Are my ducks overweight?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Vyctoria, Oct 4, 2016.

  1. Vyctoria

    Vyctoria Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, I have 6 ducks right now. Three of them are 22 weeks old, the other three are 11 weeks old. I'm hoping to get eggs from the first batch before winter gets here because if I'm not mistaken, they should start laying in a couple weeks(please correct me if I'm wrong, I don't fully understand how the seasons affect the egg cycle). I'd like to get them switched over to an egg layer type feed, but I'm free feeding them all together. Will it hurt the younger ducks to eat that as well?

    I've been having an issue because I feel like my older ducks are getting pretty fat. Especially my Cayuga drake and my Blue Swedish hen. I'm currently feeding a 50-50 mix of Nutrena Chick Starter non-medicated(because I can't get a hold of any grower around here) and scratch grains to help lower protein. I can't seem to find anything with a lower protein content until they're old enough for layer feed. I've considered getting an actual duck feed, but the only one I can get in the area is to special order Mazuri duck maintenance and it would double my feed bill. Is there something I'm missing or is protein the only thing I should be looking out for?

    I'll post pictures because I don't know how to judge very well, but I just know that my Swedish looks too chunky. I know they're a bigger breed and that it's probably normal for her to be as thick as my drake, but she doesn't seem to get around as well anymore. It doesn't want to load well, so I've just got a picture of my swedish(my drake is the same size) and my cayuga hen, who I think is at a decent weight in comparison, but I'd like opinions.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    I'm also not sure how much to feed in general. I free feed, but since getting the younger ones added in, I feel like they go through a ton of feed lately, which they never did before. I use a plastic horse feed scoop to measure, which I fill half way each morning. That's all they get for the day between the 6 of them, other than their daily turnout, which is a fenced enclosure, about 20x20 ft. They get occassional treats, like peas, blueberries, and mostly red kale from the garden.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2016
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    I wonder if it might be okay to give them layer feed, at least for a while. Can you have the feed store order grower?

    Our drake, Bean, seems fine eating layer. I know there are cautions against feeding layer to non-laying ducks. At the same time, many of us do so without apparent problems. It's one of those things where you need to take your best guess, I think.

    I suspect the scratch may be what's making them chubby. It's pretty much calories, without much nutrition.
     
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  3. Vyctoria

    Vyctoria Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I can try to order it, but it's confusing. I think that Nutrena has sort of discontinued their grower or something. I don't see it anywhere except on really old pamphlets.

    Come to think of it, I didn't see them start to gain weight like this until around the same time I started the scratch! I'll be sad if I find that the one thing I did to prevent this is what caused it in the first place. I guess you learn as you go. I'll have to look into a grower/layer type situation.
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Seems to me you pay close attention and ask for ideas - that is at least half the battle!
     
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  5. lomine

    lomine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They do have some little bellies on them. I'd agree that the likely cause is all the corn in the scratch. It should be more of a treat thing. But don't beat yourself up. There is a bit of a learning curve and even if you do tons of research there will always be new things to learn.

    If you are in the northern hemisphere and heading into winter your ducks may start molting soon and you'll want a higher protein then. I feed mine Purina Flock Raiser (20%) with oyster shell in a separate dish. This is the easiest for me since I have a mixed flock. I.ve actually been giving it straight since July because I've got young chickens in the coop. But I understand that some folks have limited sources for feed.
     
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  6. Vyctoria

    Vyctoria Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was considering the Nutrena Nature Wise All Flock. Would 18% be acceptable then? Is it possible to offer the oyster shells and never do a layer feed, or would they be able to get all they need for the egg production from it?
     
  7. kiltedgunman

    kiltedgunman Just Hatched

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    I have had a mix flock of ducks and i just go from starter to layer and have never had a issue myself. My birds were always in good shape and dropped eggs like clockwork for me.
     
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  8. lomine

    lomine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't feed layer feed at all. I only offer oyster shell and they seem just fine. I am lucky that there are many feed stores near me and I have a large variety to choose from on feeds. I like the Flock Raiser because I don't need to worry about separating different feeds for different birds. Extra calcium is hard on the kidneys of male birds and too much calcium is bad for growing birds. Plus layer feed doesn't normally have enough protein for growing birds. Flock Raiser is just easier for me.

    A feed with 18% sounds like a good option.
     
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  9. Duck Drover

    Duck Drover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It is not good for ducks to get too fat unless they are meat birds that will not have long lives anyway. I had someone get ducks from us and then decide to overfeed corn to the point that the hens stopped laying. When the person told me what the ducks were being fed and that they had gained weight it was clear to me that their increased weight was effecting their reproduction. We keep feed out for our ducks at all times but they spend most of their time foraging so they are not prone to overeating. Our ducks are fed Purina Flock Raiser as it has everything they need in the right amounts. When people give chicken scratch and treats to ducks it is not healthy for them. This person seemed to think that fattening up their 2 pound bantam ducks was a good idea when it was actually causing problems that needed to be solved.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2016

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