My ducklings had medicated chick starter for the first 3-4 weeks. They are now on Purina Flock Raiser. One of the ducks is smaller than the rest and just seems to ALWAYS be sitting down. At the water. At the food. In general. She/he's a good swimmer, but doesn't walk much at all. Storey's Guide sort of suggests it could be a niacin deficiency.
So my question is - if I supplement them and they don't need need it, will that be okay? I'm assuming it's a water soluble vitamin and what they don't need, they will excrete. True?
At first it seemed like it was just because they were young and in a small space - but they have about 150 sq ft (for three) and two of the three aren't acting this way. Feel like I need to get on this...
Any other suggestion besides Niacin deficiency?
Some of the things that you can feed to your ducks that are good sources of niacin:
rice bran (available at feed stores, sold for horses)
Thanks, Oregon Swedes. I think I read brewers yeast as well
Has anyone here dealt with a niacin deficiency, that can possibly rely their experience?
Just don't go overboard and try to give them too much. Yes it is water soluble, I used to put a 100mg tablet in a one gallon waterer and mix to disolve. I just used the waterer as a measure a gallon jug works better amd dump into a container that is suitable for ducks. If they needed more than one waterer the second one would be plain water. Of course it could be lots of things other than Niacin deficiency but waterfowl are known for not using much of the Niacin from grain, it passes through them without being absorved (SP)The chemical Niacin available in drugstores worked well for me. If you have to ask don't be suprized at the looks you get one of the biggest uses is by drugees trying to flush drugs out their system so they can pass the "pee in a cup test" BTW it doesn't work for that.
Originally Posted by valsey
A protein % of more than 16% may be the problem as well. I don't know what the Flock raiser % is, but too much, too soon ( before adulthood ) can cause leg & wing development issues. The niacin addition can't hurt.
Yep - the protein is too high as well - 20%. I need to read up on it more, but I think I recall reading that I can add oats to cut down on protein.
I happen to have niacin in the cabinet and I dissolved 150 mg into a gallon of water - guess I'll keep that up. Also got some nutritional yeast today.
If you think the pharmacist gives you a funny look, ask a feed store person about the niacin percentage in feed - they think you're really nuts.
Personally, I don't care to buy Purina products. Spoke with a Southern States rep today and he said they actually have a feed specifically for Mallards. He sent me some info, but how in the heck do I understand this niacin content ? (below) And again - it's high on the protein
Anyone use this with success? Or can suggest another feed?
SCWA Mallard Duck Conditioner, SKU # 528-08011, is floor stocked at our Flowery Branch, GA feed mill.
Nutrient specification information:
Protein – 20%
Fat – 3.7%
Fiber – 6%
Calcium - .95%
Phosphorus - .75%
Niacin is at .0106%. Not sure what you’re looking for in Niacin % content. I do know usage for ducks in SC and NC is significant on this feed.
I've never had a duck that would eat oats unless they'd sprouted. People that use them, start the birds on them from the beginning.
20% is pretty high unless you're fattening them to butcher. SS used to sell a waterfowl pellet that was around 16%, I think. It had fish meal in it. It was a great all-around feed.
Brian Paul Witt told me about this feed (Mr. Witt was known for his HUGE Muscovy ducks) SCWA stood for SC waterfowl Association which I beleive raised Mallards for private waterfowl shooting. It was my understanding(Truth?) that they provided the oriiginal feed spects and the feed became popular in other places in SC. Please note that this was a conditioner feed, not a starter, layer, breeder, or maintainer feed. It was started after the ducks had their wings feathered and were building their flight muscles. You want birds that can fly well if you are turning them out to shoot. I did NOT say Mr. Witt recommended this feed. I worked with him to develop his own feed rations and he might have used this stuff as an ingredient, Maybe a major ingredient frankly I don't remember and have lost my notes on the project.
Originally Posted by valsey
I used SS waterfowl pellets as my feed base, they were 20% protein and were considered a complete feed after 2 weeks on a starter feed. My birds got to range for at least two hours and had supplemental grains usually oats available for snow days or times when I couldn't let them range.
I have a feeling finding the right balance is going to be difficult. Going to the feed store today. I know Evy said they may not eat oats, but I can try. Would rolled oats do the trick? Then I could buy a small canister to test it out?
Feed choices are limited here for waterfowl so I cut the 21.5% protein feed for my geese with dry oatmeal (Quaker or storebrand), hard red winter wheat, and even a little chicken "scratch". They eat it right up.
Ducklings up to 2 weeks 20% protein, no 3-nitrophenylarsonic which is sometimes in chick starter and is toxic to ducks
No salt for ducks for the first 3 weeks. After that no more than .25 % salt.
Ducklings after 2 weeks, 17% protein
Ducks need both riboflavin and niacin and may need to have it supplemented.
Well I always started my ducks and geese with rolled oats sprinkled on top of the starter feed, the little birds would peck at them because of the different color (I assume) at two weeks I would switch to horse oats. Honestly the ducks were not fond of them but would eat them, the geese loved oats. You could ask your feed store if they have any spilled oats and take a small amount to try them out. My SS feed store served a lot of horsemen and they often had a bag returned because it was "too dusty" for the horses. Infact they used to save these opened bags for me and I would buy them at 50 cents/bag off! the birds would pick the seeds and leave any dust behind. If you go this route always check the opened bags for signs of mold! It was often a problem in my hot moist NC climate. Do not feed moldy feed!
Originally Posted by valsey
Your guys probably aren't big enough, but for adults, I buy them dry COB. That's rolled corn, oats, and barley without molasses. It's sold for horses. The pieces are too big for ducklings.
Locally, chicken scratch is whole wheat and chopped corn. You can also buy a lower % maintenance poultry food and mix the two.
If you go to Metzers site, they have a calculator that tells you how many pounds to mix, starting with different % and ending up with the % of protein you want.
That is making the incorrect assumption that food consumption is based upon protein content. All studies I am aware of suggest Metabolisable energy (ME) is what controls food intake. Adding Oats, which has lower ME than may lower protein, but actually increase consumption because the overall ME is reduced. Without knowing the ME of the mixed diet, you are just making guesses. Also, IF the bird selects components of the diet (such as scratch vs pellets), the "average" is meaningless.
Originally Posted by Oregon Swedes
That makes a lot of sense, Clint.
The birds should eat until their energy needs are met and then quit eating. It's rare in livestock to have a glutton that will over eat. It happens, but not often.
My opinion is that the blending for protein content is going to work best for food in the same form. Crumbles and crumbles or mash and mash. The birds are going to try to pick out whichever of the foods that they prefer, so no point in making it easier for them.
It would be much better to just buy the right feed, but in my area all I can get is not what I would prefer. Reading on-line, I see a lot of people who are making due with feed that is not what they would purchase if they had other options. The only thing my local feed store carries is an all purpose Poultry, and it is a hair low in protein for adults and slightly too low in many of the nutrients.
I'm hoping that they will have a good chick starter here pretty soon, but then that will be good for the first two weeks and then too high in protein. I won't use up a full bag of starter by the time the ducklings are 2 weeks old, so the rest will get mixed with the all purpose to bring the nutritional content up a bit.
Also, I did a comparison of content and found I can buy the ducks some dry cat food and crush that and use that as a supplement, but only after 3 weeks, because it has salt in it. It's got 30% protein and contains animal and fish proteins, which I think are good for ducks. The all purpose poultry food is all plant protein (what there is of it).
It's nice to have the calculator available to give me a starting place for how much to mix. I put my analysis of the vitamin and mineral contents (compare and contrast) between game bird feed and cheap dry cat food on the poultry forum at Homesteading Today. I figured anyone posting here would already know the information, so y'all don't need it.
I use the COB like I use scratch. I toss out a handful when I call the birds to keep them eager to come when I call them. The barley is a good source of phosphorus.
I am very interested to hear other opinions or facts about feeding.
Why do I need to keep loging in to do a simple reply!
Hi Clint! nice to see you posting here again.
Originally Posted by Speceider
I think a few of us are aware that the labeled average percent crude protein is not as important as a lot think it is. The important thing is that the birds get the right amount of the needed amino acids which are all rolled up in that percent protein report.
The same is true of Niacin, the feed may be Niacin rich but if it is in a form that the bird can't use (non-bioavailable) the bird could still be suffering from Niacin deficiency.
Moderators why do I have to keep loging in when I do a Reply? I think this was the 4th login needed for this simple reply!
GD, When you log in you should see a little box by your username that says ''remember me''. Check it & you won't have that problem.
I just tried it & it works but don't log out when you leave. Then you have to do it over next time.
Last edited by Evy; 03-04-2011 at 05:53 PM.
Selection of components aside, I am not sure I am following your thought. If one adds an ingredient to lower the percentage of protein then what does the volume have to do with it. Eating 10lbs of a diet containing 18% protein instead of 5lbs of a diet containing 18% protein is not consuming more protein as you must still factor in the added filler that must be either metabolized or excreted. That is still consuming 18% protein. If percentage of protein was truly meaningless then why bother using different formulas since the bird's consumption would determine what they are getting.
Originally Posted by Speceider
Thanks I might have forgotten to check the remember me box. BC (before change) I just entered g and the rest of my handle and the other name and remember me would auto fill and I just had to click login and i was in. Now just my handle autofills and the PIN is one that I haven't used in years (too short & simple) So I have to stop and think. Account security has gotten to complex. A site I use to pay my gas bill, asks for user name, then answer 4 security questions before I am even allowed to guess my pin, and if I make a typo I have to start over again. The last time I tried they had added one of those distorted word boxes before I could make a payment. I won't repeat the words I used then. I just put the bill in the truck and paid in cash the next time I was at that end of town. The woman was PO'ed because she had to count and write a recipte. She said you know you can pay this on line... I hadn't really used the flame in a while but I TOLD her what I thought of the website.
Originally Posted by Evy
Now if I can just remember to read ALL of the new posts Before I answer any, I would prevent the site from omitting the list of new posts and only showing the one I just posted
Last edited by goosedragon; 03-05-2011 at 12:03 PM.
Reason: Complaint about the New Posts feature.
Speak math? 10# @ 18% = 1.8# protien. 5# @ 18% =0.9# protien. Yes the % is 18% but the AMOUNT is different. Birds don't calculate, nor read labels. The label is required by the government to Prevent YOU buying a bag of ground up corn cobs instead of real feed.~gd
Originally Posted by jungle