Rat proof feeders, pellet type and Ducks

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abitquackers
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Rat proof feeders, pellet type and Ducks

Post by abitquackers »

Hello, we're just setting up for ducks at the moment and I'm getting to grips with which food to get in. They'd all be POL. Lots of places recommend layer pellets, but I'm struggling to find some for waterfowl and I wondered what members here tend to use? I did find one called 'Fancy Feed Fenland's Waterfowl Pellets' which say they promote eggs, so I'm assuming they're for ducks in lay. Would anyone recommend those ones or are others better? If I used chicken pellets, would I need to add niacin? Also, I know ducks are supposed to stop laying while in moult and it can cause issues if they don't, but is there anything I'm supposed to do to encourage them to stop laying if they don't seem to be?

The other question I had was about rat-proof feeders. Our set-up would around 6 ducks in a large walk-in run on grass (initially, it'll probably get a bit muddy). Later, we may properly pave an area, but as we want to dig a permanent pond and have to move a massive mountain of wood where we want the final area, it'll take a bit of time to get there. I'm not sure what's best to avoid rats. Obviously, we'll be keeping the area clean, but should we get something to put down where the food area is to make it easier to sweep/clean? I've seen the Grandpa's ones. One concern for me would be whether the smell of food would be around more as it's too heavy to move to and from the area. Is that likely to attract rats more anyway (even if they struggled to get in) and would that type of feeder be messy? Also, people are often talking about chickens using them. Would ducks feed well from them or use the mechanism well enough? The other option would be a morning and evening feed. Would that be better to avoid the smell of food being around constantly and to maybe just take the trough out when they're done?

(Apologies if this is too long or the questions are silly.)
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dorsetduckowner
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Re: Rat proof feeders, pellet type and Ducks

Post by dorsetduckowner »

Hi! Welcome, lots of good questions there!
Fenland waterfowl pellets are fab.
Remember ducks are very suspicious, neophobic creatures, they hate any kind of change, even food changes. Start them on a good varied diet as soon as you get them, including lots of greens, if they cant forage in a large area you will need to be extra careful with diet to meet their nutritional requirements. They may not eat for a while when you first get them as they will be frightened. Wheat under water always helps with this as its a natural feeding behaviour for them.
Morning and evening feeds are best to avoid rats
Avoid concrete as much as you can or your ducks will likely develop bumble foot.
If you want to leave some food out for them during the day leave whole wheat under deepish water.
Your 'grass' will become mud within half an hour if it rains. Im not exaggerating!!! Its always a good idea with ducks to have 2-3 grass areas that you can rotate them on. Better still, roof the enclosure so it doesn't get rained on, ducks like nothing more than turning grass into mud, favourite hobby.
A pond is a must, even if its a small tippable one to start with, their condition will deteriorate fast if they don't have something to bath in thats changed every day.
Put stable matting, or some kind of rubber flooring underneath the pond to stop the mud and keep their foot heath good.
Avoid fake grass as they nibble this and ingest it.
Have fun!
Zo
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abitquackers
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Re: Rat proof feeders, pellet type and Ducks

Post by abitquackers »

Thank you, Zo, that's really helpful! Especially about concrete, I didn't know that but we'll definitely avoid it now. Don't worry, we've got the tippable pond ready! I was going to siphon it off outside the pen to try and avoid more mud where possible. The enclosure is carefully roofed to avoid rain and predators. That makes a lot of sense regarding not eating initially. If the ducks are in moult and not laying, do I need to mix the pellet food further to lower protein? And do I provide separate drinking water alongside the wheat?
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dorsetduckowner
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Re: Rat proof feeders, pellet type and Ducks

Post by dorsetduckowner »

They will enjoy as many water bowls as you give them :) It helps to put one on a grid or slab to stop them from making it into either mud or pellet soup :)
The pellet food should give them what they need at most times, just see how you go with the eggs. A lot of layers get peritonitis which can kill them, so its good to encourage them to have a break if you can.
Zo
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