How bad is it for ducklings to eat layer feed or...

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by maralynn28, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. maralynn28

    maralynn28 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So I have my four ducklings being introduced to the "mama" duck and I'm trying to get them to spend as much time together as possible. The "mama" is eating now (she went on fast when she lost her friends) but very little except when she sees the ducklings eating their food, then she tries to eat all THEIR food.
    She won't eat when she's alone, so I started feeding her when she's with the ducklings but now they want to eat HER food.

    I understand they have different nutritional needs (ducklings are on chick starter 18% with oats and yeast for niacin, "mama" is on Layer feed).

    My question is- is it less harmful for "mama" to eat starter, or for the babies (3-4 wks old) to eat layer? Or should I separate them for feeding time again and watch "mama" lose weight again [​IMG] and just hope she snaps out of it soon? Any other suggestions?

    Thanks in advance! You all are terrific.
     
  2. Duck Mad

    Duck Mad Chillin' With My Peeps

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    From what I know.. The chick feed is to high in protein for older ducks, but older duck food should be harmless to ducklings..
    I had a duckling with older duck.. they both stole each others food and are both very healthy ...
     
  3. The Duck ABC's

    The Duck ABC's Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Layer feed is bad for the ducklings due to the high calcium content. They need grower/developer until they are 3 months old. Chick starter is only needed for the first 2 weeks. I do avoid anything that is over 16% on my Saxony ducks, because they will grow to fast. They don't even get chick starter, I just crush the food to make it easy on them for the first week. You want them to grow slowly to avoid joint problems. This is very important for Saxonies.
     
  4. destinduck

    destinduck obsessed with "ducks"

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    You would do best by letting them all eat layer pellets. I am currently raising 20 baby mallards that hatched in my biggest pen (about 30x70) and the only food thats been given in there is 16% layer pellets and of course what ever else they find. Most of the time though ducklings are in smaller enclosures or brooders and a higher protien is recommended for the first 2weeks but once I see wing pin feathers they all go to layer pellets.
     
  5. maralynn28

    maralynn28 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry, I guess what I have is a starter/grower? I am adding oats to the starter/grower as recommended in Storey's to bring down the protein level so they don't grow too fast. I learned that the hard way the first time when I had a Cayuga develop lazy wing. They also get nutritional yeast for niacin. According to Storey's guide I should give this to them til 8 wks.

    I still have a ton of starter left so I'd rather modify that to be acceptable feed, if anyone has recommendation? They are only 3wks now and if I run out before they are 8wks, then I might consider changing them to a different feed. I definitely don't want the ducklings to get calcium overdose, nor do I want my layer to have any problems due to insufficient calcium or too much protein.

    DuckMad- I am happy to hear your ducks are healthy, I have heard some sad stories about ducklings with calcium overdose and ducks who were eggbound due to lack of it.[​IMG]

    After losing all my other babies, I really want to make sure the rest of them are safe and healthy.
     
  6. destinduck

    destinduck obsessed with "ducks"

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    Your mom is an adult. If you want to feed her higher protien ,do it. It wont hurt her at all. Ive NEVER heard of a calcium overdose FROM layer pellets on babies. You can only hurt your babies from a protien overdose right before the wing feathers begin to emerge. I hope this clarifies things a little [​IMG]
     

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