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Feeding Ducklings

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by angiegreenmcbee, Mar 3, 2016.

  1. angiegreenmcbee

    angiegreenmcbee Just Hatched

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    How long will my ducklings (1 week old) need to have access to food during the day? Right now I feed them at 7 am, then I have my dog walker and housekeeper refreshing the food at 10 am and 2 pm, and then I am home at 5 to feed them. Do they need this constant access to food?

    I know that at some point they will need to eat on a schedule, but I'm not sure when.

    Thanks in advance for your help!
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Welcome!

    This thread - especially the first entry - is a good summary of the considerations for raising ducklings.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/750869/raising-and-caring-for-ducklings#post_10611711

    You are right to give them food (with water - very important) 24/7 at this point.

    My Runners have almost always had food with water 24/7. I came up with a watering station that makes a tremendous difference in reducing wetness in the night pen.

    When they were about two months old, I started keeping food and water out of the brooder overnight - for no more than 8 hours. I had not yet figured out the water management. But now, I think I've got it, and life is so much better.

    Please keep us posted, we love duckling and duck stories!

    @angiegreenmcbee
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2016
  3. anmog

    anmog Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi everyone. I used to have two Pekins many years ago and now I have ducklings again. I have five right now. There are three that I believe are Khaki Campbell (I bought them at Tractor Supply two weeks ago) and two that are Pekins. I am considering going back to see if they have any older ducklings around the age of mine to buy one to make an even number.

    Anyway, we are in the process and almost done building a two story coop. The top story is for the chicks (there are six) and the bottom will be for the ducks. I will take a picture tomorrow to upload. I have a plastic lattice on the bottom with a tough screen on top of that all are nailed and screwed down into the sides that are 2x4's. The wood sides extend all the way to the bottom so a draft can't come up from the bottom and chill them.

    I have a big waterer and feeder hanging down to give them water and feed them. I have a brooder light in there with a protector so nothing can fly into it. They have 24/7 access to food and water right now. Tomorrow the "upstairs" will be ready for the chicks and I am thinking of actually doing PVC pipe to feed and water the chickens up there. Up there they will have sand on the flooring. Down below I made the mesh screen floor for the ducks so I can easily clean it in there and spray it down and droppings or extra water will drop through the screen to the floor underneath.

    I bought the NON MEDICATED dumor feed for chickens for all of the them as advised by the tractor supply employee. I guess I am wanting to know if it would be better for me to pick up a bag of duck crumble tomorrow at TSC or the local AG center. I kind of remember that the chickens feed can attribute to angel wing because of the high protein content. Any suggestions?

    So anyway, after reading this thread the idea is to give these little ones food and water 24/7 access but also try to keep it dry in there too, right?

    I'm hoping to grow a small container garden for them to feed on fresh things. I'm going to make a mobile yard after the chicken/duck coop/tractor is a lot heavier than we anticipated due to the 2x4's and plywood we had to use to make it strong and sturdy. It's also about 14 feet high at the highest point upstairs.

    Do you know what type of ducklings you bought angiegreenmcbee?

    Amiga- it's always great to see you.
     
  4. angiegreenmcbee

    angiegreenmcbee Just Hatched

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    I have two Cayugas cut with silver. I think one will be pure black when grown.

    I've never had ducks (or chickens or even parakeets!) before so this is a learning experience. I have lots of questions.

    I'd like to hear about your watering system, @Amiga .

    My babies are house ducks, and they have little diapers on the way, but they're not here yet. I have them in the bathtub when I'm not supervising them, and in a large Pak-n-Play when I'm home. I just drag it with me like a giant unwieldy wagon.

    I try to pet them and cuddle them and give them treats out of my hand (squashed baby peas), but they still seem so afraid of me. They run and struggle when I pick them up, but then quiet down and sit on my shoulder or behind my neck. I'm going to have to be able to handle them to diaper them, but I'm worried that they will never really be like "pets." Any thoughts?
     
  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

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    These are my watering stations - and here are some links you may find helpful.


    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/641902/created-a-water-saver-for-my-duck-brooder

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/679433/water-water-everywhere/10

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/858161/feed-water-solution-for-brooder#post_12901321

    http://frankiemakes.blogspot.ca/2012/06/watering-solution-for-ducks.html

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/259876/do-your-ducks-have-water-at-night/10#post_13568197

    post number 8 from this
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/959603/ducklings-getting-stuck-on-their-backs#post_14939819

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/969751/help-baby-ducklings#post_15125952

    @anmog thanks, and hooray for ducklings! Take a look at the Raising Ducklings sticky - it covers feed concerns pretty well if I recall correctly. It's been debated about the protein, but I have seen time and again that ducklings have neurological and leg problems on chick starter - not enough B vitamins, especially niacin, so many folks add brewers yeast - one tablespoon per cup of food for the first eight to twelve weeks.
     
  6. anmog

    anmog Out Of The Brooder

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    I have brewers yeast tabs that have garlic I gave to my dog. Would this be ok? I can buy niacin but will it harm the chicks? I looked again and could not find water fowl feed. The weather is up and down here in temp but not too bad. I've brought them outside in a pen areas that I have moved to two different locations during the warm part of the day. We watch them in there and have introduced them to the bunny. That went well but we still watch them. I made a water tank out of a big square water bottle that I cut two rectangle slits in. Its helped to keep it less messy. I made a pvc feeder in the pen but the feed was spilling out of the bottom and so I tilted it and put a cap on the top out of a washed off koolaid lid.

    I like your water stations. Its clever.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
  7. Sristi

    Sristi Out Of The Brooder

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    My Storeys duck book by David Holderread recommends giving ducklings free choice food only for the first two weeks. After that give them three meals a day, as much as they can eat in 10 - 15 minutes. Make sure that all the ducklings can reach the feeder well. Ducklings grow very fast and are pigs about their food. Unless you're growing out roasting ducks, you want to limit their food and maintain their growth at a slower rate. This is how I've been raising my ducklings, and they do really well especially when i set up a pen and let them forage around too. It makes me nervous to keep ducks solely on starter/grower ration. Also, my ducklings have done very well on the Dumor chick and duckling starter/grower. It has a picture of both a chick and a duckling on it. I've tried other brands in my area (no waterfowl feed available) and some of my birds got neurological problems despite the labeling as duck suitable. Good luck with your ducklings! They're so much fun.
     
  8. cayugaducklady

    cayugaducklady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I raised cayuga ducklings last year and will be starting my next batch next week.

    I handled mine every day. I picked each up and practiced looking at feet/bills/ body.

    I also sat on the floor near them while they swam in the bathtub every night and I hand dried them with towels.

    I also hand fed them treats after bath time.

    Last years ducks will be a year old in May. I can still pick them up when I need to.

    I kept food available 24/7 the whole time they were in the brooder, the whole time they were in their teenager pen and now that they're permanently outside.

    I knew exactly how much food they were eating, though, because I measured it every morning when i cleaned & refilled feeders.

    I had 3 feeding stations plus grit: starter crumble station, oatmeal station and chopped greens/mashed veggies and baby grit.

    I mixed probiotics, brewers yeast & a kelp mix together & mixed it with the oatmeal station.

    I used the feeding guidelines from Storey's guides to ducks to guestimate how much to feed each morning plus a little extra for spillage/pooping.. because I had one duckling that HAD to stand in the middle of the pan to eat no matter waht it was. She still does that an adult, too.

    Last years ducks wouldnt touch Dumor or Manna Pro grit from our local TSC. Lots of people do very well on those so I can only guess that my local TSC isn't storing properly or my ducks are just weirdos :).
     
  9. anmog

    anmog Out Of The Brooder

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    Wow. Cayugas are so cute. Thanks for the feeding tips. We have bad weather better but hopefully I will be able to get some niacin and brewers yeast. Is a brewers yeast garlic tab for my dug ok to crush and put in with feed?
     
  10. cayugaducklady

    cayugaducklady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not sure the tab is OK for ducklings. I'm not a very experienced duck keeper as I haven't even made it through my first year yet.

    This is what I used for my ducklings be cause I couldn't find any locally. I'm the only duck keeper in my town.

    http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Labrat...493&sr=8-1&keywords=brewers+yeast+for+animals


    That 5lb bag goes a long way. I didn't run out until my ducks were adults and past the point where they really needed it. At the time I thought I wouldn't be raising ducklings again so soon.

    This is the guide I used for ducklings after my first brooder plan didnt work out so well: http://www.fresheggsdaily.com/p/duck-care-guide.html . It worked for me but i honestly dont know if there is a better one to use.

    I didn't find BYC until after one of my ducklings jumped out of the hatchery mailing box and injured a leg.
     
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