Winter nutrition?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Thompsonv, Feb 4, 2017.

  1. Thompsonv

    Thompsonv Just Hatched

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    Jun 15, 2016
    Kenduskeag, Maine
    Hi everyone, as we all know it's winter time and I'm kinda concerned with this being my ducks first winter and all. They have been doing well, but they have been spending a good part of this winter in our shop on a nice bed of hay. They get their pellet crumble food which they haven't' eaten much of and they are also getting cracked corn which I was told will help keep the fat on an digests slower but it seems like they are only eating the cracked corn. Their poop is really watery like almost all water and I feel like it shouldn't be. Is there something I am suppose to be giving them as a supplement in the winter or less cracked corn? We've also had a few days off n on in the 40's and I put them in the tub for a short period of time once a week/every other week so they can bath and I make sure the water is still pretty cold so as not to give them a temperature shock. I'd be wiling for any information to care for them in the winter, Clint and Crackers are my babies and I'd be devastated if something happened due to my lack of knowledge. Thanks in advance!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Cute photo of Clint and Crackers!

    I'd start by cutting back on the cracked corn - it's suitable as a periodic treat in the winter, but if they're not eating their complete feed, they're not getting enough protein and other components of a balanced diet that the pelleted food should provide. Since my ducks free range during daylight hours, I supplement their protein in the winter by adding a small amount of distiller's grains to a base of fermented chick starter (21% protein). They also get black oil sunflower seeds tossed out, occasionally as a treat, for them to pick up. This helps offset the lack of bugs and other sources of protein available to them in the pastures at other times of the year. Clint and Crackers look old enough that angel wing shouldn't be a concern at this point, so boosting protein should be fine for them.

    Some probiotics may also be beneficial, like a splash of raw ACV in their water (in a non-metal container). Greens are also difficult for them to find in the winter, so floating some finely-chopped kale or similar greens in their water should get them eating it - and it's very entertaining to watch. [​IMG]

    Here's a thread you may find helpful on winter feeding: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1075640/winter-duck-feeding. Best to you and your ducks!

    @Miss Lydia , @Amiga
     
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  3. Thompsonv

    Thompsonv Just Hatched

    40
    4
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    Jun 15, 2016
    Kenduskeag, Maine
    Thank you so much for your reply and so fast it's extremely helpful! I will cut back on the cracked corn. They just turned nine months old as far as age is concerned and Crackers hasn't started laying eggs yet. In the summer as long as I am outside which is pretty often, I let them free range and they get feed pellets. They have feed pellets available at all times currently as well they just weren't eating it. But I suppose once I cut back on the cracked corn they will not have a choice. I was feeding them plain cooked peas for quite a while a few weeks ago and thought they would attack me they were so excited about them! But it seemed like it made their poop really smelly, and a couple weeks ago I stopped and bought some shiners from our local bait shop and they gobbled those down. I'm concerned at the moment because their poop is like water right now and I don't feel like it is suppose to be that runny. They have been living in our shop due to the cold lately and only come outside a little bit cause they just lay down and don't walk very far. I will try the acv in their water, they have a rubber water bowl. Can I get the distillers grain from my local grain store? I've never heard of it before is why I ask. Thank you again for such a fast reply! And Clint and Crackers thank you for the compliment
     
  4. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Chillin' With My Peeps

    YVW. It sounds like they're ignoring their feed because it's not as tasty as the other options, like the corn or the peas. Peas have more protein than the corn does, so that's a more nutritious treat, but they still need to eat their feed, too.

    I live in an area where distiller's grains (from bourbon distilling, not an ethanol byproduct) are very accessible, but I'm not sure that's the case everywhere. I just buy mine at the same local feed mill where I get the chick starter. Brewer's grains may be more available near you since there are craft breweries almost everywhere now. Here's a thread with discussion: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/501083/ok-to-feed-spent-grain-from-brewing-beer.

    Have you considered fermenting their feed? There are multiple threads on the topic: https://www.backyardchickens.com/newsearch?search=fermenting+feed. One of the many advantages to fermenting feed is that it's easy to mix in things like distiller's grains (which are dry and kind of look like ground, light roasted coffee) - you could even mix in peas. Ducks really seem to love the wet feed, too.

    There are many other ways to increase protein, including feeding scrambled eggs, organic tofu (seriously, mine love it), cat food, fish meal...any of those should help bump up their protein, and they'd probably gobble any of them down without much persuasion needed. Multiple threads here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/newsearch?search=increasing+protein+feed.
     
  5. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    Hello....
    This is what I feed my Ducks.....They eat it.....Duck finisher, oat and barley crumble and old style scratch grain, it has way less corn....As a treat they get dry cat food.....i also feed tomatoes, romain lettuce, peas, cucumbers, broccoli, cooked apple....and scrambled eggs once a week....


    You have gotten great advise.....I just wanted to share what I feed my Ducks......


    Cheers!
     
    2 people like this.
  6. Thompsonv

    Thompsonv Just Hatched

    40
    4
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    Jun 15, 2016
    Kenduskeag, Maine
    Thank you! I'm always interested in hearing what others feed out, and my ducks hate scrambled eggs lol I've tried that
     
  7. Thompsonv

    Thompsonv Just Hatched

    40
    4
    16
    Jun 15, 2016
    Kenduskeag, Maine
    Hmmm I may try the fermenting thing. We have many local brewers so that shouldn't be an issue to find I wouldn't think.What kind of cat food do you recommend feeding them? I've tried scrambled eggs in the past and they completely turned their noses up to it perhaps their tastes have changed lol. And that makes me very happy to hear that about the peas, regardless I will be going to the local grain store tomorrow since they are closed on Sundays and I'll look into the fermenting thing, I just want Clint and Crackers to be healthy happy duckies! Thanks so much again!
     
  8. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed




    I know....I only have one Hen that will nibble on the eggs unless I mix them with other yummy stuff......They do look at me like a child forced to eat his veggies....lol
     
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  9. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Chillin' With My Peeps

    The only cat food I've fed to date (and not much) is the same brand my cats eat - Earthborn Holistic kibble. I think others may feed canned cat food. I would look for quality ingredients in the formulation.

    There are lots of approaches to providing a healthy diet for ducks. Another option is to get a waterfowl-specific feed, like ones made by Mazuri or Southern States. I fed the Southern States floating feed to a group of ducklings and they loved it. Of course, it did smell like cinnamon rolls (to me). [​IMG]
     
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  10. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Cinnamon rolls yum!
    @Thompsonv
    Fermenting your feed has many healthful benefits for our birds.

    To my fermented feed along with the mixture of Layer/ broiler I add wheat berries/ oats/ lentils. and mix this concoction with hot water and ACV this will sit over night and look like corn bread before putting in the oven. My flock love it. Mine get a mixture of whole corn/cracked corn and meal worms in the afternoon as a treat.

    Since your female is getting to laying age you def want to make sure she is getting adequate calcium so Oyster shell should be offered separate from feed for her your drake may taste it once but they don't eat it. One reason I mix my layer with the other ingredients I have many rooster/and a gander and drake added to my flock so i don't feed straight layer. Then my layers get the oyster shell plus calcium citrate 2X a week to help with their calcium needs.

    Mine love dog kibble also as a treat I buy Sams club grain free salmon and peas my drake comes in every morning for his 4th cup of dog kibble.Yes he is spoiled. lol

    Great info everyone!!

    @FoodFreedomNow

    @chickens really


    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/no-strain-hot-water-easy-fermented-feed-method-w-video
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2017
    1 person likes this.

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