Grain-fed -VS- Free Range

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Bleenie, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. Bleenie

    Bleenie Wyan-DO's

    We had free range Muscovies for MANY years and never, ever had a problem with their health & so far I have had no problems with my Grain-fed Muscovies(or other ducks), WITH the exception of Sidneys brief walking problem. ( [​IMG] )

    I've recently seen lots of stuff about Niacin levels & bumblefoot and other issues with ducks.

    What are the Pros/Cons of Free Ranging & Grain feeding(penned up birds)???

    My Muscovies are currently penned & free ranging nearly everyday on our large property, with access to a large creek & mucky, duck heaven, pond. So they eat penty of bugs, grass, greens & probably, currently, LOTS of Salmon eggs!! They also only drink natural spring water & creek water (same).

  2. CityChicker

    CityChicker Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 21, 2009
    Without a doubt, ducks are in more optimum condition when they have access to lots of space and forage (still locked up at night though). For most people, it is just not practical especially if you have multiple breeds that you keep separate. If you can even just let them have a large open area just during the non-breeding season, they will pretty much always be in better shape. It just makes sense. They have more access to forage. They have more space for exercise. They just all around will look better. They always seem to look the worst in the Fall after the breeding season. The rest of the year, if possible, should be reconditioning them to optimal shape.
  3. Bleenie

    Bleenie Wyan-DO's

    I understand that a lot of people don't have big spaces for all their birds, and that even more people prefer to keep them seperate for breeding. I had the same dilemma & finally decided to rehome my other (non-muscovy) ducks to a farm/pet home.

    I guess i was just looking for opinions from people here that have their birds penned all the time and people that let their birds free range and why they think its better or they prefer it.

    I know when i have had to pen my muscovies, even for short periods of time, they get a little raggedy looking (shredding feathers, plucked tails) and seem not as spunky as they normally would in their bigger pen with free range time. they go spastic when they finally get relocated back to the "big" pen.
  4. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

    Oct 2, 2008
    I prefer to let mine free range, but a hawk put a stop to that [​IMG]
  5. ScoobyRoo

    ScoobyRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2008
    Land of OZ
    By all means free ranging is better for their health IMO. If they are penned up for long periods of time, I think they start picking on one another resulting in ragged appearance. I have a pool in the pen and outside so that they can clean themslelves all the time.
    However, this is my first winter with ducks and geese and I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I know they can do without a pool but if it is warm enough to run the hose, I may fill up the kiddie pool so that they can clean themselves.

    I feed my birds flock raiser along with free ranging but no added supplements.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2009

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