Scratch? and a few other q's?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by TLWR, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm still not sure.
    Do they need it or not?


    I started picking stuff up today and will try to get everything ready this weekend before I pick up ducklings.
    I'll be using our large dog kennel and put them on the patio since it is hot out there. Need to find our light. Lows of mid 70's and 80s at night - will an energy efficient coil bulb be warm enough, or do I need to go out and get the old style light bulbs. (kennel is great dane sized, so it will start out on top quite a ways above them or I can rig it along the side to shine in)

    I picked up Purina Flock raiser today (along with water and food things). Do they also need scratch? All the time or just from a certain age up or ?

    When do I swap to layer feed - once they start or should I swap them at a certain age to expect laying soon? (runners)


    Has anybody used puppy pads in the brooder? I'm contemplating that, but the kennel is quite large, so I'd have to use a few at a time. It's a thought. My plan is probably just to use the dog towels and rinse daily and do a duck towel load every other day. But was thinking maybe puppy pads could be useful??


    oh yeah, I also picked up some frozen peas - when can I start bribing them with those?
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2010
  2. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    You will need the regular light bulbs. I would say you are fine with 60 watts since you plan on hanging it on the side and it is warm outside. I used the peewee pads to absorb the extra water from their feeding station. The sleeping area was an old towel and yes I did do the wash maschine routine. I always use 16% protein crumble grow/developer, but I did crush them up in a blender for the first week. The first 3 days I mix that with water into a soup. I also start peas right away, but it must be put into the blender first or they can choke on it. You can five them whole peas after one week, but you have to watch out that they don't gulp and don't give them to much. It's a treat only thing.
     
  3. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nope--no need for scratch. I've never used it. The Flock Raiser is perfect, and it's recommended by Holderread's, although one person who bought ducklings from me & fed flock Raiser, ended up with leg problems that were eliminated once he added extra niacin, so watch for that unless you're going to add niacin supplements (brewer's yeast in feed or niacin powder in water).

    After the first four weeks (or so), you'll want to cut the protein percentage a bit to prevent angel wing. I just add oats to the basic feed--you can add wheat, or any other low-protein inexpensive grain available in your area. I buy the large bags of horse oats at the feed store.

    You start layer pellets around 17 weeks. You want them on it by the time they are laying, but not much before.

    I think I've read of people using puppy pads. Makes sense to me, for sure, other than the expense. Anything to absorb the insane amount of water they spill would be a good thing!

    Enjoy!
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    I used a few puppy pads under the 6 mil plastic that lined the bottom of the brooder, to catch leaks. My runners ATE puppy pads, so I could not use them in the brooder. I used old towels and that worked out very well, though it was labor intensive. The rinse water from the towels was the best plant food I have ever had!

    No need for scratch. Some even think it has a negative effect on their health. It's mostly just calories, and I find oats are a better source, with good fiber.

    I started with a light sprinkle of chick grit from the time the ducklings were a few days old (a teaspoon or two a day for eleven ducklings). By the time they were two weeks old, I was not concerned about their eating finely chopped spinach and a very few tiny peas.

    I had mine on turkey/waterfowl starter crumbles the first two weeks or so, then switched slowly to duck grower/maintenance (Nutrena), then started adding a handful of cat kibble and free choice oyster shell when they began displaying breeding behaviors. That was about a month before they started laying, so the timing worked out.

    I added some rolled oats to their food the first several weeks because the protein was higher than I wanted. There will be those who don't think it's the protein that causes angel wing. I am not an expert, so I cannot argue one way or the other. My ducks are healthy so far.
     
  5. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    so brewers yeast or niacin - where can I get that? I'd rather have some on hand if I need it rather than try to search it out if/when I need it.

    Any other duck "first aid" stuff I should have handy? My Ry was an accident prone greyhound, so I have lots of vet wrap and stuff around from him. Wish he'd have still been around for the ducks to arrive [​IMG]
     
  6. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Niacin is easy--just your local drug store. Try to find the gel caps, because you can open them up and pour the powder into the water. 250mg gel caps are the perfect dosage for a gallon of water. I also avoid the "flush-free" varieties because they contain additional drugs that I don't like to give the ducks.

    Brewer's yeast is available in health food stores usually, and anywhere that sells beer making supplies.

    If you're going to go get it, you may as well add it to the water. Some people raise ducks just fine without the niacin supplement, but the one time I tried it I ended up with weak legs and I'd rather just avoid the problem to begin with rather than fix the problem later. However, if you're using a truly balanced feed (such as game bird mixed with chick starter, or I guess Purina Flock Raiser?), then it's not necessary.

    Good luck and have fun. [​IMG]
     

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