What food is best? Mixing ones own grain?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by OhTisLove, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. OhTisLove

    OhTisLove Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 21, 2009
    Hi all--

    I, like many of you it seems, have very limited choices at any local grain store as far as grain for my ducks go. Basically, it comes down to either a "Duck Grower" (but no "finisher", and it says not to be used past 20 weeks or something) or a chicken "Layer pellet." No game bird, or waterfowl, or anything along those lines.

    My guys were on the duck grower for a while, and eagerly scarfed down their food every day. Then, following the instructions on the bag, I switched them off it, to the chicken layer pellets. Which they don't have much interest in. At all. They're getting the same amount as the duck grower, and it sits in their dish for days, instead of being gobbled up. I'm worried.....I've been buying them lots of veggies and tempting them with my horse grain, just because they aren't eating anything! They don't free range, so it's not like they're stuffing themselves on bugs or anything.

    Is there something else I can feed them? I mix my own grain for one of my picky horses from cracked corn, barley, oats, etc. Can something similar be done for ducks? I don't know anything about what sort of nutrition ducks need, unlike horses. But if someone has a recipe?

    BTW, the switch from the duck grower to the chicken layer was very gradual, to get them used to it. And it's been over two months now of straight layer pellet, and no increase in interest.
  2. CityChicker

    CityChicker Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 21, 2009
    Well, they are eating something or else they would not be alive, LOL. Maybe they are just eating a deceptively small amount of food. If you have access to a Duck Grower, you are way better off than most, especially if it has fish meal or a source of animal protein. It is very hard these days to find duck feed. If it were me, I would probably leave them on grower and just cut it with oats to bring down the protein a little and add free choice oyster shells or another source of calcium. It just depends on the grower and what it has in it.

    As far as home mixed rations, there are dozens of options. Most of the duck books have sections about mixing feed. If you don't have access to any books, I would google chicken layer formulas (or broiler formulas). Generally, those designed for chickens do well as long as you have an additional source of niacin and B-vitamins like Brewer's yeast. I also try to avoid a ton of corn because it can really fatten them up. I also much prefer a source of animal protein, like fish meal. That is something severely lacking in almost all commercial formulations these days, but you can order it online. As far as the grain component, really it just depends on what you have access to. There are numerous things that will work fine. HTH!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by