Do I need to feed my ducks or will the be ok if I just let them forage?

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by DuckDaddy01, Oct 16, 2016.

  1. DuckDaddy01

    DuckDaddy01 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 16, 2016
    Hi everyone, so I have 12 domesticated ducks. Four different types. They are roughly 4 months old each. I am OK to feed them but I also want to encourage active foraging so don't want to give them all of their needed food. I assume that they will pursue the easiest route to food and so I want to keep them a little dependent upon finding their own food. There have been a couple of instances where I was away from home all day. I let my ducks roam in the backyard. We have almost 4 acres. They did seem hungry by the time I got home, but no more hungry than usual. I guess I want to understand what is the minimum that I must feed them if I am trying to encourage maximum foraging. Hypothetically speaking, what would happen if I never fed them at all but allowed them to get all of their food from the yard and pond?
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchi Wan Kenobi Premium Member

    Mar 27, 2012
    My Coop

    Yes, you do need to feed them. I have ducks and I offer food free choice all day. They eat it, but they prefer the tasty bugs, worms, and slugs that they can turn up in the yard to their food, so even though they eat the feed they still forage around to find other things to eat. If you're really worried about feed consumption, take the food up during the day and then give it back in the coop at night. It's a great way to get them to return to the coop willingly at night too if they don't already,
    1 person likes this.
  3. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Yes, you do need to feed them. In winter they won't be finding bugs and worms. While they are out foraging - predators will be eying them as a meal.
  4. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    Greetings from Kansas DuckDaddy, and :welcome! Great to have you in our flock. I concur with Pyxis and Diva...gotta feed 'em. If you can't find true duck feed, a ration called All Flock (made by several companies) works well. Best wishes and thanks for joining BYC! :)
  5. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    Hypothetically, if you didn't feed them anything, they would be at risk for serious nutritional deficiencies. Free ranging will help to reduce the amount of feed they consume, but they should still have access to as much feed as they want.
  6. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Welcome to BYC! It's great to have you.

    The above is all correct.
  7. DuckDaddy01

    DuckDaddy01 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 16, 2016
    Thanks everyone! Very helpful!
  8. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

    Jun 15, 2012
    Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you joined us! :)
  9. CuzChickens

    CuzChickens CountryChick

    Apr 24, 2016
    Hello, and welcome to Backyard chickens! So glad you joined us, and I hope you make yourself at home here!

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