Healthy diet for female Pekin ducks?


Aug 8, 2020
Hello! I am a new duck mom to two female Pekin ducks who are about 4 months old. I was wondering what a healthy diet is for them because I know they are often used as meat ducks and can have leg issues due to excess weight gain. I currently feed them the Purina Duck Pellets along with some peas, (no junk food at all like bread) but I worry they are going to get too fat and not be able to walk. Currently I feel they are a little on the chunky side and I want to fix it before it becomes an issue. Right now I leave their pellets out for them and they eat as they please, should I only feed them in morning and at night?
Also, they aren’t laying yet but when they do should I switch to all flock layer feed because I have chickens too or is the duck pellet food okay for them? and I will supplement oyster shells as well. Sorry I just want to make sure I’m taking good care of them so anything helps!! Even any tips you have for taking care of ducks please comment and let me know!!
Hi, the Purina duck feed should be fine for them but I wouldn't feed it to the chickens. I just let my ducks eat as much as they want but if they seem to be getting overweight you could switch to a set amount of food each day for them. Make sure while the girls are laying they have access to oyster shell. Peas are always a good treat and also just whatever bugs and greens they eat while foraging. As long as they are active during the day they shouldn't have too much of a problem with overeating but if you think yours are more overweight than usual you can just adjust the diet accordingly. Could you send some pics of them?
It is really challenging to assess avian weight condition by observing birds. Even avian veterinarians feel the breast on either side of the keel bone before determining body score - on all birds, not just ducks. Pekins are particularly fluffy and waddly, in my experience, even when they are thin. So it can be hard to tell visually when they are overweight.

Even knowing that vets feel beside the keel bone, when my own pekin was walking slower, more waddly, and more "fluffy" than my other sleek ducks (welsh harlequin, cayuga, ect) I was worried that she was overweight and I took her to the vet. They told me she was thin and tested her for parasites!! I'm glad I didn't put her on a diet.

To feel for appropriate body condition first find the keel bone. Then feel the breast below the crop on either side. If the breast tissue is bulging above the keel your birds may be overweight. If it is very concave your birds may be underweight. I attached this photo which may help you. Keep in mind it is for parrots, and ducks tend to be a little more thin than parrots. At least that is what my avian vets tell me when I'm concerned that my ducks are too thin.


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I have two pekins who each way 10 pounds. One practically drags on the ground her carriage is so low, and one looks much slimmer and normal. I was so surprised to learn that they weighted the same!
I have two pekins who each way 10 pounds. One practically drags on the ground her carriage is so low, and one looks much slimmer and normal. I was so surprised to learn that they weighted the same!
In my experience sometimes that, "under belly," can be inflammation due to reproductive activity. It can be completely normal. With other symptoms it could indicate a problem.
The low hanging undercarriage you see tends to develop after laying where there is greater internal pressure inside the body during ovulation and egg-laying that causes expansion of the skin underneath. When you feel it, for the most part, it feels like a sag of fat. Conditions like Egg yolk peritonitis, ascites, or salpingitis cause a distended look, but appears more rather bloated. With two of those conditions, it feels like a water balloon as well.

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