duckling is feather eating UPDATE bloody problem HELP!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by jdywntr, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This afternoon I saw one of my month old muscovy ducklings pulling it's siblings wing feathers and eating them. I promptly marked him so that I can keep an eye on it. There are no visible signs of trauma on any of the other ducklings. I know that this can occur for several reasons but they are not in a brooder all day but are able to go out as they please and the brooder has a door in it so they can go in if they want to, even at night. The only time they are locked in the coop is at night and when they eat. They have access to grasses, they are on a diet of starter mixed with wheat 15-16% protein. There is a red light in the brooder. Any ideas as to why this is happening? Ideas to stop it?
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  2. SD Bird Lady

    SD Bird Lady Chillin' With My Peeps

    I am new but I wonder is he doesn't need more protien...in most of my research for mallard derived breeds it says start them at 20% for the first 2 weeks and then go to 17% until onset of lay/ maturity.
     
  3. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm going to increase their protein a bit. At this age, recommended is 16-18%, then 15% from 9 weeks til first egg. I have been trying to follow a feeding program from Storey's Guide this time. Before, I always just fed starter or Flock Raiser but now, my local feed store only carries medicated starter (though its a med that is safe for ducklings) but I want them off of that anyway.

    Muscovy aren't mallard derived but I don't think their protein requirement is different. I'm going to increase it to 17, just in case. I put 15-16% because I haven't been exact on my measurements. I just don't want this to continue since I know this can become a habit.
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    You follow Storey's Guide, and are a great duck steward, so it may be you just have an ornery duck.

    Zehn used to yank a breast feather or two out from her flock mates in spite of all the room, all the protein and nutrients I provided. Little crank!

    She doesn't do it so much now. I do see some of the ducks eating loose feathers here and there. But there seems to be no problem. Keep us posted. Duck behavior fascinates and amazes me.
     
  5. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The duckling is still picking feathers and now at least half of it's siblings have bloody spots on their wings or sides. I just noticed this as I was putting them up tonight. Their heat lamp is red so I'm not concerned about continued picking in the coop.

    I removed the duckling which is now in a crate in a spare bedroom [​IMG] I have him with starter and water and a heat lamp, though I don't know that he needs it.

    I had increased their protein level a few days ago. I actually was mistaken about the amount in their starter, it only has 18%, not 20 as I'd thought. I cannot have this one bloodying its siblings because I'm afraid the chickens will see the blood and start pecking at them.

    I need any ideas as to how I can stop this even if it amounts to culling this duckling.

    Help please. Thanks
     
  6. CelticOaksFarm

    CelticOaksFarm Family owned, family run

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    wehad a drake in the FWM this summer who was a bully. Flat out nasty little bully while they were feathering. He left one sibling alone so he was isolated with them from the others. As soon as the feathers were in completely he was better.
     
  7. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Celtic. I'll look at the others and see if there is one that I can put with him. Unfortunately, he's one of the biggest. I don't really want to keep him inside bit maybe if I can find him a buddy I can keep them in part of the coop.

    I was thinking maybe I could keep him inside for a few days and feed him a higher protein diet and then try him outside and give him some extras like eggs for extra protein. What do you think?
     
  8. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, I made a little area of the brooder for this little booger. My problem was since its getting in the low 20s at night sometimes, I had to have an area that was warm for him but still have enough room for the others.

    Then, I found another duckling that was picking feathers. So at least they can keep each other company and hopefully not pick at eachother too much.

    During the day today I blocked half of the coop so that they weren't stuck just in the brooder and could move about more. They of course escaped so after a second go and closing the door to the coop to be sure they didn't mix in with the other 11, I have them blocked in. I left them with just starter and offered some scrambled eggs, which they of course didn't eat though everyone else did. [​IMG] Tonight, I put them both in the little sectioned off area.

    They are both on the larger size so I think drakes so I have at least 10-12 more weeks before they will be to a decent size. Hopefully this behavior stops when they are feathered.
     
  9. Spifflove

    Spifflove Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I got this problem when I had to use scratch when the feed store ran out of grower. Those Muscovies grow very big and require alot of protein. Overcrowding can also cause it. I separated the Muscovy and a Coyote got him. I was sad but at least that took care of the problem and tested my spare enclosure at the same time.
     
  10. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. I've had muscovy for almost 2 years now but this is only my second muscovy hatch and my first in winter. I know it's not a space issue. They have access to a 8x15' coop which has the ducklings, their mom, dad and 3 other hens at night since the adults leave it first thing in the morning and get put up at dusk. They also have access to the outside, if they choose and the weather isn't horrible.
    I did cut back on their protein, to about 16% which at their age should be fine but I've increased it again.
     

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