Floating plants to cut down feeding cost

start living

In the Brooder
Sep 30, 2018
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Hi,

I am doing research about the utilisation of floating plants (mainly duckweed and Azolla) as animal feedstuff. I will be keeping Khaki Campbell layer ducks to produce eggs as some kind of a proof of concept project. So, the idea is to cut down on expensive/unsustainable feedstuff and replace it with floating plants, while keeping up the productivity of the ducks. I plan to feed them mainly whole wheat grain with small amounts of linseed (for essential fatty acids) and brewer's yeast (for micro nutrients).
The recommended daily ration for Khaki Campbell is about 125g concentrate with 16% crude protein (20g) for laying. My ration would provide 97g concentrate with 14.4g of protein. I assume the ducks would get 26g of drymass with 6,8g of protein from foraging (floating plants, greens, water fleas, insects, snails...)

I have dug through the literature and done lots of calculations, however I lack practical experience and would like to ask you if this sounds realistic to you?
20170611_130852.jpg
 

Michael P

Songster
Nov 20, 2017
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Dallas, Texas
I see three different species in the photo: duckweed, azolla, and salvinia. Duckweed is highly palatable to ducks and reproduces at amazing speed. I don't know how nutritious it is as a major component of diet. I have no experience with the other two as duck food.

Unless you live in a tropical climate or are growing these plants in a greenhouse, you will have little growth over the winter.
 

Chad Oftedal

Songster
Premium Feather Member
Dec 29, 2017
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Woodinville, WA
My Coop
My Coop
Unless you live in a tropical climate or are growing these plants in a greenhouse, you will have little growth over the winter.

This is true. It could depend how the OP wanted to feed or obtain the Duckweed. For example, if there is a local aquarium society nearby where they live, they could probably get all the duckweed they can handle for free from members. When I was running a lot of tanks, I couldn't give the stuff away and would just compost it out in the garden. It's a miserable plant - if you don't want it - in aquariums, because just the littlest tiny leaves will keep it reproducing. It's frustrating to eradicate.

Another option - if the OP is just wanting to scoop it out and feed it (i.e. not grow it in a pond) then you could set up some aquarium tanks of your own and you'd just need 72 degree water and light. Give the duckweed an ammonia or nitrate source in the tank water, plenty of light, and it'll go to town.

Anyway, just some thoughts to throw out there.
 

start living

In the Brooder
Sep 30, 2018
36
54
46
20180911_085020.jpg
I have the plants in a pond, free to access for the ducks. Then I have an additional pond inside a polyhouse (picture). As soon as the supply of floating plants stops, I will feed more protein in the concentrate. There is still plenty in both ponds...
 

llombardo

Crowing
Mar 11, 2018
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Illinois
Could you technically grow this in a small pool and move it to the duck pool as a constant daily food source?

if the sun hits it, will it grow? Anything else needed?
 

Michael P

Songster
Nov 20, 2017
121
234
106
Dallas, Texas
Nice set up! How big is the pond in the poly house? Do your ducks eat all the floating species in addition to the duckweed?

Could you technically grow this in a small pool and move it to the duck pool as a constant daily food source?

I scoop duckweed out of my aquariums when I get an infestation and dump it in the duck pond as a treat. Next year I will try growing it in a mini-pond outside as duck food. I agree with Chad, in an aquarium it is a horrible pest.
 

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