View Full Version : Call Duck Advice
06-23-2011, 08:44 PM
I have 2 call duck questions. The first one is about eyes in baby call ducks. I have tried to keep my brooders as clean as possible, but I have had a couple of ducklings get sticky eyes. One I think is going to have permanent damage to the eye. How do you treat their eyes when this happens, and how do you prevent it?. The second question is when do you switch the babies over to a regular duck or water fowl feed? I have been giving them unmedicated chick starter, but the protein is pretty high. My first ones are starting to feather out. I have had more luck raising calls this year than I have ever had, but don't want to mess them up with angel wings, from too much protein. Thanks in advance for advice.
For the eyes you are best off giving them water at least deep enough that they can get their eyes wet, swimming water early is better but is more work and slightly higher risk. My babies this year have all been so small that they have been in the house for 2 weeks with quart jar waterers. After that they go to much larger brooders in the garage that have the gallon size waterers for 2-4 more weeks depending on the size of the bird and the rate of feathering. After that they are in outside pens with swimming water.
I haven't had great options for feed this year so what I have been doing is feeding an 18% starter/grower medicated with amprollium(Nutrena Country Feeds) for the first 3 weeks and then switching them to pellets. I was feeding them the 18% pellets but that was a little dicey. When the primaries started coming in if any of the birds decided they wanted to grab them and tug on them I would need to tape them. If they didn't get picked on they were fine. I backed them down to a 15% that I am not thrilled with but its doing ok. They eat that from 3 weeks until they go outside. which gives the wings time to strengthen under the weight of the heavy blood feathers. Once they are outside they get pretty much the same thing as the breeders(obviously without the dish of oyster shell). It is a mix of the 18% pellets, some grain, and a few other things. They also get tons of greens.
So the reader's digest version...
1. Deeper drinking water/swimming water.
2. I would use a starter/grower around 18% for the young. Medicated with amprollium is fine.
3. switch them to lower protein feed just before the primaries start. ~3 weeks is about right.
4. lots of green food.
06-24-2011, 02:24 PM
One thing that Dave Holderread suggests in his pamphlett on wing disorders is exercise. When the heavy wing feathers began to grow and weigh down the wings of my young toulouse, I took them out to my larger fenced yard where they flapped their wings as they hustled to keep up with me. They soon started to flap/run across the yard on their own. They also flapped their wings in swimming water. Both of these activities seemed to help strengthen their wing muscles with the result that their wings are fine. I also cut the protein in their feed by mixing in oats and gave them a variety of fruits and vegetables.
The pamphlet is available through http://holderreadfarm.com.
10-21-2011, 03:23 PM
I know this thread is old, but my question falls under this same topic, so I didn't think a new thread was warranted. I had asked about the drooping wings in a call duck drake. His wings still droop, but are getting better. Someone had posted something online that stirred my interest. They stated that the way to fix droopy wings was to pull the primary flights and give the bird a Niacin tablet, not sure for how long, and this would correct it. My question is, are the droopy wings a byproduct of genetics, or incorrect feeding as a duckling? If this Niacin works, I would tend to think that it is feed related, much as angel wings. I know that I fed chicke starter for at least 4-5 weeks before putting them on duck grower. After much reading, I think this was a great mistake. I also did not feed much in the way of greens. I have a couple of birds with the droopy wings. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
10-23-2011, 10:43 AM
Just my experience with non-Call ducks.
I cut protein after 2 weeks and the ducklings start on a small amount of greens at 7-10 days. Some of the fastest growing ducks developed wing tips that weren't held up tight, but didn't twist. They would pull the wing tips up to the proper position and then the tips would slide downwards again.
That happened very close to the time that the ducklings started to go outside during the day. The problem was corrected as soon as the ducklings were outside in the sunlight and flapping and running. It was probably the exercise. The wings were heavy with their new feathers and as the birds exercised their wing muscles, they developed the strength to hold the wings in the proper position.
It is possible, though, that it was the additional vitamin D that the ducklings got from being out in the sunshine. I don't know how much vitamin D is in commercial feed.
My ducklings are on a niacin supplement while they are still in the brooder., so the drooping wing tips is not likely to be caused by niacin deficiency. Although, perhaps that varies by breed. My flock is only one anecdotal example.
The drooping tips were on the fastest growing ducks: the Pekins, who were 7-9 1/2 pounds at week 7. Not all of them drooped. The Appleyards, who grow approximately 2 weeks slower never got drooping wing tips.
As soon as I saw wingtips drooping, I started taking the ducklings outside for a few hours in the middle of the day. It was extra work because they weren't ready to go outside full time and the small yard where I could catch them easily isn't predator-proof, so I had to watch them. It was worth the extra effort because it fixed the wings right up.
I would be reluctant to cut growing feathers. The drooping started when the feathers weren't much more than quills. I would consider cutting feathers for a case of angel wing, but if a bird got angel wing the way I raise them, the affected bird would certainly be out of the breeding program.
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