Predominantly Ducks are wild birds but nowadays they are one among the favorite pets. You can see ducks anywhere in the world except Antarctica. Ducks are quite intelligent and can socialize with humans. Nowadays Ducks are becoming a popular pet and you should learn how to take care of your ducks. Ducks are easy to raise since they are not harmed by any of the common poultry diseases. Ducks are mostly used for egg production, meat production, and ornamental purposes. You should select breed depending upon your needs. The basic needs for ducks are somewhat same regardless of their breed. Taking care of your ducks is not that tough and mainly you should provide 3 basic needs. It includes proper diet, a cleaner environment, and safer surroundings.
What should you feed your ducks is the most common question which goes through every pet owners mind. Wild ducks usually consume snails, worms, insects found both on water and lands. But for pet ducks they are restricted to smaller areas and hence we need to make sure they have a healthy diet.
Duck’s diet should be rich in proteins and nutrients and should be balanced. You should never feed medicated foods to your ducks. Medicated foods contain too much calcium and too much of calcium causes kidney damage.Ducks don’t have teeth so needs water to swallow food. Always make sure clean water is available for your ducks.
Ducks need foods with higher protein content. The amount of protein required varies depending upon age, gender and breeds. Baby ducklings need higher percentage of protein contents as they are in a growing stage. The same can be said about female ducklings which lay eggs. The percentage of proteins is so crucial as over consumption of proteins can lead to fast bone growth which leads to conditions such as the twisted wing or lazy wing.
In the case of young ducklings they grow rapidly and hence, we need to feed them with foods that are high in protein. In the first 3 weeks, ducklings should consume 18 to 20 percentage of protein. After that, you can bring down the percentage of protein. Water is essential for young ducklings and you should never feed him food without water. You should never feed baby ducks without water. It helps them to get the food down and also clean beak vents. They like to play in the water and you should provide chick fountains if possible.
You can feed ducklings waterfowl starter crumbles which aid their growth and development. The pellets should be smaller in size so they can eat without any difficulty. You could also use chick starter as a substitute. The amount of niacin is less in chick starter when compared to starter crumbles. Niacin deficiency can cause bone disorders, bowed legs and severe joint disorders. So if you are feeding him chick starter you should provide a niacin supplement in the feed or water. Every pet loves treats and you can present young ducklings chopped fruits, vegetables, small insects and worms as treats. The weaker ducklings need yolk nutrition and you can give him a bit of mashed duck egg yolk. Young ducklings should have access to food 24/7 and they have to eat whenever they are hungry.
After 3 weeks we should slowly change his diet. Percentage of protein needed for them at this age are around 15% and calcium 1%. You can feed him grower food. Until duck is 6 weeks old food and water should be available 24 / 7 and take away food at night can cause considerable problems. After 6 weeks you can remove the food at night as there is a chance it will start to rot or will lure ants.
You can feed him pelleted chicken grower share with cracked corn or any other grain item. If your ducklings don’t have access to green feed outdoors, you should feed him grass clippings and chopped dandelions. Thus, lack of nutritional deficiency can be resolved. Ducks which don’t lay eggs should feed a maintenance diet as mentioned above. The percentage of protein should be limited within 15 and make sure you are not overfeeding them.
Ducklings which lay eggs
Since ducks lay a lot of eggs they should be given a balanced diet of vitamins and minerals. The percentage of protein needed is high and is around 18. Ducks require around 4% of calcium for egg shell production. If you are not sure whether ducks are on a proper diet, you can feed her oyster shells as a supplement. If your duck is laying pitted or thin shelled eggs you can give oyster shells as a supplement. When they stop laying eggs you should reduce the calcium to 1% as too much consumption can cause kidney failure.
Duck Feed Varieties
Pellets and starter crumbs
They are made from milled wheat plus beans, peas and oil seeds to complement protein content needed for ducks. There may be a presence of reprocessed food like pasta waste. The moisture content is regulated to 14%. The vitamins and minerals will be available in correct proportions. Make sure you purchase high-quality duck feeds as the cheaper rations may contain harmful solvents and additives.
Chick starter Crumbs are fed to ducks until they are 3 weeks old. They are a type of pellets which are broken into smaller pieces. They can easily fit into tiny beaks. Before you purchase crumbs make sure to check the label. Crumbs are really high in protein. Some crumbs may contain coccidiostats or any other medicinal drugs and it should avoided. Unlike other poultry birds ducks don’t require medicated foods. For baby ducklings, crumbs can be moistened and will make it easier to eat. Make sure clean water is available to them all the time.
Pellets for adult ducks
The protein requirements, when compared to baby ducklings, is less and also their beaks have substantial size. We should slowly introduce growers pellets to ducks. After 2 weeks you should add grower pellets to crumbs. When ducks are 4 weeks old he should only be fed with grower pellets. You can feed him hard grains like milled wheat but make sure ducks have access to sand, mud and grit. If not, provide grit as supplements in their food.
Ducks Likes to feast on flies, slugs, and worms which are promptly found on grass. They consume quite a lot of grass too. But most of the ducks don’t have access to that kind of area. If you couldn’t rear your ducks when they are 3 to 6 weeks old, provide them grass clippings and chopped dandelions. Thus, lack of deficiency will be resolved and will help ducks grow sturdy bones.
Food treats for your ducks
A solid diet of ducks should consist of vegetables or fruits trimmings to provide complementary nutrition. Giving ducks treats and supplements to their diets will improve their health. Feeding similar foods will make them wearily and they cherish something new from time to time.
You can give ducks vegetables daily. You can present him lettuces but should be in lesser amount since they are low in nutritional value. Uncooked cucumber chopped into small pieces is a quality treat.
Corn is another great treat and it can either be given as cooked or Uncooked. Peas is one of the favorite treats of ducks. You can use it to train your duck. Canned peas are high in Salt content and should be limited.
Peas, lettuces, and corn shouldn’t be fed to baby ducklings. Similarly, you can give him cabbage, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, etc. Make sure they are cut into tiny pieces before they are fed to ducks.
Fruit is a great treat for ducks and they will appreciate it very much. The flesh of tomato is a great treat but make sure that leaves or vines are removed as it can be toxic for ducks. Apple can be provided but don’t forget to remove its seeds. Banana is another great option. Seedless cherries, melons, grapes.,pineapples, peaches, strawberries, etc are some treats we can feed our ducks. You shouldn’t give bananas and peaches to baby ducklings. Make sure there are no pesticides on vegetables and fruits. The presence of pesticides can be really fatal for your ducks. Other than vegetables and fruits you can give them eggs, plain yogurt, cottage cheese, rice, oatmeal, potatoes, cereals, etc as treats to adult ducks. In the case of eggs, you can either feed them scrambled eggs(better not to use any oil) or boiled egg. Don’t throw away the egg shell and mix it with eggs before giving to ducks(good source of calcium) .
You can provide him live crickets and are available at pet shops and bait shops.
You can feed your ducks fish and fish should be small enough to fit into their beaks (guppies, feeder goldfish, minnows) . You can give him plain yogurt or cottage cheese and can be mixed with chopped veggies or fruits. Rice and potatoes need to be cooked with a lot of water and should be really soft.
The above-mentioned food treats should be treated as supplements and needs to be given in smaller quantities.
Things you shouldn’t feed your ducks
- The first item on the list is bread. Breads are just filled with fats and don’t contain any minerals or vitamins. Since they are tastier ducks tend to eat a lot and will make them overweight. Feeding Breads to ducks is of no use so every pet owner should avoid it. Spinach is another one which needs to be removed from duck’s diet.
- Spinach absorbs calcium from ducks bodies and it will cause egg binding issues in female ducks. Onions can cause diarrhea and vomiting in ducks and continuous feeding can cause hemolytic anemia ( affects red blood cells ).
- Never feed your dogs chocolates as it is high in sugary fats and also causes chocolate poisoning. Similarly, all the foods which are high in sugary, salty fats should be taken away from your duck’s diet. Avocados are really toxic to ducks and can cause cardiac distress.
- Fruits which are high in acidic content like lime, grapefruit, oranges, etc should be avoided. Seeds of any types and junk foods should be kept away from your ducks.
Unlike other poultry birds ducks are not susceptible to any common poultry diseases. By following a proper and healthy diet you can keep your ducks stay healthy.
Where can I buy Duck food?
If you are willing to buy Duck Food online, you can head over to Online stores right away and order it.
Here are the top Duck Food Brands that we Prefer to you.