Question on ducklings...

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Miss Red, May 20, 2010.

  1. Miss Red

    Miss Red Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 26, 2010
    Trinity, Texas
    I have two four week old giant Peking ducklings. They're nearly a pound now and about the size of a full grown game bird when plucked. They're HUGE, and steadily growing faster.

    The problem I've run into with them is they seem to be out growing their frames. They spend a lot of time laying down or resting. Over heat in 80 degree weather, and seem to walk funny even for a duck.

    Right now its mid 80's low 90's with a high humidity and they're laying next to a metal waterer with ice in it, they're still panting like mad. Is there a way to cool them off without forcing a swim? I can only let them swim inside right now in the tub as I don't have a kiddie pool yet.

    Cold water bottles maybe? More ice in their water? I'm worried about these fast growing quackers.
     
  2. Kim65

    Kim65 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 29, 2009
    Washington state
    I am not an expert on ducks yet but pretty familiar with geese. My first thought is to cut back on their concentrated feed and let them forage more. In my mind I'm seeing those cornish cross chickens who turn into meat monsters at four to five weeks old, and never live beyond several months because they are bred for meat and all the health and longevity are bred out.

    At least cut back on their protein so they don't put so much weight on so fast. About now is the time to cut back on the protein anyway to prevent angel wing. Go to an all purpose poultry feed (about 16%) and give it to them twice a day in a set amount so their hunger causes them to eat more grass and bugs.

    I also had giant meat turkeys (sort of an accidental/impulsive buy) and they grew so huge and meaty they could barely walk. I sold them on craigslist because it was awful to watch them and know they would outgrow their own hearts and bones.

    What is your purpose for them? To keep as yard candy or to eat? Either way let them forage more to slow down their growth. They sound bred to grow fast and be butchered soon.
     
  3. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    The first thing that came to my mind is shade. Ducks can overheat. Can they keep themselves out of the sun? Even an old table would be nice for them. They don't even need a kiddie pool. A smaller tub will do for now. The kiddie pool is more fun for sure. Walmart sell the small ones for 10 dollars. It is only 6" deep, but my ducks love it as is.
    Katharina
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2010
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    You can cut the protein in their feed and add some fiber by adding one part rolled oats (not instant) to five parts feed. See if that helps. But they can overheat, I agree with suggestions for shade. Even a big old pan filled with water for dipping their toes or heads in might help. Panting can also be a sign of nervousness. Anything going on out in the yard that might make them nervous?
     
  5. Miss Red

    Miss Red Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Most of their diet is greens right now, I cut them back when I realized Pekings were bred foring especially the giant breed. They get greens, fresh air, clean water.

    It could be stress, they were just moved to the outdoor run two days ago and spent their first night outside last night. They have a 8x8 covered area available to hide under for shade, as well as an old dog crate that was halved down the crease to create hiding spots for them.

    I'll try cutting back their protien, adjusting their feed, and giving them the rolled oats and see how that works out. I will post pictures of their size / over growth shortly let me go snatch some updated pictures. Their just getting feathers so forgive their awkward stage.
     
  6. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

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    4 week olds spend a lot of time resting. My Welsh Harlequins are about the same age. They walk. Lay down. Walk. Lay down. Walk. Lay down...

    [​IMG]

    Make sure they are getting enough niacin. I add crushed brewer's yeast tablets to their water.

    As for protein... I feed 24% game bird feed plus give fresh greens to all my ducks and my quail. Young ducks use protein to build those legs. Doesn't make sense to cut back on a needed nutrient while they are growing so quickly.

    Shade is very important for them as is good drinking water and a kiddie pool for play if you have the room.
     
  7. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    By the way, my runners went through a really skittery stage from three to five weeks - it was easy for them to panic. I think the adolescent hormones really jazz their little wires.
     
  8. Miss Red

    Miss Red Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 26, 2010
    Trinity, Texas
    I know I have one female, she's quacking. Or trying to, the male (who is easily stressed if you sneeze wrong) hasn't attempted quacking yet and does a wierd whistle when he's lost sight of his friend.
    Pictures are downloading now they'll be uploaded in ten. When I went out they were laying next to the feeder gobbling away, and didn't start the panting until I removed the feed and attempted to get pictures. If its stress I can create a hiding spot for them to get away from everything and it'll help, right?

    Also, they're still on the starter feed I got from the feed store. Non medicated, 18 percent protien. They also get tons of bugs, millet grass is growing in the pen and they tear that stuff up faster than its growing, and have free access to water just not a waterer large enough to swim in.

    Could the crazy antics of the BA chicks their in with be stressing them? The chicks act like speed racers and zoom EVERYWHERE. They're never walking. Either flapping and running or running.
     
  9. Chickie Mamma

    Chickie Mamma Farmer at Heart

    Apr 20, 2008
    Sherman, CT
    Quote:I agree, a small tub would do for now, til you get a kiddie pool. A table is a great idea too, one of my ducks free range and hangs out with my kids all day, she seeks shelter from the sun under my chair usually. Ice in the water is a good idea to cool down internally too. I have the $10 Walmart special too and it is perfect... can easily empty, and won't pop like the inflatable ones.
     
  10. Miss Red

    Miss Red Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 26, 2010
    Trinity, Texas
    The two of them together, leaving their shaded area to the other shaded area.
    [​IMG]

    This is their view from above just a week ago.
    [​IMG]

    Cheech and Chong heading off to their cubby hole to hide.
    [​IMG]

    Chong in the chair
    [​IMG]

    Chong again
    [​IMG]

    An above view of Chong from today
    [​IMG]

    Chong doing the panting thing.
    [​IMG]

    For size comparison, Chong is the white blob hiding under the crate the black blob next to her is a five week old BA chick. The ducklings are MUCH larger than them. The white chick OUTSIDE of the crate is Ducky, my dwarfed EE chick.
    [​IMG]


    Now they may just be growing normally for giants but they're going to be pets so I'm worried about them....
     

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