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Feeding boy and girl ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Duck Hill, Nov 10, 2015.

  1. Duck Hill

    Duck Hill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I live in upstate South Carolina. There is no duck or waterfowl food here except Mazuri at $40/bag - too pricey for my mixed flock of 14 birds (4 hens, 3 ducks, 7 drakes).

    HENS and DUCKS: I am feeding the hens and ducks Purina Layena with a bit of rabbit chow and scratch grains (plus some occasional time free-ranging). I'm hoping the rabbit chow will provide some of the extra niacin the ducks need. Not sure if there is enough in those foods for the ducks. I sometimes add yeast but I know they need a lot and that is expensive...

    DRAKES: I'm not sure what to feed the drakes. I know they can't be on lay pellets long term because those have too much calcium. At this time I am feeding them mixed rabbit chow, flock raiser and scratch. The problem is the flock raiser is in crumbles form and most of that ends up in the water bucket because it sticks in their mouths. They do much better with pelleted food... but I can't find a low calcium pelleted food in my area. Any ideas on what to feed drakes for a healthy low-calcium mix?
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Can you find poultry grower pellets?

    And are you protecting the females? Drakes can cause serious injury or worse. Bear with me if you have already explained that on another thread.
     
  3. lomine

    lomine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would agree about feeding a grower feed. Also wanted to add that they only need the additional niacin for the first 10 weeks.
     
  4. Duck Hill

    Duck Hill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for your comments. Overrun with runners: At this point my ducks and drakes are still all getting along - it's fall, they're all only four months old (June 4th) and they don't try any hanky-panky while walking around. I keep a close eye when I give them access to water. I have almost finished separate pens.

    Out of the brooder: Are you sure about the niacin? I have tried Nutrena Feather Fixer mixed about half and half with scratch to get the protein level down. This works in terms of being a pellet, but I'm not sure if this is a balanced diet for my drakes. I want to make sure they have enough niacin, and I'm worried about using Nutrena, as my ducklings (when young) developed a niacin deficiency while being on Nutrena All-Flock as their main (80-90%) source of food. They are all now over four months old and adult in size.
     
  5. lomine

    lomine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They do not need the additional niacin anymore. I don't know about the feather fixer and scratch mix. I haven't looked at labels for feather fixer but isn't that one of higher protein feeds? From what I understand scratch is meant to be a treat for chickens and not a feed. If it is mostly corn it is not the best thing for the birds, basically empty calories.

    I use Purina Flock Raiser (crumble) mixed with oats to reduce the protein levels but I know that there are limited options in feed stores for some. I use buckets with nipples for the water provided next to their feed so I don't get much food waste or mucky water. If you can get a grower feed that's meant for chickens that would be good.

    Honestly, if you want to make it easier on yourself you can just feed everyone the flock raiser or grower feed and offer additional oyster shell for the layers. They will know how much additional calcium they need and just eat what they need.
     
  6. User353335

    User353335 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Last edited: Nov 13, 2015
  7. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    When I cut protein, I had a 27% protein starter crumbles. I added one part oats to 4 parts crumbles to bring the protein down to recommended levels. I feel half and half is reducing the protein as well as nutrients too much, maybe. What is the protein% of the feed you are trying to adjust?

    -Amiga
     
  8. CyndiD

    CyndiD Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Hi Amiga, can ducks & drakes eat Dry COB (corn, oat, barley. Dry means there is no molassas)? My ducks are 4 months, 7 months & 2 are 1.5 yrs old, (16 total, 5 drakes & 11ducks/hens & 5 of my ducks have been laying eggs for 1 month ); you mentioned starter feed mixed with oats, in this post, is this a good feed for me to feed my ducks and drakes, even the ones laying? as long as i provide oyster shell for the layers. I currently feed "grower finisher" crumble, I sure wish it came in pellet form, to all my ducks, but for the ducks who are laying i also add layer pellets (about 50-50%). This way of feeding makes me have to seperate (at feeding time) the ducks who are laying, the ducks that aren't and the drakes. I sure would love to find a much easier way of feeding. Between cleaning pens/sleeping quarters, seperating ducks, letting some ducks out together, keeping the drakes seperate from the hens a couple times a week to give them a break, and then getting them back into their sleeping quarters and locking them up each night, oh and changing their pools (3) every 2 days, I am exhaused and have little time for much else. I am overwhelmed and seriously need some help and suggestions from anyone. Thank you very much!!!
     
  9. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    I am not sure I understand the question fully. As a small part of their diet, I don't know of a problem with COB. But I would not go more than maybe 10 to 15% of their food.

    Having a mixed flock - can be challenging, but there is something called Flock Raiser that a number of people feed to their mixed flocks, then they set out free choice crushed oyster shell for the ducks. Often I read that drakes and non-laying ducks won't bother with the oyster shell. In my experience, Bean, our drake, hasn't taken oyster shell that I have seen, while Hazel is crazy for it.

    My issue is that probably half my female Runners are not interested in oyster shell at all...

    There can be times when the labor to keep everything optimum is very demanding. My thought is that the little ones are going to be grown fairly soon, and no one will need special feed if you can just use the grower/finisher. Crumbles - yes, that's not ideal. Would wetting the food help? Works for some, not for others.
     
  10. CyndiD

    CyndiD Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Amiga; sorry if i wasnt clear. you mentioned in your post about feeding a "starter" crumble mixed w/oats. my Q is, can older ducks (any age) eat a "starter" feed? i thought a starter feed was only for the first few months of life?
    then you replied to my post about using "flock raiser", i was using flock raiser for all my ducks when they were 2months and older, then people were saying that flock raiser was too high in protein for young ducks. so i switched to "grower finisher", and then wahen (some of) my ducks/hens started laying that is when i added the layer pellets to the grower finisher feed.
    you mentioned wetting the feed, i will try this and see if they eat more of the feed, rather than it ending up in the bottom of the water dish.
    thank you for your reply and for your encouragement. i appreciate you. Can you tell me what you feed your ducks?
     

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