So last time I had ducklings, I just mixed their starter with cracked corn to bring the protein down after they were a few weeks old. They did fine (actually one got angel wing, but I'm still not sure what to blame that on), but I remember having oats recommended in place of the corn, as it's a healthier grain. So this time, after some research, I picked up a 50lb. bag of rolled oats (9.5% protein) for $20 (with tax) from our local feed store. Upon getting it home and opening it, I discovered that it wasn't rolled - it was still whole, uncrushed grains. Yesterday I returned it to get a replacement, but the other bags they'd had in their shipment were whole oats, too. They were very apologetic, and I know it wasn't their fault at all, but I left with a refund and no oats. So I drove ten minutes to the next town over to try the feed store there, and picked up a bag of rolled oats for about $23. On getting home (they had had to grab it from their back storage room, so I didn't get a chance to look at the bag in-store) I realized that it was a bag of rolled oat GROATS and the protein was 15%. NO!! I'm sure it's a great high-quality nutritious grain, but it's not going to help me bring protein down from an 18% Chick Starter to 16% unless I feed them pretty much ALL oats. So I put the bag in our porch to be returned (I hope they'll take it back...it's unopened), and my mom checked another feed store while she was running errands - they had rolled oats, but it was more expensive than either of the other stores, and it was 12% protein - I would have to mix it at a 2:1 ratio to get the right protein, and that's too much oats if I'm understanding the fiber content thing correctly. So I told her not to get it. Anyway...so now I have a oat-availability dilemma and I'm trying to figure out what to do. I have pretty much three options: #1 - Do a 3-way mix: of Chick Starter, cracked corn, and oatmeal. It'd be about 5 parts Starter, 1.3 parts cracked corn, at 0.25-0.5 part oatmeal (either 5 or 10% of mix would be oatmeal). (5 cups Starter, 1-1/3 corn, 1/4-1/2 cups oatmeal). - In this way of doing it, I'm really not sure whether it's cheaper than getting a 50lb. bag of oats, but when (assuming that weight will mimic volume ratios) using 50lb. of Starter, I'd go through 13 lbs of corn and only 2.5-5 lbs. of oatmeal. Starter costs $15 a bag, corn either about $7 for 10lbs or $12 for 50lb., and oatmeal about $7 for almost 5lb. (two 42oz. containers). So that'd be $32 for 68lb. of feed. Kind of pricey. #2 - Use whole oats, ignore protein content. I can get a 50lb. bag of whole oats from one of our feed stores for only $12 or so, but I'm not sure on the protein content. I'm guessing it's around 12%, since this store's rolled oats are 12%. To really get 16% protein, I would have to mix at a 2:1 Starter-Oats ratio, and that's 33% oats, way too much fiber, and they lose all the other non-oat nutrients they're getting in that amount of Chick Starter. So if I did this, I would just do a 3:1 Starter-Oat ratio and hope the protein level is low enough - if my calculations are correct, I'd have a 16.5% protein feed. - My other concern with this is that they won't eat the whole oats. I was hoping for rolled because they're easier to eat and digest nutrients (or so I've read...and it makes sense to me). They're only 4.5 weeks old (really should have been lowering protein for a while now) and are about half the size of an adult, and I'm not sure whether they will or are able to eat it. They have been eating oatmeal without much problem. - So if I did this, I could get 100lbs. of feed (though would need more bags of Starter to use all of the oats) for only $27. Lot cheaper, I guess. #3 - Forget about the oats and just use corn! I could mix cracked corn again at 5:1 ratio to get about a 16% protein content. - I think this would be about the same cost as a option #2, about $27 for 100 lbs. The corn would last longer though - probably too long. I would have to use 5 bags of Starter to get through the corn, and with only 3 ducklings and their mother eating, I'm not sure that will happen. But that's okay. I can give the leftover corn to a friend or just toss it afterward, or use it up as scratch. Which option would you recommend? My apologies for this way-too-long post.