Feeding schedule

Guernsy

Songster
Jun 5, 2020
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Hello
I am a pretty new chicken and duck owner. 10 chickens and 4 ducks (2 Pekins and 2 black runners). They are all still pretty young and not laying at all. The chickens are between 5 and 8 weeks old (give or take) and the ducks are between 5 and 7 weeks old.
So far I have been winging it and just following what I have read on the internet and what the feed store told me where I got the babies.
Well, it looks like I have been spoiling and overfeeding my birds.
To begin with, they all had water and feed available 24/7. That was a constant mess with the ducks. I already learned not to give them food nor water during the night, good call. Since I have moved most of them into their coop, I also have taken away food at night. No more food for chickens in the coop at night, only water. I am worried about rats. I have these self-made (internet) PVC pipe feeders in the run, that I can close off at night, which I will open up in the morning. So the ducks and chickens all have access to unlimited feed. The ducks seem to try to eat their feed first and then try the chick feed.
I will let them out of the run after about an hour and they will free roam in the yard for most of the day. However, they will eat whatever they can find. From plants to weeds to fruits that have fallen off the trees. Twice a day I used to feed them a big plate of veggies. I also learned that this was too much and cut it down to once now. However, the ducks start complaining around 2 pm, if I don't bring them veggies or fruit. Have I spoiled them already? How do I unspoil them? They quack really loud.
So the big question is, how much food is each animal supposed to eat per day? Feed and veggies? Do they need veggies at all or is that considered a treat?
Thanks
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
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Jul 23, 2018
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Hello
I am a pretty new chicken and duck owner. 10 chickens and 4 ducks (2 Pekins and 2 black runners). They are all still pretty young and not laying at all. The chickens are between 5 and 8 weeks old (give or take) and the ducks are between 5 and 7 weeks old.
So far I have been winging it and just following what I have read on the internet and what the feed store told me where I got the babies.
Well, it looks like I have been spoiling and overfeeding my birds.
To begin with, they all had water and feed available 24/7. That was a constant mess with the ducks. I already learned not to give them food nor water during the night, good call. Since I have moved most of them into their coop, I also have taken away food at night. No more food for chickens in the coop at night, only water. I am worried about rats. I have these self-made (internet) PVC pipe feeders in the run, that I can close off at night, which I will open up in the morning. So the ducks and chickens all have access to unlimited feed. The ducks seem to try to eat their feed first and then try the chick feed.
I will let them out of the run after about an hour and they will free roam in the yard for most of the day. However, they will eat whatever they can find. From plants to weeds to fruits that have fallen off the trees. Twice a day I used to feed them a big plate of veggies. I also learned that this was too much and cut it down to once now. However, the ducks start complaining around 2 pm, if I don't bring them veggies or fruit. Have I spoiled them already? How do I unspoil them? They quack really loud.
So the big question is, how much food is each animal supposed to eat per day? Feed and veggies? Do they need veggies at all or is that considered a treat?
Thanks
Anything other than their basic complete diet is a treat and is not necessary. Treats are for the benefit of the human caring for the flock, not the flock.
You have conditioned them into expecting treats at specific times. Perhaps every time they see you. If you want the quacking to stop, you have to stop all treats so they will not come to recognize you as a walking treat dispenser. Once the loud quacking stops for a couple of weeks, you can give them a handful of something at infrequent, random times to prevent them thinking that every time you walk in their area they are going to get a goody.
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
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The main worries with treats are:
--protein. Most treats don't have enough, so you want to be sure they eat enough normal food to provide the protein they need.
--calories. If they eat too much total food, they can get fat, which is bad for them.
--vitamins/minerals. The food is supposed to be properly balanced, but with treats they may get too little of something, and extra of other things.

Obviously, some treats are bigger issues than others. Some people say not to give much watermelon (little nutrition.) Others say it's fine (water they can eat!) And so forth for any other treat you can name.

My personal view: I think it's fine for them to have as many fruits and veggies as they want, as long as they also have as much complete feed as they want during the time they're awake. But if they are being allowed outside to eat grass and other things--those count as veggies they can pick for themselves!

About the ducks that quack for their afternoon snack: if you want to give them a snack, go ahead. Or you can choose to give them less, or to just ignore the quacking. Right now, they expect it, but if you quit giving it, their expectations can eventually change.
 
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Guernsy

Songster
Jun 5, 2020
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215
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Anything other than their basic complete diet is a treat and is not necessary. Treats are for the benefit of the human caring for the flock, not the flock.
You have conditioned them into expecting treats at specific times. Perhaps every time they see you. If you want the quacking to stop, you have to stop all treats so they will not come to recognize you as a walking treat dispenser. Once the loud quacking stops for a couple of weeks, you can give them a handful of something at infrequent, random times to prevent them thinking that every time you walk in their area they are going to get a goody.
This all makes sense. I am realizing I have to watch my treat feeding. I am just wondering how do ducks do that in nature? They don't have feed. They just live off whatever they can find. How do they get all the nutrition they need, such as enough niacin and protein?
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
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I am just wondering how do ducks do that in nature? They don't have feed. They just live off whatever they can find. How do they get all the nutrition they need, such as enough niacin and protein?

Wild ducks eat bugs, fish, worms, slugs, plants, other plants, seeds of wild plants, etc.
They also do not grow as big as most domestic ducks, and lay eggs only in the springtime, not year-round.

Feeding 90% complete feed and no more than 10% treats is an excellent starting point for people who are new to keeping chickens and ducks. It's simple to understand, and usually works well.

Feeding 100% feed is usually cheaper than buying treats, and the birds stay just as healthy.

Feeding larger amounts of other things can be done, and works fine for some people, but the details are more complicated and are harder to explain clearly. So some people just don't, and some people ease into it gradually, and some people have always done it that way (because they grew up with someone who did it that way.)
 

Folly's place

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Sep 13, 2011
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Also, ducks are very messy and spread water everywhere, which is bad for chickens, who do well in a dryer environment. Many people house their ducks separately from their chickens, and can still have them free range outside together.
Do consider having them in separate coops and runs!
Mary
 

Guernsy

Songster
Jun 5, 2020
118
215
116
Also, ducks are very messy and spread water everywhere, which is bad for chickens, who do well in a dryer environment. Many people house their ducks separately from their chickens, and can still have them free range outside together.
Do consider having them in separate coops and runs!
Mary
I have two different duck coops. One just got done yesterday. The chickens have their own coop. However, they share the run together and during the day when we are home they all free-range and are naughty together.
 

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