Ducks and medicated chick starter

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by dlhunicorn, Jun 11, 2008.

  1. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    Apparently there is still confusion over this question as I have been asked by several members about it... here is what I have found ....:
    "...Waterfowl may be more sensitive to some drugs than other poultry. Incorrect use of certain medicated feeds formulated for chickens and turkeys could harm ducklings...."
    "...Food: You can use turkey and pheasant breeder crumbles, which has nearly the same nutrients as chick starter but without the medication. Ducks and geese scoop their food rather than peck like chickens and the medication in chick starter can make them sick if eaten in large quantities. You can also use turkey grower if you dilute it somewhat (because of the high protein content) with chopped corn or chick starter. Ducks are foragers and eat grass, bugs (including mosquitoes), frogs, crawfish, minnows, etc. and they drink a large amount of water. If it is necessary for you to keep them in a container like a box or cage, put them outside to run around as much as possible, and make them a pen as soon as you are able so they can eat their favorite stuff. When outside in a pen, the heat lamp or a light bulb will attract bugs. The bugs provides niacin, something very important to duckling growth. A duckling lacking in niacin will act like it has rickets."
    "... Unfortunately, many make the mistake of feeding their ducks and geese chicken feed or worse, feeding medicated chick starter to goslings and ducklings. These feeds are fine for chickens, but waterfowl have unique nutritional needs that chicken feeds cannot supply. Furthermore, medicated chick starters can cause organ damage or even death if ingested in large enough quantities.

    Ducklings and goslings need sufficient niacin in order to develop strong, healthy legs. Signs of niacin deficiency are weak legs and difficulty standing or walking. The condition is often reversible if caught early enough and involves switching to a niacin rich waterfowl feed along with niacin supplementation (brewer's yeast flakes are tasty and rich in niacin). If the dietary deficiency is not corrected, permanent leg damage may result."
    (Louisville Zoo)
    "...Do not give chick starter as this medicated and will make ducklings sick. ..."
    "...Warning: Never give young waterfowl medicated chick feed. Ducklings are voracious eaters and can overdose themselves and die from a medication that is correctly proportioned for chickens. ..."
    "....Medicated feed...until just recently, we told customers that medicated feeds would not hurt waterfowl. However, we have had reports that some of the new feed medications do, in fact, negatively affect waterfowl. We suggest you try and use a non-medicated feed for your ducklings and goslings. Never use a feed containing arsenic for waterfowl...."

    ".....EXTRA CAUTION TO THOSE STARTING DUCKLINGS AND GOSLINGS: Do not feed a "medicated" feed to them - ask your feed dealers advice on this! All major feed companies do make a duck&goose starter. You may have to request your feed store special order this starter feed. If using a non-medicated chick feed, add vitamin-niacin to feed or water. Chicken layer ration has too much calcium for young waterfowl. ..."
    (North Carolina College of Agriculture)
    "" ..... Feed Quality
    Good commercially prepared duck feed, is available from most local feed stores. Some large duck operations may find mixing the complete feed on the farm to be less expensive than purchasing it from a commercial source. Regardless of whether feed is purchased or mixed on the farm, it must be stored away from rodents and insects in a clean, dry place to prevent contamination and mold growth. A pair of rats can eat or contaminate over 100 lbs of feed in a year. Use the feed within 3 weeks of the manufacturer's date and sooner during hot, humid weather to prevent loss of vitamins and mold formation. Stale or bad-smelling feed is evidence of spoilage and possible mold contamination. Never use feed that is moldy because some molds produce toxins which could cause serious health problems or poor growth. Ducks are extremely sensitive to mold toxins. For example, ducks are sensitive to as little as 30 of ppb aflatoxin. Mold toxins can cause damage to the ducks' digestive organs, liver, kidneys, muscles, and plumage, and can also reduce growth and/or reproductive performance.

    The quality of feed ingredients is also very important. Do not use grains that are contaminated with molds, weed seeds, or dirt. Avoid using old vitamin/mineral packs because they lose their effectiveness with time, especially if they are exposed to sunlight or heat.

    Feed Form
    High quality pelleted feed is important to maximize the growth rate and feed efficiency of ducks. Performance will decrease as the amount of fines in a pelleted feed increases. Commercial pellet binders are often used to limit fines and improve pellet integrity. Although ducks can be fed mash feed, growth performance will be reduced by about 10% in comparison to that of ducks fed pelleted feed and feed wastage will be increased.

    Ducklings should be fed a starter diet from hatch to 2 weeks of age. The starter diet should be fed as 1/8 inch (3.18 mm) diameter pellets or as crumbles. After 2 weeks of age, feed a grower diet as 3/16 inch (4.76 mm) diameter pellets.

    Feed Medications to Control Disease
    Ducks exhibit greater resistance to most diseases and parasites than do most domestic fowl. As a consequence, medicated feeds for ducks are used less often than with chickens and turkeys. Presently, there are feed medications available to control the common diseases of ducks: colibacillosis, fowl cholera, salmonellosis, and necrotic enteritis.

    Colibacillosis is a common disease in ducks caused by the bacterium Escherichia coli. E. Coli can cause embryonic and duckling mortality by infecting the yolk sac. Infection of the digestive track and air sacs is most common. Infected ducklings appear droopy and listless and exhibit diarrhea and ocular discharge. Cleanliness of the hatching eggs and good management in the hatchery are necessary for prevention of Colibacillosis. The combination of sulfadimethoxine at 0.05% of the diet and ormetoprim at 0.03% of the diet for a duration of 7 days can reduce or prevent mortality from Colibacillosis in baby ducklings.

    Fowl cholera is a contagious disease of domestic ducks and other birds, caused by the bacterium Pasteurella multocida. Sick ducklings refuse feed and exhibit diarrhea and mucus discharge from the mount. Mortality may be as high as 50%. A concentration of 0.44% chlortetracycline (400 g/ton) in feed is effective in reducing mortality. Treat infected ducks for 5 days. Chlortetracycline binds to calcium in breeder feed, thus a low calcium diet (0.6-0.8%) should be used during the 5 day treatment period.

    Salmonellosis is a common disease of ducks caused by a variety of serotypes of salmonella. Infected ducks are listless, dehydrated, exhibit diarrhea, and show signs of incoordination, and head tremors. Mortality is about 10%. Salmonellosis can be treated with chlortetracycline (.044%) or sulfadimethoxine-ormetoprim (0.04-0.08%) in the feed.

    Necrotic enteritis is a common infectious disease of breeder ducks. The exact cause is not known. Infected ducks are weak and unable to stand, and their digestive tracts are swollen and filled with blood-stained fluids. Mortality is high, approximately 40%. A concentration of 0.02% neomycin sulfate in feed for 2-3 weeks can reduce mortality.

    The effectiveness of a disease prevention program, regardless of feed medication usage, is best under good management and sanitary practices. Try to keep houses clean and dry, and do not allow mud holes and slimy areas to form. Always consult a veterinarian for proper medication usage or if a disease problem is persistent or serious..."
  2. ml

    ml Songster

    Mar 4, 2007
    Maybe a sticky would help out on this one.

  3. skirbo

    skirbo Songster

    Jul 18, 2008
    Walton County, NW FL
    I'm researching ducklings (the adult muscovy were sold before I could get them and I just found some 2 day olds that I can pick up this weekend) so I wanted to bump this, hoping a mod would see it and sticky it.

  4. Laskaland

    Laskaland ThE gRoOvY cHiCkEn

    Aug 2, 2008
    RE: Niacin... Where would someone get the brewer's yeast flakes recommended in one of the articles.

    Thanks very much for this info.
  5. skirbo

    skirbo Songster

    Jul 18, 2008
    Walton County, NW FL
    I would imagine that all the nutritional supplement and health food stores would have it, though it's probably more expensive there than elsewhere.

  6. Parson's Wife

    Parson's Wife Blessed Abundantly

    Jan 22, 2008
    Found this, thought it might be helpful to others with duck issues.
  7. cw

    cw Songster

    Jan 11, 2009
    green co.
    please make this a sticky
  8. duckluck

    duckluck Dulcimyrh Ducks

    Oct 22, 2009
    Quote:I bought pure brewers yeast through Valley Vet's sister site, Valley Health. I did not see any flakes advertised.

    Does anyone know how much I should feed to avoid overdoing it? We're talking 16 call ducks eating food out of two cat sized crock dishes...PLEASE nobody tell me to mix it by the hundredweight, I mix the two bowls of food fresh every day. We're talking maybe a pound of feed, each.

    The pure brewers yeast is pretty rich in B vitamins, and it is 30% RDA iron. This is pretty pure and fresh stuff, nothing added. I am thinking maybe a teaspoon mixed between the two bowls a few times a week? Anyone who has researched this, please weigh in. Personally I don't think with that much the B vitamins could be overdone, as they are water and not fat soluable, but I'd like to get the opinions of people who use it.
  9. nettie

    nettie Enslaved by Indoor Ducks

    Nov 20, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    to sticky this, just hit the "report" button and explain that you want it added to the duck sticky topics section...

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