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Issue 93 September 2012

In This Issue:

  More Feed Research...
  Clearing Up Company Confusion
  Feed Formulas
  Milling Plants
  Feed Ingredients
  Vitamin D
  In Conclusion...
  Traveling to TN!
  The Month in Photos!
  Majestic Newcomers!
  NEW Ribbons!
  Sponsor-A-Ribbon!
  Kiddie Pool Pump
  Recommended Reading
  Majestic Sponsorships

To Make a Donation, please click here:  Donation

Visit us on:  Facebook!

Send us a friendship request (be sure to include a note that you are a friend of ducks & geese!)

Traveling to TN!

Kim will be traveling to TN to visit Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary from September 13th through the 19th for their "Give Geese a Chance" fundraiser! (You can still get tickets by clicking on the above link to their website!)

If you are one of our adopters or a close duck and goose friend, be sure you have Kim's cell phone number in case of an emergency. If you don't, please email us for it: director@majesticwaterfowl.org

In Kim's absence emails will not be responded to unless they have "TONY EMERGENCY!" typed into the subject line. Click on the blue bird email icon below to access a preset email with this subject line already prepared and in place for you:

Please reserve this for important inquiries only and remember we are not veterinarians. True medical emergencies should be directed to licensed professionals. Visit our Vet Finder to find a waterfowl vet near you.

The Month in Photos!

Lil Miss Bee in the grass!

"Pick me up! Pick me up! I want UP!"

Young Jeffrey... So handsome...

Ranger sits on his new pond ALL DAY!

Momma, Poppa and... Son???

Hey, no girls allowed!

Jamboree relaxes in the shade...

Billy-Cha after his swim in the pond!

Miss Alice... our Southern Belle...

We love you, Jodie-Dee!

Laddy and WeeBit!

Majestic Newcomers!

Eesa & Taahn

NEW Ribbons!

Our new Duck-Duck-Goose Photo Contest ribbons have arrived for the next three years!

1st, 2nd & 3rd place ribbons will be awarded in each of three categories: Most Photogenic, Most Comical & Most Mallard!

1st Place Winners will receive gorgeous Blue & Gold, 4 tier circular ribbons with tops measuring 15 centimeters (6 inches) in diameter! Ribbons are detailed in Gold lettering with "Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary" appearing above the "First." All of our ribbons are custom made with EXTRA long 54 cm (21 inch) tails!

2nd Place Winners will receive amazing Red & Gold, 4 tier circular ribbons with tops measuring 15 centimeters (6 inches) in diameter! Ribbons are detailed in Gold lettering with "Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary" appearing above the "Second." All of our ribbons are custom made with EXTRA long 54 cm (21 inch) tails!

3rd Place Winners will receive fantastic White & Gold, 4 tier circular ribbons with tops measuring 15 centimeters (6 inches) in diameter! Ribbons are detailed in Gold lettering with "Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary" appearing above the "Third." All of our ribbons are custom made with EXTRA long 54 cm (21 inch) tails!

In addition!!!

We will be awarding one President's Pick ribbon and one Honorable Mention ribbon!

The President's Pick winner (Finally... Kim gets to choose a winner!) will receive a colorful, 1 tier circular Rainbow ribbon with an orange-centered top measuring 13 centimeters (5 inches) in diameter! Ribbon is detailed in Gold lettering with "Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary" appearing above "Well Done!" in the center. All of our ribbons are custom made with EXTRA long 28 cm (11 inch) tails!

The Honorable Mention winner will receive a colorful, 1 tier circular Rainbow ribbon with a yellow-centered top measuring 15 centimeters (5 inches) in diameter! Ribbon is detailed in Gold lettering with "Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary" appearing above "Well Done!" in the center. All of our ribbons are custom made with EXTRA long 28 cm (11 inch) tails!

Now that's something you and your feathered friend can display proudly!

Ribbons will be awarded beginning in our 2013 Photo Contest, so start taking your pictures now!

Sponsor-A-Ribbon

Don't have a duck or goose, but still want to get in on next year's fun?

Beginning in April of 2013 we will be accepting Ribbon Sponsors!

Ribbon Sponsors can have their name or their business's name associated with a prize ribbon.

For Example:

1st Place!
Most Photogenic!
Puddles & Jeru
Submitted by: Kimberly Link

Blue Ribbon Sponsor:
Brought to you by Joxer Comix!

There are Nine Ribbon Sponsorships available. Ribbon Sponsorship will cover the cost of the prize ribbon, shipping it to the Winner as well as a donation to our Majestic rescues (of course!).

Most Photogenic Ribbon Sponsors:

Blue 1st Place Ribbon:  $25.00
Red 2nd Place Ribbon:  $20.00
White 3rd Place Ribbon:  $15.00

Most Comical Ribbon Sponsors:

Blue 1st  Place Ribbon:  $25.00
Red 2nd Place Ribbon:  $20.00
White 3rd Place Ribbon:  $15.00

Most Mallard Ribbon Sponsors:

Blue 1st Place Ribbon:   $25.00
Red 2nd Place Ribbon:  $20.00
White 3rd Place Ribbon:  $15.00

Click Here to learn more!

We know this is still a long way off, but it will give you lots of time to think and plan!
 

Kiddie Pool Pump

Dear Kim,

When I first got my ducks, over five years ago, I was draining their kiddie pool by hand with a bucket and it was backbreaking.  I was in the pool store one day and noticed a small pump that was used to drain the water off swimming pool covers and it's submersible.  It cost $75.00 and is worth every penny. 

I bought it 5 years ago and use it every day.  I connect a hose to it and drain the water out onto my trees and bushes. Maybe someone else would be interested in purchasing one.  

Swimming Pool Cover Pump
Model# PE-1-PCP  
Little Giant Pump Company
3810 North Tulsa Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73112

www.LittleGiant.com

Main Image

Lupron

Dear Kim,

Last year our duck Sara needed to go on Lupron, but they don't keep it at my vet's office because it is so expensive. My vet suggested that one of his office workers scout around to find a pharmacy that could supply me with the Lupron at a cheaper rate, so I could give the shots myself. 

They ended up finding a pharmacy in Arizona. They are a compounding pharmacy and I was able to talk to one of the pharmacists.  The first shot of Lupron I purchased through my vet cost me $180.00 while this pharmacist said that it would only be around $25.00. 

I laughed and asked her if it was generic and she said, "no." She said they make it up there and it works just the same. She said it lasts longer on the shelf, but shorter in the host and advised that I could give my Sara  a shot every 4 to 6 weeks (although you will want to confirm this with your own vet).

I took the chance to ask her if others could order from them if they needed Lupron and she said, "Of course!" and advised me that they ship to many places in the US.

In case anyone is interested and wants to research this further, here is their information:

Diamond Back Pharmacy
7901 East McDowell Road
Scottsdale AZ  85257-3747 
Telephone:1-866-646-2223 

The Lupron was $25.95 plus $5.00 shipping. It comes already mixed in the syringe.  Of course, they need a prescription from your vet first.

Sincerely,

Annette M.

Thank you for both of your emails to us, Annette! Sorry it took so long to include them in our newsletters, but hopefully your advice will help other families with ducks and geese too!

Recommended Reading

Crazy Critter Lady

Crazy Critter Lady is the story of one woman's determination to do the right thing for the animals around her. Kelly Meister goes out on a limb (and sometimes a half-frozen pond) to help injured birds, mice, chipmunks, homeless "Aflac" ducks, cranky horses, lost frogs and a host of others.

Click Here to order your copy!

Majestic Sponsorships!

Give the gift that keeps on giving! Please consider sponsoring our rescued ducks and geese. Visit our Sponsorship Page to learn how!

Contact Us

Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary
17 Barker Road
Lebanon, CT 06249
director@majesticwaterfowl.org

Our Newsletter

The Majestic Monthly is published 12 times per year. Previous issues are available in our Archives.

More Feed Research...

We have received a number of inquires about feed brands and have spent the past two months knee-deep in research to try to answer as many of them as we can.

We have been communicating (and attempting to communicate) with representatives of the largest grain companies on the market today. We have also had conversations with our knowledgeable grain dealer and we've done a ton of internet research.

The opinions and recommendations expressed in this newsletter are entirely our own. We are not compensated in any way by any of the feed companies mentioned anywhere within.

Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the kind of information many of you have been asking for in the hopes it will help you make an educated decision regarding the diet of your pet ducks and geese.

We apologize that this newsletter issue may be a bit heavy with information and may not be entirely pleasurable to get through. We've tried to keep it as simple as possible without leaving out any pertinent information.


Clearing Up Company Confusion

Below is a basic list of how feed companies stack up today. It is by no means all-inclusive and only covers that information which we found relevant to domestic waterfowl owners.

There has been a lot of recent confusion about which companies are affiliated with one another, especially in regards to Purina brands. Ralston Purina was divided up and various divisions were sold off separately to other companies years ago.

As an added measure, we have provided details about any relevant recalled products we could find  in order to give you a good overall view of things. You can investigate these further by visiting FDA's website.

Parent Company: Nestle Purina

Nestle purchased Ralston Purina Company in 2001 to expand and improve their dog and cat food line (Alpo, Beneful, Purina One, Pro Plan, Moist & Meaty, Friskees, Kit & Kaboodle, Fancy Feast).

Nestle Purina company does not sell any poultry/waterfowl feed products and never has.

Parent Company:  Land O'Lakes

Land O'Lakes purchased the Purina Mills LLC division of Ralston Purina. Here are some of their popular feed divisions:

1) Purina Mills LLC
Relevant products include:
Purina Flock Raiser SunFresh Recipe
Purina Layena SunFresh Recipe
Purina Layena Plus Omega

Purina Layena SunFresh Recipe feed was recalled 2/06 due to excessive salt.

Purina Layena SunFresh Recipe feed was recalled 4/10 due to metal fragments in a limited number of bags.

2) PMI Nutrition International

3) Mazuri
Relevant products include:
Mazuri Waterfowl Maintenance
Mazuri Waterfowl Breeder
Mazuri Waterfowl Starter

Mazuri Waterfowl Maintenance feed was recalled 7/12 due to potential elevated levels of vitamin D. This recall involved at least 110 feed products that we could find, spanning over Mazuri as well as their other non-waterfowl feed brands.

Parent Company: Cargill

Cargill purchased the RPI International division of Ralston Purina. Here are some of their popular feed divisions:

1) Nutrena
Relevant products include:
NatureWise Chick Starter/Grower
NatureWise All Flock
NatureWise Layer
Country Feeds Starter/Grower Feed
Country Feeds All Flock Feed
Country Feeds Layer Feed

NatureWise  Chick Starter/Grower feed was recalled 12/11 due to high levels of aflatoxin/Aspergillus mold. This recall  involved at least 75 feed products that we could find, spanning over NatureWise, Showmaster, ACCO, Prime Quality as well as many other of their non-waterfowl feed brands.  

Although it involves NatureWise Lamb & Sheep Feed, Nutrabeef Cattle Grower Feed and Llama Mineral, the FDA issued a Letter to Cargill dated 6/25/08. This is a pertinent letter because it indicates quality control issues regarding continued feed manufacturing utilizing a mixer that was known to be damaged, not adhering to proper sequential ordering of medicated feeds to avoid spill over contamination, distribution of known contaminated feeds, and slow response times (7-10 months) regarding corrective action.

2) Showmaster
Relevant products include:
Showmaster Sheen

3) Purina RPI International

4) Agway
Relevant products include:
Agway Chick Starter/Grower Non-Medicated
Agway Egg Layer
Agway Meatbird Feeds
Nature Smart Organic Layer Pellet

5) ACCO
Relevant products include:
Paymaster Layer Pellet
Paymaster Layer Crumble
Paymaster Chick Starter/Grower

6) Prime Quality
Relevant products include:
Brood's Best Chick Starter/Grower Crumbles
Prime Quality Layer & Layer Blend Pellets
Prime Quality Laymaker Egg Pellets & Crumbles

Parent Company: Kent Nutrition Group

Here are some of their popular feed divisions:

1) Blue Seal
Relevant products include:
Blue Seal Home Fresh Grower-Cal
Blue Seal Home Fresh Layer Pellets
OrganicLife Starter Crumbles
OrganicLife  Grower Crumbles
OrganicLife Layer Pellets

14,000 tons of poultry feed were recalled 9/98 when it was found that it did not contain the essential ingredient: salt.

2) Kent Feeds
Relevant products include:
Home Fresh 27 Poultry
Home Fresh Multi-Flock
Home Fresh Extra-Egg 16

Parent Company: Tractor Supply

DuMOR and Producer's Pride are both Tractor Supply brands. Since they do not have their own plant their feed is manufactured by both Land O'Lakes/Purina Mills and by Cargill/Nutrena.

1) Producer's Pride

2) DuMOR
Relevant products include:
Poultry Grower/Finisher
Poultry Layer Crumbles
Poultry Layer Pellet
Poultry Chick Starter/Grower
Winning Show Poultry Feed

DuMOR (Land O'Lakes/Purina Mills) recalls:

DuMOR Poultry Grower/Finisher feed was recalled 4/12 due to potentially hazardous mis-packaging (bags actually contained: Poultry Layer 16% Crumbles).

DuMOR Show Poultry and DuMOR Poultry Grower/Finisher feeds were recalled 7/12 due to lack of added vitamin D.

DuMOR (Cargill/Nutrena) recalls:

DuMOR Chick Starter/Grower and DuMOR Poultry Grower/Finisher feeds were both recalled 12/11 due to high levels of aflatoxin (a carcinogen produced by aspergillus fungus).


Feed Formulas

To date, Mazuri and Nutrena are the only two companies to provide us with information regarding the formulation of their waterfowl feed.

Mazuri researched and developed their formulas around the 1970's at Slimbridge Wetland Centre (waterfowl wetland trust). Over the years they have refined the diets to support the needs of ducks, swans and geese.


Map taken from: www.
wwt.org.uk

Cargill has been conducting poultry research with chickens, ducks, turkeys and game birds since 1958 at their Innovation Center in Elk River, MN as well as at several other locations around the world. 

They currently run approximately 40 poultry trials per year on a worldwide basis. The information and learning from these trials are incorporated into how they design and formulate their feeds. When they develop a new feed, they then conduct a limited release trial to get feedback before they market their products.


Photo taken from: www.cargill.com


Milling Plants

It's in your best interests to know where your  feed is produced and what other products are being milled in those plants in case of any spill-over.

Mazuri has officially confirmed that they own and utilize their own manufacturing plants. They also confirmed this on behalf of Purina Mills.

Purina Mills owns all its own feed plants. In addition to manufacturing their own brand line they also mill feed for other companies (such as Tractor Supply's DuMOR brand) as well as doing custom formulations for other large customers.

All products within the Mazuri line are manufactured in company facilities. Most of the Mazuri production is done at the Richmond, IN Specialty Mill. This mill is run completely drug-free (no antibiotics, other meds or hormones) since 1971.

In the U.S., Cargill primarily manufactures feed at their own mills, although in some areas they have agreements with regional mills to manufacture their feed for them. If at any time they have a mill outside their company manufacturing their feed for them, that mill needs to have the same QA/QC (Quality Assurance/Quality Control) programs in place as Cargill.

At this time all Cargill facilities and equipment are up to date and proper adjustments have been made to ensure the safety of the feed produced at all Cargill manufacturing and Cargill toll manufacturing facilities.

In addition to  flushing between runs, they sequence their feeds and set the order of manufacturing in such a way that risk of carryover of antibiotic from one feed to another is minimized. In some cases, medications that may be harmful to a particular species will not be bagged at the same mill as the feed for susceptible species.


Feed Ingredients

We went through the feed labels of the most popular brands on the market and researched every ingredient on the list and here's what we found:

1) In our opinion, Mazuri appears to be using the best quality  ingredients compared with other brands.

2) Nutrena Naturewise blend also appears to be using high quality ingredients.

3) Blue Seal OrganicLife blend is third on our list.

4) Blue Seal's Home Fresh blend seems to be tied with Purina in fourth place as far as quality ingredients is concerned.

5) And finally, DuMOR was our least favorite.

We did not research: Agway, ACCO, Showmaster, Prime Quality, Kent Feeds and Producer's Pride feeds who all tend to be lower-quality options similar to DuMOR. These production-grade products are simply not designed for the optimal health and longevity of our pet ducks and geese.

In terms of clarity and most informative ingredient labels (in comparison to one another) we found Mazuri and the Nutrena Naturewise blend to be the best.

Interesting facts about ingredient labels

1) Current labeling laws do not require livestock and poultry feed ingredients to be listed in any particular order on the tag. Even so, Mazuri does list their ingredients in descending order according to weight.

Nutrena NatureWise ingredients are also listed in descending order according to weight on their tag, and so too are the ingredients in their Country Feeds blend.

2) According to these same labeling laws, feed companies do not have to specifically list all of the ingredients on their feed labels either. For example, if they purchase an ingredient from a supplier, they do not have to list anything that supplier may have added to that ingredient before the feed company purchased it.

3) Ingredients are listed according to the condition they were in when they were first purchased by the feed company, not by how they may have changed after being purchased. This means that any changes in the state of the ingredient after coming into inventory (whether intended or not) do not have to be listed. For example, if a company adds viable probiotics to their feed, it does not necessarily mean they are still viable at the end of manufacturing. Follow?

4) If the label doesn't say the ingredient is "whole" it may have had the healthy germ removed. Often times wheat, corn and soybeans have the germ removed prior to processing. This is sometimes done as a preservative measure, but other times it is the result of a feed company using inexpensive leftovers. Check the label to see if the germ is added back in later. If so, it was likely done as a preservative measure. If the germ is not added back in you may be buying grain remnants that have had all of their hearty centers removed.

Generic or Group Labeling

Blue Seal Home Fresh blend, Purina, Nutrena Country Feeds blend and DuMOR all use generic labeling (sometimes referred to as "Group Labeling"). Instead of listing exact grains used in their feed you may see ingredients like: "Grain" and "Grain by-products" on their label.

This means the grains they are using (and the parts of the grains they are using) tend to vary, making their formulas different from bag-to-bag or lot-to-lot depending on their suppliers, availability and ingredient prices. Rather than having a myriad of ingredient labels, they use one vague and generic label.

Questionable Ingredients

Menadone sodium bisulfate complex (vitamin K3)

This ingredient (or Menadone Nicotinamide Bisulfite) is listed on every ingredient label we reviewed--in all of the major brands.

Our online research showed that this ingredient has been banned from pet foods in some foreign countries because it is considered a possible carcinogenic. Some sites even refer to it as a: "cheap vitamin K alternative."

Further online investigating seemed to indicate that vitamin K1 (which is found in natural plant sources like alfalfa & kelp) is the best source  of vitamin K and that vitamin K2 is another good alternative.

So why is vitamin K3 used in all of our poultry/waterfowl feed?

Mazuri and Nutrena offered some helpful insight on this ingredient. 

According to Mazuri, the naturally occurring sources of vitamin K (alfalfa and kelp) are very unstable, variable in concentration and/or have very low bioavailability.

The form they use, Menadione Sodium Bisulfate Complex (MSBC) is the only approved form of vitamin K supplementation for animals and it is actually very expensive (thus dispelling the myth of it being "cheap").

It is also used to ensure common vitamin K deficiencies (including those seen during antibiotic treatment) do not occur anymore.

Nutrena further explained (and emailed us research documentation) that vitamin K3 is actually very safe when used in appropriate dietary levels. While they are very conscious of their formulas, the research they provided indicates that vitamin K3 can be ingested at levels up to 1000 times the recommended dosage with no adverse effects.

Porcine animal fat preserved with BHA

This ingredient only turned up in Mazuri. Basically it's pork fat preserved with butylated hydroxyanisole or BHA (which is a fat preservative that may be a carcinogen--it's still being researched).

Mazuri explained that they add this ingredient to their feed because the fats/oils being used provide what they feel are optimal fatty acid profiles. They use multiple fatty acid sources for birds because they have evolved to eat some saturated & omega 9 fatty acids in addition to the need for omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, and multiple sources allow Mazuri to achieve the balance desired between the fatty acid types.

Antioxidants (BHA) at very low levels are used to prevent rancidity in the fats/oils because rancid/oxidized fatty acids are incredibly destructive and can rapidly cause DNA damage. The minimal levels of antioxidants added are only there to protect against rancidity.

Mazuri also noted that labeling laws allow manufacturers receiving fats/oils already containing antioxidants, to not list the antioxidants as an ingredient since they were not the ones who added them. Mazuri opts to share this information with pet owners and zoos.

Dried Aspergillus Niger Fermentation Extract

This ingredient only turned up in the Nutrena products. We wanted to mention this ingredient because it might seem alarming to anyone who sees it there.

According to Nutrena, Aspergillus Niger is cultured to grow citric acid. It's an enzyme that helps fermentation in your duck or goose's intestines, which is why it's an ingredient in their feed.

It is NOT the same as Aspergillus flavus, which is a fungus responsible for the lung ailment aspergillosis. It's also not the same as Aspergillus Parasiticus. Both of these produce aflotoxins, which are carcinogenic and very dangerous.

Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Product

This ingredient only turned up in the Nutrena products. We wanted to mention this ingredient because, again, it might seem a bit alarming to anyone who sees it there.

While it's true that some strains of Bacillus Subtilis are known to cause disease, others can be utilized as probiotics. In the case of  this product ingredient, it is a probiotic.

Yucca Schidegera Extract

This was one of those strange finds that we just have to mention. Taken from the Yucca plant, this extract is found in the Nutrena NatureWise products. Apparently it contains an enzyme that reduces intestinal and blood ammonia levels in animals and in their waste, which reduces fecal orders.

Hmm... If the poop stinks that bad perhaps it's time to clean your barn!  

Probiotics

Nutrena Naturewise products list nine different probiotics on their ingredient label. While they may add viable probiotics to their feed, it's important to know how many of these organisms are still viable after feed manufacturing is complete.

Nutrena has confirmed that their probiotics remain 90% viable after pelleting and extrusion. As long as the feed is kept dry and stored well, the probiotics will remain intact for the shelf life of the bag (which is 60-90 days after the date stamped on the bag).


Vitamin D Levels in Mazuri Feed

In light of their recent recall, one of the questions we asked Mazuri was how they came up with the levels of vitamin D they add to their waterfowl feed. They provided us with the following answer:

Studies done on vitamin D levels in Pekin ducks in the 1940's suggested a recommended intake of 400-900 IU/kg in a diet containing 2900 kcal ME/kg.

But what does all this mean?

IU = International Units is how vitamin potency is measured.

ME= Metabolizable Energy is the amount of energy available to your duck or goose once food digestion is complete and waste is removed. It is the usable calorie count in feed.

Kcal = Kilocalorie (1000 calories)

Kg = Kilogram (1000 grams)

But don't worry! You don't need to understand any of  this math stuff to be able to follow what we're about to share with you! You just need to know that the study in the 1940's showed that 400-900 IU vitamin D/kg diet did the trick, but they also noted that higher levels might be more beneficial (NRC).

More recent studies have shown that 900 IU/kg and 8200 IU/kg provided similar performances in Pekin ducklings during their growth period (e.g. Rush et al., 2005).

Later, Shuange (et al., 2009) demonstrated that a requirement of 1236-1303 IU/kg was ideal for growing Pekin ducks. 

A review of duck nutrient utilization (Adeola, 2006) recommends 2500 IU/kg diet for growing and breeding ducks.   

These studies support a diet within a range of 900-2500 IU vitamin D/kg to foster optimal growth, egg production and maintenance of healthy bones in ducks. 

Mazuri formulates a 2250 IU/kg diet. See? That wasn't so bad!

But there's more to consider...

Mazuri Waterfowl feed is formulated to meet the needs of a variety of different kinds of ducks and geese. Flying waterfowl will have more rapid bone remodeling than our flightless pets, so they have to cover the needs of those birds who have higher requirements at the same time they meet the needs of our birds who can't--remaining very cognizant of toxicity levels.

And then comes the question of sun exposure...

Interestingly, it has been shown that birds cannot synthesize vitamin D in their feathered areas--only on their bills, legs and feet (1994, Tian et al.). Furthermore, the color of their skin will also significantly impact the production of vitamin D. Ducks and geese with peach, yellow or orange bills and feet will produce more vitamin D than birds with black bills and feet. Again, in formulating for everyone, Mazuri needs to cover the needs of black Cayuga ducks as well as our orange-footed Pekin friends.

There is actually little-to-no research on vitamin D synthesis in birds. It is unknown how much vitamin D they are able to produce through sun exposure and exactly what kind of situations are ideal for this to occur.

In all other species, location means everything. Those studies show that animals living at higher latitudes have less UV exposure, which results in lower vitamin D production. Meanwhile, those animals at lower latitudes have more UV exposure and produce more vitamin D.


Diagram taken from: www.backintymewordpress.com

Also in all other species, animals living at higher altitudes have increased UV exposure and synthesize more vitamin D than those living at lower altitudes.


Diagram taken from: www.gosunsmart.org

There is no doubt that birds can synthesize vitamin D from proper UV exposure. But Mazuri is manufacturing feed for birds that are managed in all kinds of situations and cannot make the assumption that all have proper access to the sun. Many zoos have indoor waterfowl environments where birds are not exposed to any true sunlight at all. Some ducks and geese live in our homes while others spend the majority of their winters in barns. Their feed is designed to provide the proper levels of vitamin D to keep birds healthy throughout the year in all kinds of habitats, under various conditions and in all parts of the world.

Mazuri also has to consider that our ducks and geese are eating things other than their feed. Most outside birds spend a good part of their day foraging and are also eating vegetation, bugs and worms. Many families also supplement their birds' diets with lettuce, watermelon, tomatoes and other delicious snacks. Mazuri formulates their feed so that your bird's TOTAL DIET has a certain percentage of vitamin D in it. The more food that your duck eats outside of their Mazuri feed, the lower their daily percentage of vitamin D will be.

Also keep in mind that vitamin D is very unstable. In Mazuri's trials, vitamin D levels dropped significantly within three months of manufacturing. This is only worsened if the feed is stored in hot and humid conditions. Because they know our bags aren't always stored in ideal conditions--out in our barns, for example, their feed is formulated so that even in these situations, our ducks and geese will receive adequate levels of vitamin D.


In Conclusion...

In closing we'd like to say that Mazuri is the only company who has quickly and openly responded to all of our inquiries, so if this newsletter seems a bit weighty in the Mazuri department it's simply because they've been the only ones talking to us for the past two months--while we were drafting this issue.

Even so, we would also like to thank Nutrena for coming through at the last minute with some valuable insights regarding their products and ingredients as well.

It's hard to trust those feed companies that didn't respond to our inquiries; after all, if they're not going to talk to us during the good times, what are the odds they're going to help us out when we have an issue? One can only guess...

Whether or not you agree with any of the feed information we've provided herein... well, that's entirely up to you. We're not looking to engage anyone in an argument, we're simply trying to provide some of the fundamentals you may need to help in your own research.

We encourage each of you to seek out your own answers and make your own informed decisions to help ensure the health & happiness of your ducks & geese. As always, we wish you and your flocks all the best!

       Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee in connection with any guidance provided on this website. Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility for loss or damage resulting from its use or for the violation of any federal, state or municipal law or regulation with which such guidance may conflict. Any guidance is general in nature. In addition, the assistance of a qualified professional should be enlisted to address any specific circumstances.
 

Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary 2012