So…where do I start. When I was learning about ducks I was so confused about this. I wanted something simple and easy to get in my mind, but what I found was hard and complex. I decided to do this so you guys can get a simple (or what I think is simple) introduction about feed and supplements for ducks (and chickens, too). So to begin, I am going to give you some definitions.
Feed: This is what your ducks main diet should be.
Supplement: This is like our human vitamins. Wild ducks get this from being in the wild, but domestic ducks do not. These should be things you mix in their feed/or put in there water.
So now that you know the definitions we will begin with the feed.
Some people have no idea what to use for feed, so I’m going to give you four options for what you can use. There are most likely more, but I will just cover four.
This is a pic of whole grain feed vs ground feed:
- Water Fowl Feed- Some people choose water fowl feed. I do not because it is way more expensive. It is also harder to find. The water fowl feed has all the nutrients that a duck needs unless you want to add some of the supplements that I will cover below.
- Poultry Feed- This is for all kinds of poultry. Like water fowl feed, it is more expensive and harder to find. It also has the right nutrition for ducks/other kinds of poultry. Of course, you may want to add supplements that I will cover below.
- Chicken Feed- I use chicken feed. It is easy to find and the cheapest. It does NOT have the right nutrition for ducks and I will discuss this when I cover the supplements below. If you are going to use it for ducks it HAS to be UNMEDICATED! If you give them medicated feed they will get overly medicated. We do NOT want this to happen. Now I do want to point out that there some times when medicated feed is good…..mainly for your growing ducklings! When you do not have the option to get unmedicated then medicated is just fine.* I found out most of this info from books and wet sights I have followed.
- Whole grain- This has the same grains in it as the other feed just it is not ground up. I do not recommend this because the ducks/chickens will pick out the grains they want and leave the others which could be full of all kinds of nutrients you need for your duck.
So now you know what kinds of feed there are. Now you need to know the protein level of feed for ducks of different ages. Now remember, all kinds of feed may be a different protein level. As long as they are pretty close it is fine.
Starter Feed: 1-3 weeks, 19-21% protein
Grower Feed: 1-21 weeks, 15% protein
Layer Feed: When they start laying (males can have it too), 16% protein
So there you go. That is our food section. Just know that the certain protein levels may be called something different depending on what kind of food you choose to use. If you have any questions just contact me. This is a very hard topic to cover so I understand if you are confused.
These are like vitamins in a human diet so here we go. Here are the ones I add/put beside their food or in their water. I will tell you guys if I put it in there water.
Oats: I will add this to my feed for protein. They are overall good for a duck’s boost in nutrition.
Probiotic Powder: This is just like the probiotic we have today. Just add a bit to their food and they will be good.
Brewers Yeast: Here is where we all begin. I was very confused about this, but now I know. If you decide to feed your ducks chicken feed they will NEED this. If not then you do not have to worry about it unless you want to add it just for an extra nutrition boost. Chicken feed does not have enough niacin in it. Brewers yeast is a form of niacin. So add a bit to their food and they will be great!
Garlic Powder: This is just another form of an all-around health boost.
Oyster Shell: This is for laying females ONLY. So if you put it a little ways away from the food, the males should not mess with it.
Grit: This is not really a supplement, but small rocks. They store this in their crop to break down food. Make sure you get chick grit if it is for ducklings. Just put this beside their food and they will eat it when needed. You can get this at your local feed store.
Kelp: This is just another nutrition boost.
Here are two things I put in their water:
Garlic Cloves: Give them this plus garlic powder for extra nutrition boost. It is fine if they fish them out and eat them.
Apple Cider Vinegar: This is good for their immune system. It keeps their water clean too. Just keep in mind it is acidic so just add a bit to the water.
Hope you guys got this information in a simple way!!! Thanks!