Supplementing feed for baby muscovy?


10 Years
Apr 22, 2011
Here is the story. We had a muscovy hen which hatched out 10 babies last week. She is already down to five. For some reason, our hens just do not have good survival rates when allowed to raise their young. So I now (unexpectedly) have five baby muscovy ducks to rear. I went to one local feed store and they didn't have game starter or anything for waterfowl. I went to another one and they were sold out of game starter. I bought some 16 % layer crumbles and thought I might supplement with a little boiled pulverized chicken egg, at least until I can find something more suitable. Will this make up for the protein shortage? (I had read that they needed around 22 % protein to start. Also, would I need to still supplement with niacin? I have read that eggs have about .1 mg of niacin/ cup. I am not sure what that equates to per egg. The ducklings do seem to like the eggs. Also, how much egg would you give for five ducklings (about 4 days old)? One per day??

ETA: Ok, I found something that said .03 mg niacin/ egg.
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I always take the babies from Mama after they hatch. I've always raised mine on chick starter, Dumor, I get at Tractor Supply. After 2-3 weeks I swich to the chick grower. I've never had any problems with it. I do NOT use any of the medicated starter/growers for any of my hatches, duck or chicken.

My problem is predators after they've gotten big enough to turn out of the pen.
Yeah. The problem is non-medicated chick starter is virtually non-existent here. That's why I bought the layer crumbles. (They are not medicated.) However, I know they are also deficient in some nutrients the babies need. That's why I was supplementing with pulverized boiled egg. I am hoping the store will have the game bird starter for me in the next week. Thank you so much for replying, though!! I wish I could find non-medicated chick starter. We had some broilers about a year ago and I think we ended up driving an hour to find the stuff! Any idea on whether this will work short term? (layer crumbles and egg)?
Buy some koi food (or other floating fish food) and mix it in 1:1 to boost the protein. I find that if they don't get enough protein (and greens) they'll eat each others feathers till they bleed.
Layer crumbles are not appropriate for ducklings. They have too much calcium and damage growing ducklings, internal organs I think but don't remember exactly what damage. Many people on BYC feed medicated started to their ducklings without reporting problems. There are some medications that are not suppossed to be harmful to ducklings. Here is one link I found

I had to buy medicated feed for my runner ducklings once because I was out of feed and the feedstore only had medicated in stock. No ill effects.

I would say that medicated feed is a MUCH better choice than layer pellets.
Great! Thanks for the tip! What about the niacin?

for niacin you can just add some to their water. You can buy niacin in the tablet form in any pharmacy. Or you can buy brewers yeast and sprinkle it into their feed, but it's hard to find in a large quantity or for a low price. If you cut their layer feed with other stuff it'll cut back on the amount of calcium they consume. You can add cracked corn or BOSS or safflower seed from the feed store (they love it) and supplement with leftover greens such as lettuce or kale or collards (some grocery stores throw out a lot of produce every day).
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I've raised 3 batches of ducklings on layer crumbles and had no problems at all! i don't know why you all are saying its not OK. all mine are fine.
I had to use medicated chick starter for the last batch and had one that came out with angel wing. I've read it can be excess protein and/or the medication and was just trying to avoid that problem again. I can't remember the medication, but I remember that it was one that was supposed to be safe.

Actually I have some no-flush niacin already. Would that work? How would I know how much to add to the water? So does this mean that everyone thinks the eggs is a bad idea then?
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