Feeding Ducks: What Do Ducks Eat, What NOT to Feed, and Everything Else You Need to Know

We may earn a commission if you buy an item via one of the links on this page. Commissions have no bearing on our editorial material. Get the whole story, including all of the details.

So, if you’re ready, I’ll encourage you to go for it.

My ducks are my absolute favorites. These are the birds that pose the least danger to us. They have been incredibly durable to sickness, have terrific temperaments, are delightful to watch, and require very little care.

Before you get started, it’s critical to do some research.

Now, I’d like to help you understand how much protein they need.

The Essentials Ducks Need

Pekin ducks are raised on our farm. They’re my everything, and I wouldn’t want them any other way. A Mallard is also in the mix.

Ducks are the only downsides to owning ducks: they eat a lot!

They eat a wide range of foods that are very easy (and inexpensive) to get, so don’t let that scare you. You may simply look through the list and choose what is perfect for you and your feathered pals: whichever is simplest for you to develop or buy.

In another article, we share a list of plants to grow for duck feed, as well as the option to grow your own duck feed.

1. Always Provide Fresh Water

I have to make it clear right away that this is a crucial point.

Ducks need access to water while eating food, which we all know they prefer. To keep their meal moist while they eat, ducks have a custom of alternately returning and forth between their meal and drinking water.

Always make sure your duck has enough water to play in while they eat their meal, no matter how old they are.

2. The Importance of Niacin and Protein

Certain vitamins and minerals are more essential than others for all birds, however there are a variety of important ones. Ducks are particularly susceptible to certain deficiencies, which may cause severe health issues over time.


The vitamin B3, Niacin, is critical for duck growth to aid in the development of robust limbs and joints. Ducklings’ health will deteriorate rapidly if they don’t get enough Niacin, and they may die as a result. Lack of drive or the inability to walk, as well as a failure to thrive, are all symptoms of niacin deficiency.


Another essential element of a developing duck’s diet is protein, which may cause health concerns if it is eaten in too small or too large quantities. To assist in selecting the proper feed, pay attention to the protein needs of each of your duck’s stages of life. Angel wing, which is caused by too much protein, is characterized by feathers that protrude. A duck’s growth will be aided by the proper quantity of protein.

What To Feed Ducklings

1. Feed Requirements

Because not every feed store stocks feed specially created for ducklings, it may be challenging to locate the proper diet when feeding your ducklings. Make sure that your selected feed has a protein level of 20% when it comes to protein quantity.

2. Waterfowl Starter

This is the best diet for your ducklings if you can locate waterfowl starter/crumbles. To grow healthy ducklings, waterfowl feed must contain all the appropriate amounts of protein, niacin, and other important nutrients and vitamins.

3. Chick Starter

Chick starter serves as a suitable substitute for waterfowl starter since most feed shops do not stock it. Nevertheless, to provide the specified quantities of niacin required by a duckling, it may be necessary to add brewer’s yeast to your chick starter. A good rule of thumb for adding brewer’s yeast to chick starter is to use 2-3 cups of brewer’s yeast per 10 pounds of feed.

Feeding ducklings medicated chick starter vs. unmedicated chick starter has sparked quite a bit of debate. Some farmers have found that feeding medicated chick starter has no negative side effects. Because the amprolium is unnecessary for a duckling’s diet, it is preferable to use an unmedicated starter if one is available.

Read our article on whether or not it’s a problem to feed ducklings medicated chick starter if these rumors make you nervous.

What To Feed Juvenile Ducks

1. Feed Requirements

Your ducks will slow down a bit once they’ve passed the little duckling stage. To avoid problems like angel wing, you should now change to a diet with a little less protein content. It’s important to get around 15% of your calories from protein at this age.

2. Flock Raiser

Flock raiser, which is considerably simpler to discover than waterfowl starter in most circumstances, is an suitable feed for growing ducks. Without the use of any extra nutrients, Flock Raiser meets all of the necessary requirements for duck growth.

What To Feed Adult Laying Flocks

1. Feed Requirements

You’ll need to provide your ducks with a diet that supports healthy egg production and maintains vitality in your birds when it comes to feeding a healthy productive flock.

To meet your duck’s requirements, your feeding ration should contain around 16-17% protein. If your eggshell quality continues to be poor, calcium supplements may be required.

2. Laying Feed

To ensure that waterfowl egg layers get all of the essential nutrients for their diet, most feed shops stock a well-balanced feed for them. Nonetheless, a duck flock may be fed with chicken laying feed if waterfowl feed is unavailable.

What To Feed Broiler Ducks

1. Feed Requirements

Ducks are frequently fed a higher protein diet when it comes to preparing them for consumption. Most ducks can’t maintain a diet including more protein, although broiler ducks have a shorter life expectancy.

2. Broiler Feed

To encourage fast development in your ducks, provide a 20% protein level in the diet of your meat ducks. For ducks like Pekin, which grow much faster than most egg laying duck breeds, a higher protein diet works just fine.

Snacks And Treats For Ducks

You can spoil your ducks with a variety of snacks and treats that they will enjoy in addition to feeding them store-bought food.

The snacks will appeal to your ducks’ huge appetites. Just make sure that snacks account for no more than 10% of their diet, and you’ll be fine.

Green snacks such as weeds, kale, cut grass, and so on It is possible to provide an limitless amount. They’re a treat for your ducks, and they like them.

1. Bugs

Ducks like bugs, so don’t forget about them. They’re not very choosy about who they marry.

They’ll be delighted if you bring them any insect, including nightcrawlers, worms, or mealworms.

The benefit of insects is that they may be cultivated without charge. You may also keep your own mealworms (as we do) in your own home. You may also grow your own red worms if you wish.

Raising worms will save you money and your ducks will adore them, whichever worm appeals to you to raise.

You may also let ducks scratch around in your garden, which will fertilize it while they hunt grubs. This is another advantage of having ducks.

2. Fruit

Ducks have a yen for fruit. It’s also amusing to watch them devour it. Any berries or fruit that you’ve gathered or picked can be dumped here. It will be gladly accepted by them.

Berries, melons (ducks adore watermelon rind), seeded fruits, and pit fruits are just a few of the delightful fruits. Your day will be brightened by watching a duck consume a strawberry. Therefore, go ahead and toss your leftovers or too ripe foods over to them.

It’s a pleasure for them to do it.

3. Vegetables

Even if you simply have too much of some items growing in your garden, your ducks will love seconds from your yard.

Every year, we do that. I’ll plant too much of something and get sick of canning it by the end of the season. My ducks come in handy for that.

Since I’m not wasting it, I can feed it to them and feel OK. I’m actually reducing my feed bill by using them.

Your ducks will gladly accept veggies like cucumbers, peas, squash, zucchini, corn, kale, and broccoli off of your hands.

4. Whole Grains

Grains are a favorite of ducks. Nonetheless, if you don’t feed them only whole grains, they’ll acquire too much pounds.

Since ducks get fat rather quickly (I suffer from the same issue), it’s vital that you provide them healthy meal choices so their treats don’t end up in their tail feathers.

Brown rice, quinoa, oats, and whole wheat bread will undoubtedly brighten their day.

5. Protein food

Bugs should be a part of their normal diet, as I previously said. Protein-rich snacks, on the other hand, are a great choice.

When the most obvious answers flew up in front of my face while researching duck snacks high in protein, I laughed. Scrambled eggs were one of them. It seems strange to give scrambled eggs to a duck that lays eggs, but many owners claim their ducks enjoy them.

I’d be making some for my ducks and bringing it to them to see how much they adore them, if I wasn’t in the middle of a rainstorm. Tomorrow’s list includes that item.

Anyway, don’t let your extra eggs go to waste (as many of us do during the summer months). For your ducks, just mix them up.

Food Supplements For Ducks

For the most part, ducks are fairly basic creatures. They consume a lot but are picky about the foods they consume. Feeding them is therefore simple.

They’re hardy creatures that like to lay eggs and don’t need much more than a safe shelter and clean water.

Don’t be alarmed that there aren’t many food supplements and that they aren’t all based on suggestion; instead, they are a necessity.

1. Grit

Grit is probably not required if your ducks are anywhere near dirt. They use a technique of eating little stones found in the dirt to help crush their meal.

However, if your ducks are in firm grass and you don’t believe that the rocky soil in their vicinity is sufficient, buy a bag of grit.

At your local farm supply shop or online, you may get your grit.

2. Oyster Shell

So, you give your ducks a healthy diet. Their eggs, on the other hand, are still pitted or have a weak shell. For extra calcium to boost their shells, you’ll have to give them oyster shell.

It’s usually available at local feed shops, such as this one. You’ll have robust eggs in no time if you mix a little of this into their daily diet.

What You Should Not Feed Your Ducks

There are a few things that you should never give your ducks to eat. It’s important to understand this list if you choose to offer snacks.

So please do not feed your ducks:

1. Citrus fruit

A duck’s ability to absorb calcium can be interrupted by citrus fruit. If you like their eggs, this can result in thin-shelled eggs that are unsatisfactory.

2. Spinach

As with citrus fruit, spinach is in danger. It also interferes with calcium absorption, which results in brittle shelled eggs.

3. Iceberg lettuce

It is permissible to give them iceberg lettuce in modest doses. They may also get diarrhea if they consume too much, causing their whole bodies to go off balance. Therefore, eat with caution.

4. White Potatoes, Green Tomatoes, and Purple Eggplant

The nightshade family includes all of these. As a result, ducks are very dangerous from all components of these plants (stems, leaves, and fruits).

5. Raw, Dried Beans

Make sure that your ducks’ beans are fresh or sprouted before feeding them. Raw or dried beans are harmful to them if you try to feed them to them.

Just keep in mind that being safe is always preferable than sorry while feeding your ducks. As a result, do some research whenever you’re unsure.

How To Feed Your Ducks

Ducks are enormous eaters, but they are very easy to maintain. They are usually fed once a day and do not need much specific equipment.

I believe it is best to give your ducks free rein when feeding them so that they may choose and pick what they prefer.

Now that ducks are huge eaters, I use an automated feeder to feed them grain. I also give them a 5-gallon bucket of weeds each day. They have a lot of options for bugs in a shaded, wooded area.

Almost all individuals feed their ducks two bowls of food every day, either once or twice a day. If they’re still hungry, you’ll know by looking at them. When they’re hungry, they’ll squawk loudly to let you know, believe me.

Mine are so spoiled that if I’m weeding in the garden, they begin to quack and inform me about it if I’m out there for longer than a few minutes.

In order to properly feed and water your ducks, you’ll only need these two items.

1. Poultry Feeder

You may simply refill this poultry feeder when it gets empty by filling it up. Despite the fact that ducks are fed by hand, there is no concern.

The fact that this kind of feeder makes it more difficult for ducks to create a mess with their meal is also a plus.

As a result, it is completely effective.

2. Poultry Waterer

This is a choice you have a lot of options for. A poultry waterer (the largest one they have is preferable since ducks drink a lot.) may be purchased.

You can also make a poultry waterer, if you prefer. Since they can’t climb into it and try to swim in it, this is a really cool idea. If they can get into the water, believe me, they will. This will help you save time and money by keeping their water a bit more clean.

Feeding ducks is as simple as it gets.

Doesn’t it look rather easy? So, that’s why it is. They’re a pleasure to have around the property, and they cause relatively little mischief.

Leave a Comment