Question about using Scratch as Duck food, will it HURT them?


10 Years
Apr 25, 2009
Merritt Island, FL
Hi all,

I just read a post where someone asked what Scratch was and about using it for chickens. Well, that brought up the question for me for if it is ok for ducks?

When I first got Charlie, my baby Muscovey last year (and way before I found this website) I went to the feed store and asked what to feed him. They gave me unmedicated chick starter and said when he was bigger to feed him "Scratch" which is what I have done. He is now over a year old and has Angel Wing. He was also fed lots of veggies and spinach leaves, etc. but primarily scratch. Then in about October of last year, I adopted two more ducks, a young adult drake and an approx. 6 week old hen. The drake already had Angel Wing too, but not the hen. They, too, ate the Scratch primarily, and also veggies, lettuce, spinach leaves, grass, etc. Then the hen was big enough to fly and she free-ranged and got "most" of her food in the "wild". She did not end up with Angel wing.

Now, I have three new baby Muscovies approx. 1 week old. I have learned alot more now than what I used to know when raising Charlie. I bought them Game bird starter, unmedicated, online and have been feeding them that, with cut up veggies (mixed frozen veggies that I thaw and chop up in the food processor to make it small enough), as well as spinach leaves cut up real small. Their primary food is the game bird starter.

Ok, after all the background, I have a question. About 2 months ago, I bought four pekin/swedish duck mixes that were four months old. There are three hens. The guy I bought them from said to feed them Layena crumbles with the scratch so when they start laying eggs, the shells will be ok, etc. So, I went to the feedstore and got a 50lb bag of layena crumble type stuff. I mix it half and half with the scratch and feed that to ALL of them now, including the drakes (but NOT the new babies). They also still get vegetables, spinach leaves, fresh grass pulled for them every day, lettuce, kitchen scraps, etc. every day, along with the layena and scratch.

Is this ok to feed them? The four young pekin/swedish mixes that I got really grew FAST and got a good bit bigger and fatter in the two months I have had them. I think they look good, but I don't want them to get fat.

I just bought a new bag of scratch yesterday and still have layena and am continuing to mix it. Will this diet continue to be ok for ALL of them except the babies, who will stay on gamebird starter. WHen will the babies be old enough to switch to the big duck diet that I am feeding? Will the big ducks continue to be ok with this diet? Are they getting enough nutrition? The drakes don't like the layena crumbles much and tend to eat the scratch out of their dish and leave all the crumbles. The love the veggies and stuff though. They are penned separate from the four younger pekin/swedish mixes. The three pekin/swedish hens have not started laying yet, but I guess they probably will soon. They are approx. 6 months old now.

I want my birds to be as absolutely healthy as possible, and I don't want them fat. We live in Florida, so the temps here right now are in the 90 degree range. Yeah, yuck, I know. Humidity is terrible. The babies live in the house right now with A/C set at 83 degrees and they have a heating pad on their brooder to keep them warmer than the 83 degree house temp. as they are only a week old. They are eating really well and growing.

Thanks everyone!!

the problem with just feeding scratch is that the coron in scratch, or corn period doesn't have much protien,

ducks, like chickens are omnivores, they like to eat anequal diet of grasses, and bugs,frogs,snails,worms, and other insects.

I feed mine Blue seal breeder poultry pellets, with some layer crumble,scratch,and dry catfood mixed all together.

they also get pulled clover from the clover field beside their pen, as well as herb leaves from the little 2 row garden I planted the other month LOL.

they also get once or twice monthly treats of live crickets or goldfish, that gives them something to do, and to look forward to.

they're all fat,(well, not FAT, but you know what I mean) and happy as clams, and spoiled as all get out, they EXPECT their breakfast clover salad EVERY morning, and mob me at the pen gait every morning.

cat food is a good meat protien supliment if you don't want to feed live fish

so long as they are in good wieght, and active, keep doing what you're doin'!
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Thanks so much for answering, I appreciate it. Sounds like your duckies are nice and happy! Do you recommend any particular brand of dry cat food? I feed my feral cats the indoor Purina brand and I have once and a while thrown a handful in for the ducks as a treat. I forgot about that. They do like it too. Maybe I should include that in their diet a few times a week. I already spend a fortune on cat food with the cats I have (20 lb bag of food every 4-5 days!!). I also give them Coi food once in awhile as a treat. It floats on the water in their pool and it's fun watching them dive for it and chase it around the water! LOL
I feed our cats paws & claws from the local TSC, they have 40lb bags for 20$, the ducks get a cup of that every other day, 40lb's lasts me(when the chickens don't break into the feed room, and eat the intire bag in just a few hours!) about 2ish weeks for 9 outdoor cats, if you have a TSC you should check it out if they have any big bags, maybe it'll last longer for your feral kitties.

any kind of dry catfood will work, alot of people feed ducks kitten food because it's got more protien but adult works too.

and yes, once the chickens somehow got the door that goes into the feed/chick room open, and ATE about 20 pounds of cat food between all of them, in less than 15 minutes
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Hi Ducklove,

Oh my, your chickens were real little PIGGIES!! LOL That's ALOT of food in a short amount of time. Wow.

I have 13 outside cats that I feed, and 4 indoor cats. We do have a Tractor Supply, but it is about a 45 minute drive from us. It may be worth going there though, if I buy a couple of bags of cat food at a time. I will have to go check it out and see what they have.

I just recently discovered that the Purina cat food, which used to come in 20 lbs alot of times, then dropped to 18 lbs, is now down to a 16 lb bag that LOOKs the exact same as the older bags, but costs several dollars more, thanks to the economy! It goes really, really fast. Only BJ's wholesale near us carry the 18 lb bag which is sometimes a 20lb bag special, for about $13.00. The other stores all have the 16 lb bag now and they are $14.99 or thereabouts, so I am trying to buy it at BJ's Wholesale only. If I can get a 40lb bag of decent cat food for 20 bucks, then that's a steal! I prefer to feed them food without all the additives, colors, etc. as they tend to throw that up alot. They have done well on the Purina Indoor and outdoor formula. Usually BJ's only has the indoor one though.

THanks for the info! I will have to see what Tractor Supply has. We are going that direction on Sunday next week, so maybe if they are open I can stop by. I sure wish they would put one closer to me.

Cheap cat food is mostly corn too. I feed my cats Taste of the Wild. My ducks LOVE it and will steal it if you forget to close the patio door
I mix scratch with the regular waterfowl grain. Mine also forage all day so they aren't eating much grain. More greens and worms than anything else. They are fat and seem really healthy. I never had heard of cat food.

I have also heard that more protein will make a hen lay better. Does anyone know if that is the case?

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