Feeding Your Ducks: A Guide to Feeding Ducks Poultry Feed and Pasture
Do you have duck care questions about feeding ducks? Wondering how to feed ducks or how much duck feed your ducks will eat? We've got answers for all your feeding ducks questions, including how to feed ducklings and how to feed ducks on pasture! The basics of feeding ducks and duck feed are easy. Keep reading! (We also highly recommend Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks: Breeds, Care, Health as the most important book for duck hobbyists to buy)
Feeding Ducks Poultry Feed
Lewis Wright (The Practical Poultry Keeper: Public Domain) states: "A JUDICIOUS system of feeding is very essential to the well- being of poultry, and has, of course, more direct influence upon- the profit or loss than any of the circumstances though equally important which we have hitherto enumerated. We shall, therefore, endeavour to give the subject a full, practical consideration.
" The object is to give the quantity "and quality of food which will produce the greatest amount of flesh and eggs ; and if it be attained, the domestic fowl is unquestionably the most profit- able of all live stock. But the problem is rather a nice one, for there is no "mistake on the right side" here. A. fat hen is not only subject to many diseases, but ceases to lay, or nearly so, and becomes a mere drag on the concern ; while a pampered male bird is lazy and useless at best, and very probably, when the proprietor most requires his services, may be attacked by apoplexy and drop down dead."
After hatching and brooding ducklings, your ducklings will need unmedicated chick starter (20% protein) and unmedicated chicken grower feed (16% protein), as well as lots of water—they are, after all, waterfowl! When giving water to your ducklings, make sure they can't fall into the waterer. Also make sure the brooder litter doesn't get wet. Once your ducklings approach adult ducks size, the way you go about feeding your ducks changes.
Generally, feeding ducks requires some level of customization because your local farm feed store probably doesn't sell duck feed formulated specifically for feeding ducks. Instead, feed your ducklings chick starter feed (20% protein) intended for feeding baby chicks. This will do for about three weeks.
When your ducks mature (at or around three weeks of age), you can switch your ducks' poultry feed to chicken grower pellet feed (16% protein). Besides feeding your ducks chicken grower feed, you'll also want to provide your ducks with insoluble poultry grit and corn grain scratch feed.
Feeding Ducks on Free-Range Pasture
Lewis Wright (The Practical Poultry Keeper: Public Domain) states: "In the case of these birds alone...they will do well in a garden or any other tolerably wide range where they can procure plenty of slugs and worms, with a pond or cistern only a few feet across. Kept in this manner, they will not only be found profitable, but very serviceable ; keeping the place almost free of those slugs which are the gardener's great plague, and doing but little damage, except to strawberries, for which they have a peculiar partiality, and which must be carefully protected from their ravages. Other fruit is too high to be in much danger."
Ducks enjoy being free-ranged with access to pasture land and green forage. When your ducks are fully mature (around six weeks of age), you can move your ducks to free-ranged pasture land to make use of their natural foraging feed ability. Not only are ducks good at foraging for feed, but its also a natural and healthy duck diet. Granted, ducks are not as good at free-ranging as geese are. However, raising your ducks with access to natural feed will ensure their health.
When they're young, you can feed your ducks garden cuttings and kitchen vegetable scraps. You can also feed your ducks grass clippings from your lawn as long as such clippings are not treated with insecticides or pesticides. Afterwards, move your ducks to a free-ranged pasture or fenced duck run. Many duck breeds enjoy grass varieties such as bluegrass and timothy grass, and other types of duck pasture grass. As with any type of farm livestock or poultry animal, never free-range your ducks on chemically-treated pasture land.
How many ducks can feed on a pasture? Generally, you can expect one acre of pasture to be sufficient feeding for up to 40 individual ducks.
Fence your duck pasture with a sturdy chicken-wire fence approximately 3-4 feet tall. To provide your ducks with shelter while free range feeding, construct a couple simple lean-tos with strategically placed duck waterers.
While your ducks will enjoy a pond or pool with fresh, clean water, such water resources are not necessary so long as your waterfowl have access to clean water to dip their heads in.