Thinking About Ducks
Are you thinking about raising ducks? Raising ducks is similar to raising chickens however there are a couple of duck specific tips:
The most important nutritional supplement to ducks is niacin. Feeding them a non-medicated chicken feed is okay as long as you supplement the niacin level until they are 10 weeks of age. You can do this in one of two ways: buy a nutritional supplement at your local pharmacy and add 100 - 150 mg per gallon of water or purchase livestock grade brewer’s yeast and all 2 – 3 cups per 10 pounds of feed (5 – 7.5 pounds per 100 pounds of feed).
You can reduce your duck feed needs if you supplement their diet with organic veggies, chopped hard boiled eggs (with shell on), scrambled eggs, worms, night crawlers, blood worms, snails (make sure they and the ground they come from have not been sprayed with pesticides), organic rolled corn or corn meal, and organic tomatoes. Of course, feed consumption will go back up in the winter when fresh veggies and forages are at a premium.
How Much Will A Duck Eat:
Keep clean, fresh water before your ducks at all times. Since ducks will wash their feed down with water these means two things: first you will have to clean their waters out often and second, you should provide them with a waterer deep enough for them to wash out their nostrils and beaks as they eat (necessary to avoid impaction).
Ducks love to swim in water. So providing them with some sort of pool, even at a young age is preferable. Just make sure they can enter and exit the water easily via a ramp and that they have a place to dry quickly as they are prone to chilling and hypothermia especially when they are babies. Additionally, make sure they have dry, clean bedding at all times.
Give your ducks enough room, 4 sq ft per bird if they have open housing or 10 sq. Ft per bird if they are confined. Again, clean, dry litter a must.
Diseases You Can Prevent:
Angel Wing – not life threatening. However, the wing will not lay flat against their body. It is caused by too much protein which causes the wing to grow to fast. Lower the protein, allow you duck to get plenty of exercise and put its wing in a sling to correct.
Aspergillosis – caused by breathing to much fungal spores and will result in labored, heavy breathing. Remove wet feed and bedding immediately and replace with dry fresh bedding. A good reason to make sure they have clean, dry bedding at all times.
Botulism – a real problem in warm weather because it will thrive in decaying waste or in pools of water. Primary reason to keep fresh, clean water available at all times and to scrub pools with white vinegar regularly.
Author: Cindy Rivers
Owner and Operator www.riverscritters.com