Muscovy ducklings not eating

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by extraordinaryfowl, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. extraordinaryfowl

    extraordinaryfowl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello, I was hoping someone with more experience with ducks might be able to help me as this is my first time raising ducks.

    I am raising a batch of muscovies for meat, and two of the ducklings are not eating and do not seem to be trying to figure out how too. One is very small and I have resorted to hand-feeding it, the other is a little larger and I have seen pick at the food but never really eat. I have separated them and they still do not seem interested in food. They are drinking, and are about 9 days old.

    Anything special with ducklings to get them too eat? I am finding ducks are quite a bit different than chickens. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Frank Phinster

    Frank Phinster Chillin' With My Peeps

    I had a similar problem with one of my ducklings. It was (and still is) smaller than its siblings and did not eat well.

    What are your ducklings doing when they try to eat? What kind of food are you offering to them? Are they picking up food, try to swallow it, shake their heads and let the food fall out of their bills? In that case the pellets ( if you are giving them the typical duckling food) may be too large for them to eat and you should try to break them into smaller pieces and make them soft by mixing them with water. I usually add some water to the food bowl, mix it with the pellets and grind the pellets between my palms. That helped in my case. The duckling found enough small pellets to eat and survived.

    And are you sure that one duckling does not eat at all? They can't go on without food for long so if it is already nine days old it should eat now and then. Or is this a recent develelopment?

    I hope I could help you and that your ducklings will make it [​IMG]
     
  3. extraordinaryfowl

    extraordinaryfowl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, they are on mash. The smallest one I have been hand-feeding which is why it is still alive, the other I've seen once or twice picking at the mash but it is mostly eating small bits of food off the other ducklings bills, when the other ducklings are eating.

    Do you think wetting the food might help?
     
  4. Frank Phinster

    Frank Phinster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Does "mash" mean that it has a consistence like mashed potatoes? I have never heard of someone feeding his ducklings food with such a consistence.
    Wetting might help, but make sure the food does not become a solid paste, make sure that it stays crumby so that they can easiliy pick it up.

    I hope the duckling you have been hand feeding actually learns to eat by itself. It should have the instinct, but sometimes there is just something wrong and the newly hatched simply die.
    What will you do if it just does not start to eat by itself?
    It sounds cruel, but sometimes doing everything to keep problematic ducklings alive can cause more suffering than just letting nature have its way.
    Mind that I am NOT telling you to let them die - but one should know that losses can occur.
     
  5. extraordinaryfowl

    extraordinaryfowl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If it doesn't learn to eat on it's own I will probably cull it. These are for meat, I rarely have ever hand-fed a bird and would never use a bird as a breeder that has been hand-fed. It was about 5 days after it hatched I started hand-feeding, it hadn't started eating. In the countless chickens I've raised I've never had this happen.

    Feed (processed) is generally grouped in 3 categories - Pellets, Crumble and Mash. Mash is ground, not pelleted to any degree. Since I mix my feed mash is sort of my only option besides whole-grain.

    Thanks again
     
  6. Frank Phinster

    Frank Phinster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ah thank you - since English is not my mother tongue I sometimes stumble over words I don't know. So this meaning of "mash" was unkown to me so far.

    Under this circumstances, culling might be the best option, although I would not do it yet and look whether it will start to eat by itself.
     
  7. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Somerville, AL
    Make the feed into a wetter mix than mash, more like a slurry. That way, it can just drink the feed. Ducklings are harder than chicks. Chicks pick at anything thats there, ducklings don't.

    I've also dropped bits of crumbs in front of them and they will see it and nibble at it. You can drop bits into the slurry of feed so that it follows the falling bit and realizes it's food. Make sure your feeder and waterer are close together. They need the water to swallow the feed and that could be the problem.

    I'd hold off on culling for the time being.
     

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