we will never know, and it is best to give it a go and them to fail, than to never try and there could have been the possibility that they could have figured it out. [​IMG]

    My one worry is, will they get fat if they get thi food available 24/7? Some people have said to have the food available 8-10 hours a day, other say they MUST have constant access. What do you reccomend?

    Thanks!
     
  10. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Each duck is unique. Mine have food 24/7. Some ducks do better with being fed on a schedule. Take a look at Storey's Guide for how much they should be getting, and go from there.

    I would make a small pen - you can use something like a puppy pen that can be set up and taken down. Herd your ducks into it for feeding time.

    It is also best to be able to get a close look at the ducks regularly to prevent major problems by catching any sign of illness or injury early on.
     

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