The composition of feed that is appropriate for ducks at different stages of their life is shown in Table 1. Feed for ducks is usually in the form of pellets, although it may be in the form of crumbles for very young ducks. When ducks
Table 1 Composition (%) of diets for ducks at different stages of their life
Soybean meal (48.5%) Dicalcium phosphate Limestone Salt
Vitamin and trace mineral mixa Calculated content Protein (%) Calcium (%) Nonphytate phosphorus (%)
aUse a mix appropriate for the diet and follow manufacturer's instructions for use.
start to lay eggs, they need a feed with enough calcium to make the eggshells. For mature ducks that are not laying eggs, all of the limestone except for 1.0% can be replaced by corn. If ducks are becoming too fat, the amount of feed given each day should be limited to the amount needed for the ducks to maintain the proper weight.
The diets in Table 1 show that carbohydrates fill most of the volume in the diet and provide energy to waterfowl. Soybean meal varies in proportion to the percentage of protein that is needed. If waterfowl eat feed that is too low in protein, they will not get enough amino acids to make body protein that is needed for rapid growth. As a result, ducks will grow slower and mature females will lay fewer eggs. Only the concentrations of methionine1-3-1 and lysine that are needed in the diet have actually been determined. But feeding more than the required protein will not improve their growth and health.
Small amounts of ingredients other than corn and soybean meal are needed to make a balanced feed. Dicalcium phosphate provides additional calcium and phosphorus, while limestone provides only calcium. Both calcium and phosphorus are needed to make strong bones. Without enough of these minerals, bones become rubbery, a condition known as rickets. A mineral that is supplemented by salt is sodium. Without enough sodium, a bird's growth is stunted.
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