Ducklings and foraging

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by courtcourt, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. courtcourt

    courtcourt New Egg

    Jan 24, 2011
    Soddy-Daisy, TN
    At roughly what age will ducklings start foraging?

    I've put my 4 week olds outside every day that it's been warm enough to let them out, in a chicken tractor (we have neighbor dogs that visit our yard several times a day.) They will occasionally poke around on the ground and bite at grass, I watched one snap at a bee that bravely flew into the tractor (and quickly flew back out after being snapped at) but they don't appear to actually be eating anything out there. They much prefer their crumbles and/or the treats I toss into their water (lettuce, a couple of carrot shavings, stuff like that.) I've also tossed in earthworms, but they get away because the ducks don't bother with them.

    I can't find anything in the Raising Ducks book about when they begin to do their own foraging. I'm not worried about it or anything, just curious. :)
  2. country_girl011

    country_girl011 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 7, 2011
    well ducks dont eat grass.
    they like bugs.
    so if there arent any bug in the area your babies are in then they have nothing to eat.
  3. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    Takes time they will learn. My ducks do eat grass though? i see them tear at it but they also love looking for bugs.. i found with our first group it took them time to learn what the heck it was all about.. whereas the pair of 3-4wk olds i brought in who were left to forage from the get go knew even at the young age what to do.. (first ducks were from a hatchery)
  4. wildpeas

    wildpeas Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 18, 2012
    Port Orchard, Wa
    My 4 week olds will eat grass when they are outside but only the tender new shoots. They seem to really like the new dandelion weeds too but not the flowers. They are starting to 'dig' in the dirt so its just a matter of time before one of them finds a bug and actually eats it. They dont have a mom duck to show them what to do and since I'm not into eating bugs they will have to figure it out by trial and error.
  5. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
  6. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    Mine go outside briefly each day as soon as they start to develop their flights. They will eat any dandelions and broad leaf weeds they find. New grass gets nibbled on.

    When mine are 4-5 days old, they get dandelion leaves and chopped fresh grass given to them in the brooder. They know what it is and that it is edible. Baby chick size grit 2 days before the first greens,

    They will try to catch bugs when they are just a couple of days old.

    Oh..... the first 2 or so times they go out, they huddle. Ducks don't like changes, so they don't explore right off the bat. If they are in a tractor, make sure they have both sunshine and shade available to them at all times.
  7. ChristineR

    ChristineR Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2011
    WA state
    My ducks love dandelions! They pick at the grass, but I don't think they really eat much of it. They like to sift through it looking for bugs. They also love slugs and strawberries. I have to keep them out of the strawberry beds or I wouldn't have any left. I toss them the berries that the slugs have gotten to.
  8. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    My experience is similar to Oregon Blues. At first, just getting used to the outdoors is a big deal. But bringing slugs, dandelion greens and so forth into the brooder, those things the ducklings knew right away were good stuff.

    I like to scratch around in the soil - I am a gardener - so the ducks follow me to see what's for snack.

    Seems my ducklings were a few months old when they finally really got into foraging, and now they eat bunches of things.
  9. tweetysvoice

    tweetysvoice Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 30, 2011
    Lawrence, KS
    My Coop
    I find this topic of them eating grass and bugs interesting. Mine LOVE meals worms, and all four of them eat both fresh grass as well as grass clippings from the mower. We throw the clippings into the pen and they just lay down in the middle of them and start chowing down (with the obligatory mouthful run to the pond, mind you..)
  10. Mrs. Fluffy Puffy

    Mrs. Fluffy Puffy Fluffy Feather Farm

    Jan 26, 2010
    Texas, Panhandle
    My first ducks I hatched out last year (2 calls, 1 magpie) were hatched right as it was getting cold so they did not have acess to the great outdoors. Even now that they are grown they will not eat anything other than their crumbles. Whereas the two new ducklings we bought at TSC almost three weeks ago will eat ANYTHING that you try and feed them, good or bad for them! LOL The reason for this is because started digging up worms for them, finding them rolly pollies and other bugs as soon as we got them and now they just LOVE Bugs!! My grown ducks will not even touch them?? What is their problem? Crazy things.

    Whenever I'm in the garden I let Jessie and Jennifer (the two ducklings) roam around while I can watch them and we tought them when they were little to go over to where grass grows along the raised beds and they can find all sorts of bugs and grubs underneath the grass to eat. Now they are excellent at finding their own food. From now on, that is how we are going to train out ducks. I want them all to be good foragers, plus finding all sorts of bugs and things for the ducklings really improved how they viewed me, instead of a big ugly monster, they now see me as their momma that finds them all sorts of goodies! It's so much fun when they follow you around the garden and freak out when they cannot find you, then you call them and they come a fly'in, just waddlin' as fast as their legs can carry them! Too, two, cute!!

    ~ Aspen

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