Cutting the protein in duckling food?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by AliciaM, Jul 24, 2011.

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  1. AliciaM

    AliciaM Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 18, 2010
    Yelm Washington
    Can someone give me an idea on what to feed to cut the protein levels in the feed im using?? Im feeding flock raiser and its 20%.

    I give them fresh grass daily.. Ive heard of using oats.. but what kind?? Can I get like quaker oats from my pantry and use that? Do I mix it with there crumble, or add another feeder for it?
    I feed the chickens scratch grains for a treat, will that also work??

    Any ideas are appreciated...
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    Quote:I usually buy Quaker oats from Sams. don't get instant get regular. I mix it into my FR also scratch grains will work but I find if I mix it in with the FR they pick out the corn and the chikens get into it a get it completely out of the feeder. so they get feed SG separate.
    I have always feed Fr to all my chickens ducks goose and ducklings and never had any problems. They also free range and eat alot of different things so maybe thats why.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2011
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    I got the idea to use oats from Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks. I wouldn't use the scratch - I think it's very starchy with less fiber.

    I added oats to decrease the protein to 18 - 20% as the only starter feed I could get was turkey/waterfowl, at 26%. So I'd add 1 part oats to 4 parts feed, to get closer to 20%.

    I think you'll be okay with what you have.
  4. TrystInn

    TrystInn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 16, 2009
    Southern Arizona
    You can add scratch grains to bring the protein down.
  5. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    Oats or wheat will work just fine. Quaker oats, old fashioned or quick, it doesn't matter much, or you can even use horse oats. If you are feeding A LOT, then horse oats make sense because they're cheap per pound, but you have to buy them in 50-lb bags. And I concur--I work it gradually to the point that they're eating about 1/4 oats and 3/4 duckling feed. Good luck, and good job--the one time I failed to drop their protein, several of my girls developed angel wing, argh! So you're doing good to work on it now. [​IMG]
  6. AliciaM

    AliciaM Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 18, 2010
    Yelm Washington
    I had a couple with angel wing last year, but im pretty sure it was genetic. I found out parents and grandparents both had angel wing . I fed them non medicated chick starter... The ducklings before them were from different parents and fed the same and none developed angel wing..
    This year, Ive started to use flock raiser and have already raised one batch without a problem.. I figured that after reading so much on protein id better try and get it down... just in case...and the other foods are good for them.. they like a variety..

  7. Speceider

    Speceider Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 4, 2011
    I will again ask, what are you doing to the essential amino acid ratio when you are "cutting" the protein. Yopu're throwing it out-of-balance, making the absolute protein level meaningless. Add oats, and you're actually reducing the usable protein levels to something more like 14-15% because of the changes in methionine+cysteine levels. I seriously doubt protein l;eveles are the only concern with angel wing. It's much more complicated than that. I beleieve, genetics (possibly affecting growth rates, and particularly wing growth rates). temperatures as they affect activity and exercise (My primary concern), and aggressive pulling by other birds. I don't believe is altering the nutrtional content of a diet, unless I know what the changes are and how they may affetc growth and development. Chganging total protein % doesn't meet that. What is the ME: protein ratio of the feed you are using? A ME:protein % is considered optimal buy Scott and Dean. Milt Scott only spent 50 years studying poultry nutrition, and Dean managed the Cornell duck Research Center on Long Island.

  8. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

    Oct 2, 2008
    I feed 24% game bird feed to all my ducks. They also get greens and other natural duck diet items like minnows, duckweed, string algae, purslane, dandelions,etc... Cases of angel wing through 3 generations? Zero.

    Angel wing is a carbohydrate problem from what I can see. NOT a protein problem. Recommendations for feeding ducks are based on keeping feed as cheap as possible until the ducks are old enough to slaughter. Not for long term health year after year. Higher protein level feeds allow ducks to live up to their full genetic potential, not just gain weight for butchering. The diet feed to breeders is much different than what is given to the "meat flock". I feed mine as breeders.

    If you are still worried about protein levels or want to stretch your feed bill, you can add oats, but instead of mixing it with their feed, offer it free choice in a separate feeder. A ducks need for protein will vary and they can get what they need or don't need on their own without being forced in to it.

    As for Clint's comment, it was not rude. Just to the point. I have no problem with people getting right to the point.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2011
  9. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    Yup, I know nothing about what it does to the amino acid ratio, etc. All my knowledge is based entirely on experience, including my own measly 3 years, but primarily the more than five decades of hands-on breeding, showing, and raising experience of the world's highly respected duck expert, Dave Holderread. He says to cut protein percentage by adding oats or wheat. At first I did it because he said to (and his advice has never led me wrong), then I quit because I read a bunch of respectable stuff about carbs and amino acid balance, and I raised a group without cutting the protein with oats. And I ended up with a bunch of birds developing angel wing.

    It's hardly peer-reviewed academic research, but then I tend to maintain a healthy skepticism for ivory tower research when it's held up against real-world experience, however macro it may be. So I come on here and people have pictures of their angel wing birds and most of the time (though, notably, not *always*) they have been feeding straight chick or duck starter without cutting the protein... then other people come on and say, "Naw, don't bother cutting the protein. It's probably not the protein causing the angel wing anyway. I've never had a problem in my entire experience raising two whole batches of ducklings so you won't either."

    I realize that's not exactly what's happening here. But if I'm going to be convinced by talk of cysteine levels and methionine and absolute protein levels, it would be great to also hear what your scientists suggest, on a practical level, we do instead. Perhaps you could also tell us how many generations of domestic waterfowl have been raised using the alternate method, and what kinds of life spans and health records they demonstrate so we can compare the real-world success with that of Dave Holderread.

    In the mean time, I'll go on adding oats to the duck feed after the first couple weeks and I'll go on raising angel-wing free birds. Perhaps some day I'll take the time to understand it all on a molecular level, but for now it's good enough in my book that it simply works.
  10. destinduck

    destinduck obsessed with "ducks"

    Mar 20, 2008
    I dont think Clint is abrupt. Everyone has an opinion. I think the OP wanted to know exactly what she asked and Oats or scratch would satisfy the request. I agree with some of what he said. Excersise plays a small part as does genetics also I think. But as for reality. Most people are going to go by what the protien % is on their FEEDBAGS bottom line for sure. I personally worry about what it says on the bags because I am not a food manufacturer or nutritionalist but mine and others experience has taught us without going into chemistry lessons basically lower protien means ALOT less angelwing. I hope this helps and simplify this subject AliciaM without going into major detail which I find Most people on this site dont honestly care about. But I could be wrong. [​IMG] this is My opinion. Also edited to say for my own curiousity." Wifezilla. Do you feed 24% protien food to your DUCKLINGS prior to their wing feathers coming in? And did your DUCKLINGS freerange?" I just wondered personally on these two questions. BTW I have NEVER heard of a bird getting angelwing even if fed 40% protien AFTER AFTER mine you the critical time of wing development in the adolesant duck. Again NEVER in an adult bird.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2011
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