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duckling questions...hair and feed

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by mrslamb, Mar 6, 2014.

  1. mrslamb

    mrslamb Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 6, 2014
    So we have four ducklings, just over two weeks old, two buffs and two pekins. They are adorable!! We started feeding them game bird starter for about the first two weeks. It was 24% protein and I kind of thought maybe we were giving too much, so we got some chick starter that was 18% and mixed it for a few days, but now Ive just been giving them the straight chick starter.

    Does this chick starter have grit in it too or do we need to supplement that? Should we keep them at 18% or up the protein still?

    The pekins hair is looking pretty bad and chafed bare skin in spots, that we are assuming is just feathers coming in? They seem to be acting normal.. Have a little diarrhea from time to time, but overall still move around a lot to eat and then lay down together a lot.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. HollyDuckFarmer

    HollyDuckFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I want to say that you might want 20-22% for a few weeks, but once feathers are in, you can drop to 16%. The spots you see are likely feathers coming in, but I think you need to post pics to be 100% certain. Yes, you should offer some grit, but if you are feeding only starter feed, your ducklings should be ok too.
     
  3. mrslamb

    mrslamb Out Of The Brooder

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    Here are some pictures.. the first one is kind of under the one girl's wing. that looks the worst. She seems to be acting ok though. I try to clean out their brooder often, and refill water, etc. They have been swimming about 3 times since they were a week old. The second picture you probably can't see well, but can see on top of the wings it's just getting bare... on the pekin on the right- the buffs aren't growing that fast so they don't really have that much of a problem. Thanks!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Ren2014

    Ren2014 Blessed Beyond Hope Premium Member

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    Hello [​IMG]and [​IMG]

    Here's an excerpt from Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks:
    Water
    Ducklings need to have constant access to water whenever feed is available. They need to be able to wash their eyes and nares (nostrils) to remove dust or debris. A chick waterer can be used for the first week or so but they will quickly outgrow it. Adding large marbles to the base of the waterer will help to keep the babies out of the water. A non-spill waterer can be easily and cheaply made. A gallon milk jug or shallow food storage container can be used. Simply cut a hole at the height of the ducklings back that is large enough for them to fit just their entire head in. These will need to be replaced on a weekly basis as the ducklings outgrow them.
    A platform can be fashioned out of a container covered in hardware cloth so the splashing of the waterer is contained there.
    Place the waterer in the brooder in advance so that the water is room temperature. When the ducklings arrive, dip each of their beaks in the water and ensure that they swallow.
    Ducklings should not be allowed to get and stay wet. Extreme care should be taken in allowing them to swim when young. Ducklings easily tire and can drown even in a small amount of water. A thorough drying is needed if they get wet.
    Feed
    Ducklings should have feed available 24/7 for the first 2 weeks. Ducklings should be fed starter feed with 18-20% protein for the first two weeks. This can be in a crumble form or a mash. Mash should be wet to make it easier to eat. If mash is used, it must be replaced several times a day to prevent spoilage. They can be given chick starter, duck/waterfowl starter, broiler starter, or turkey starter. Care should be taken when feeding a higher protein level feed as physical damage can result.
    For many people, duck specific feed is not available. Many people have good results feeding starter or a feed developed for all ages/species. Layer feed should NEVER be given to growing ducklings as the calcium level is too high and can result in damage or death.
    An ideal protein feeding schedule is given in the table below. Again, this is not always a possibility for many people.

    Age

    0-2 weeks

    2-8 weeks

    8-20 weeks

    First egg
    Protein level

    18-20%

    16-18%

    15-16%

    16-18%










    Medicated feed (in the US) can be given depending on the type of medication that is used. Medications such as amprolium and zinc bacitracin are not harmful to ducklings. Ducks have a higher body temperature and are not as prone to many illnesses. Coccidiosis is usually not a problem for ducklings unless sanitation is poor. Therefore, feeding medicated feed is not a necessity.
    Feeders should be shallow for the first few days. Jar lids, egg carton flats or anything that will not tip but is very low will work. Once eating well, they can be switched to troughs.
    Whole grains should not be given until ducklings are several weeks old.
    Niacin
    If ducklings are fed chick starter a niacin supplement should be given for the first 10 weeks. Brewer’s yeast can be added to feed (2-3 cups per 10 lbs of feed) or niacin tablets can be added to water (100-150mg per gallon).
    Grit
    Ducklings do not need grit if they are fed only commercial feed. If grains or greens are fed, they need appropriate size grit.
     
    2 people like this.
  5. mrslamb

    mrslamb Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks, I had read through that before, it seems like the percentages of protein are different depending who you talk to. The place we got them from had higher percentages than that too I think. My chick feed says "Chick Starter Grower Feed Crumbles" Any problem that the word grower is in there? It's not medicated but talks about probiotics in there.. From reading around on here though it sounded like chick starter was fine though so I figured it was ok.
     
  6. Ren2014

    Ren2014 Blessed Beyond Hope Premium Member

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    Chick starter is fine. We feed Dumor Chick starter from Tractor Supply. No problem that the word grower is in there. I wasn't aware of the need for a Niacin supplement until our ducklings were already 10 weeks when I read the Storey guide. Our feed label says it has a Niacin supplement in it so apparently it was enough or we just got lucky. Good luck with your babies[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2014
  7. Carcajou

    Carcajou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] You can feed Purina FlockRaiser or equivalent to your ducks for their entire life. During the laying season I supplement with some layer feed. You can also put out oyster shell which they will consume as they need.
     
  8. HollyDuckFarmer

    HollyDuckFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think the reason you are getting different #s from different people is bcz just about every person does things their own way, and as @Speceider has posted previously, and as many other will attest, ducks are generally tolerant and hardy creatures that are able to adapt and thrive, or at minimum, manage under many different conditions. Perhaps he will be on to elaborate later.

    The fact remains that ducklings do indeed have special nutritional requirements early on. There is rapid growth, size wise and in terms of feathering also. The nutrition you supply your ducklings supports this. I offer a high protein early on, and up to the stage of full feather development. The risk of providing a high protein diet includes, but is not limited to, angel wing deformity. So you do not want too high a protein for too long. I have available to me a Duck Feed of 16% protein by Armada Grain Company, that I feed interchangeably with Layer Pellets for my adults, and along with free ranging, all is well. But with ducklings, go with a chick starter. For 2-3 weeks at least, I like Dumor also. From week 3 and on, your ducklings are still growing and developing, and they still need good extra nutrition until they are fully feathered.

    Thee pics look fine to me!

    Hi @Carcajou! :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014

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