Every animal goes through different growth phases. For egg-laying ducks, there are three main phases: duckling, immature adult, and layer. Meat breeds would focus on the first two phases. We stress the importance of feeding the right feed at the right time. In this 3 part series, we discuss the differences between our NCO Duck Starter, Duck Grower, and Duck Layer feeds.
When ducklings hatch, their first instinct is to find food and water, as they expend a lot of energy breaking out of their shells. Water is extremely important for ducklings, as it helps move food down the digestive system and clean beak vents. Starter formulations are a much finer grind or crumble than other types of feed, as ducklings are small and their digestive systems are still developing. Smaller ground feed prevents blockage from occurring within the crop or other parts of the digestive tract and ensures better breakdown and absorption of nutrients. Ducklings require a higher protein diet for the first 2 to 3 weeks of life. A 21% protein diet is generally recommended to accommodate ducklings’ accelerated growth and energy needs. At this age, ducklings do not need the mineral allowances that layers need. Switching ducklings to layer feed during their critical growth stage can cause developmental problems in their legs, reproductive organs, and other parts of growth. However, niacin is crucial for proper waterfowl development in all stages of growth, specifically for wing and leg development. For this reason, it is recommended to feed a Starter formulation specific for ducklings or young waterfowl, as most other poultry feeds do not have enough niacin to meet their growing needs. We recommend feeding Duck Starter for the first 2 to 3 weeks of life and then transitioning slowly to Duck Grower. Ducklings do not begin to produce their waterproofing oil until roughly 4 weeks of age, so it is advisable to not introduce them to swimming before 4 weeks.
Tune in tomorrow to learn more about NCO Duck Grower Feed! For immediate assistance, please contact our Sales Team at 540-469-0694.