Changing from duckling food to grown up food

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by bayyjayy, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. bayyjayy

    bayyjayy Chillin' With My Peeps

    700
    0
    119
    Jul 5, 2011
    Utah
    So, I have a few questions about feeding my ducklings. I got my Cayugas four weeks ago tomorrow....they are starting to get their big girl/boy wings...SO pretty! Anyway, I am re-reading Storey's guide again on food and am confused on somethings.

    My duckling food is a chick bird starter, which my local farm store assures me is for ducklings and it is 18% (that means 18% protein, right?). I have fed this to other ducks and have never seen any of my ducks lack niacin, and they have assured me more than once that it is geared towards ducks as well as chicks. My grownup food is Nutregena Country Feeds All Flock 18% pellets. I was getting a different kind of food that was a Poultry feed that was 16% called Layer Pellets. In Dave's book (page 251), he says that if you are raising birds as pets rather than meat and you are feeding them more than 16% starter/grower then you should be adding oats to their food so that they will live longer, and have fewer leg and wing problems because you are slowing down their growth rate. He says you should be adding 5% oats each week until the birds are receiving three parts starter/grower to one part oats. So, should I have been giving my babies oats this whole time?

    Oats.....as in oatmeal, dry? Or as in going and buying something else at the feed store??

    Do any of you give your ducks dry cat or dog food for extra protein during mating season, when they are ducklings, and when they are growing in their feathers at any age (page 255).

    Last question....when should I start my babies on the pellets? Should I give them half crumbles and half pellets just to get them used to it? In Dave's book, he says the pellets are usually two big for the babies for the first week or two. They are four weeks now, so I am thinking I can give it to them now?

    Thanks so much,
    Mike
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    22,979
    1,950
    471
    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Good questions!

    Here's what I did.

    At two weeks I started mixing in the small grower pellets into the crumbles. At first, just maybe 1:10 (1 grower, 10 crumbles). Each day I'd add more grower, less crumbles so that between 3 and 4 weeks they were on grower feed.

    I followed Storey's Guide advice on the oatmeal. I used the equivalent of Quaker Oats at first, then found it even less expensive to buy in bulk from a local mom and pop health food store. But you could buy it from the feed store.

    I do add a few handfuls of dry cat kibble to their food. It gives them some protein and also some more vitamin D, which helps with calcium absorption, I am told.

    When I first fed oats, I ran them through the grinder so they wouldn't be too big for the babies. After a few weeks they seemed to handle the rolled oats just fine. I also ran the pellets through the grinder the first several days.

    From what I have read, some ducks are more sensitive to low niacin than others. Just wanted to offer that here.
     
  3. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

    5,916
    545
    341
    Oct 31, 2008
    West Michigan
    My Coop
    Nutrena and I think Purina do have a duck grower pellet that I think is around 14% protein, but they can be pretty hard to find although some places will special order.

    You were right to feed them starter at 18% protein. So when you are not raising them for meat you start cutting down the protein in their diet to reduce the chance of angel wing and leg problems. So you can transition them to the 18% all flock and add in the rolled oats (at least, I think they mean rolled oats) I think some feed stores carry rolled oats

    If you are feeding them 18% all flock you probably can just cut back on the oats during mating season next year and put out some oyster shell for calcium.

    I think starting to mix the pellets in with the starter now makes sense and then start mixing in the oats soon.

    Of course ducks love greens, too!
     
  4. aineheartsyou

    aineheartsyou Chillin' With My Peeps

    830
    1
    141
    May 6, 2009
    Dixie, WA
    This is what I do. I start all of mine on Purina Flock Raiser, once they are two weeks I start feeding a Flock raiser/scratch grain mix (2 bags of flock raiser to 1 bag scratch grain) which lowers the protein of the Flock Raiser to about 16%. I feed everyone this mix with free choice oyster shells for the ladies. They also free range all day and get treats.
     
  5. bayyjayy

    bayyjayy Chillin' With My Peeps

    700
    0
    119
    Jul 5, 2011
    Utah
    How do you give your ladies something and not your boys??

    And....oyster shells......what are these and where would I get them??

    Thanks for all your help.....MUCH appreciated!
     
  6. aineheartsyou

    aineheartsyou Chillin' With My Peeps

    830
    1
    141
    May 6, 2009
    Dixie, WA
    Quote:The oyster shells are for the extra calcium they need when laying eggs. It is not good to feed layer feed to drakes because they do not need the extra calcium in it. They all have access to the oyster shells but the boys do not eat it because they dont need it and its not tasty so they leave it be. The ladies some how know they need the extra calcium and occasionally eat some of the oyster shells. I bought a huge 50lb bag at our local feed store for like 15 bucks.
     
  7. bayyjayy

    bayyjayy Chillin' With My Peeps

    700
    0
    119
    Jul 5, 2011
    Utah
    How often do you throw out some oyster shells for them?

    How do you guys feed your ducks? Do you just throw it out on the ground and they just go to town?
     
  8. aineheartsyou

    aineheartsyou Chillin' With My Peeps

    830
    1
    141
    May 6, 2009
    Dixie, WA
    Quote:I always have oyster shells and grit available in a couple of those tough rubber bowls. I go out mid afternoon and fill up their larger tough rubber bowls with Flock Raiser/ Scratch mix. They forage the rest of the time
     
  9. ChristineR

    ChristineR Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,689
    12
    158
    Jun 15, 2011
    WA state
    I feed the Mazuri Waterfowl Maintenance diet in the floating pellets. Every day I feed a couple cups in a bowl filled with water. They gobble it up.

    Mazuri is a little more expensive than some of the other feeds, but there is virtually zero waste with it as long as you're feeding the correct amount for your ducks. My two ducks eat every last pellet out of the water bowl and then clean up the pellets that have sloshed over the side.

    They love it. I've tried feeding other feed when I've run out and they turned their noses (er...bills) up at it.
     
  10. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

    5,916
    545
    341
    Oct 31, 2008
    West Michigan
    My Coop
    Fortunately you don't need to worry about getting oyster shell until early spring when they are ramping up for mating and laying.

    They do need some grit in their crops to digest grains and greens. Once they are out foraging they will probably get enough from the soil. I have a 3month old Pekin who loves digging her bill into the dirt. I think she is getting enough grit. So you can either give them some access to sandy soil or buy some chick grit at the farm store.

    I use the rubber bowls for the feed, too. But I have also used cheaper plastic bins at times. Since ducks can get sick from mold, you don't want much feed on the ground.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by