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Whole grains and Ducks. Need some feed advice.

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by EggsBeesSeeds, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. EggsBeesSeeds

    EggsBeesSeeds Out Of The Brooder

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    I've been keeping chickens for a long time now, but have recently been interested in getting a few ducks. In an attempt to avoid feeding my chickens commercial feed (especially soy!) I make my chickens' feed from whole grains (a mix of wheat, oat groats, barley, millet, quinoa and sesame seeds) and feed them a lot of veggies (lettuce, chard, tomatoes, etc) and grassfed beef for protein (I'm a meat cutter, I get a lot of meat scraps!) as well as whatever they find in the forest. Yeah, I know they're spoiled... but my question is about duck food. I am a huge fan of this diet because the eggs I get from my chickens are amazing in both texture and flavor (best tasting eggs I've ever had!) and would like to be able to feed my ducks the same diet. I know ducks metabolize foods differently than chickens do and I can't find too much information about ducks eating both whole grains and meat.

    So, I figured I'd ask the more seasoned duck veterans. Would the whole grain mixture I have for my chickens also be ok for my ducks? Do I need to soak them first? How about meat? Anyone feed their ducks meat? Any information is greatly appreciated. Thank you!
     
  2. myfinefeatheredfriends

    myfinefeatheredfriends Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Don't know about giving your ducks meat because their bills cannot tear apart things like chickens can into bite sized pieces that they can digest. If you want protein they can eat small fish. Ducks have a lower protein need than chickens as adults, at 12-15% for ducks and 16% for chickens. As ducklings they require a slightly higher protein amount, at 24% vs 20% for chicks.
     
  3. HauiBali

    HauiBali Out Of The Brooder

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    I give my ducks 1/3 whole wheat + 1/3 cracked corn + 1/3 duck raising pellets. In the winter a bit more corn, a bit of fat on the runners does not hurt if the temperature is cold. Last three weeks I could not buy pellets, so to the 50/50 wheat/corn I mix a handful of dry cat food (fish+pea+spinach) that is powdered with a hammer. Also, from every midday to the evening they are free to roam in the garden and they eat a lots of sprouts they pick from under the snow. Weekly they have a handful of mealworm and crickets cause there is no insects in the winter to hunt. Some finely chopped veggies from the kitchen too, mostly carrot peels. From March I will give a side tray of oyster shells to help them in egg-production. I tried to give them chopped seafish fillets but they were not interested in it (spitted it out), however they like live baitfish, I kill those as humanly as possible and cut it to pieces with a scissor.
     
  4. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One of the biggest things with ducks is that the food needs to be able to be swallowed. I too have never heard of giving beef or other meat to ducks. Meat and bone meal is an addition recommended in home made feeds though. Beef would need to be ground first or diced for them to be able to eat it. They do eat fish but keep in mind that a diet high in fish will alter the flavor of eggs/meat.

    They can eat whole grains, not as ducklings though. One of the biggest concerns is ensuring that they are getting a balanced diet that contains the appropriate vitamins and minerals. Typically in a homemade feed, you would include a vitamin supplement. Ducks also require niacin, in the form of brewer's yeast or adding it to water.

    You don't need to wet feed first but they require water whenever there is feed available. That is how they swallow their feed.
     
  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    And you probably already know that with non-pelleted food, ducklings need small-sized grit. We have had a few episodes of ducklings getting food before getting grit, and that can be a problem.
     
  6. EggsBeesSeeds

    EggsBeesSeeds Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks everyone for your responses. Yes, as ducklings I plan on having them on an unmedicated starter feed for the first few weeks and then slowly transition them to the diet (just like I do with my chicks) to "strengthen" their crop. It is good to hear they can have the whole grains. I usually grind up the beef for the chickens, too (and boy do they love it!!) so it won't be a problem for the ducks. I do vary the protein the chickens get (fish carcasses, lamb scraps, liver, kidney, etc) but the beef is their absolute favorite. Guess I'll see what kind of proteins the ducks prefer, in very small bites :) (hopefully the beef, it is VERY high in vit B3) and go from there!

    I do have a question about the grit: The ducks will have free range of a medium sized pond and surrounding area, so finding grit shouldn't be a problem. With my chickens, I always collect more grit and offer it to them to make sure they have plenty even though they are free range. I usually just offer it by dumping it on the ground where they can scratch and peck what they want and leave the rest. But with ducks, is there a different way I should be offering it to them (like in a dish next to water) or is dumping it on the ground in their free range area sufficient?

    Edit: I collect grit from the creek near my house, so there isn't a "size" to it. Just small stones ranging from approx 1/8 of an inch to beach sand.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
  7. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You don't need to offer grit in any special way. On the ground is fine.
     
  8. EggsBeesSeeds

    EggsBeesSeeds Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you!
     
  9. plutarkian

    plutarkian New Egg

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    hello...u seem to know a lot about ducklings, so i was wondering if u could tell me whats going wrong with mine...they were doing well and now all of a suddon they seem wobbly and having a bit of trouble walking...my baby quail are doing the same thing...do u think its the feed....i recently started mixing my own.....1part corn, 1 part wheat, 1 part oats and a scoop of soy for extra protein, but the farmer wasnt around so they have been on only wheat and corn for the last couple weeks with a bit of soy (whatever i had left) what do you think...im worried, i already lost 1 duckling and two baby quail......
     
  10. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    Are you talking Ducks or Ducklings?


    I will start with Feeding Ducklings......Wetting the feed into a soupy mess is best till about 6 weeks?

    Older Ducklings and Ducks know enough to grab a mouthful and them hit the water to wash it down....Without water they choke.....Water is more important to Ducks than to other Birds......

    This is what I feed my Ducks.....Old style Scratch Grains/Chicken grower.....Less Corn for Ducks the better unless it is a Cold spell in winter....Veggies.....Cat food one a week or so...Just a Handful...Protein......

    Cold days I water the Feed down and add the veggies into a Ducky soup.....They gobble it up and go to bed with warm bellies.....


    Cheers!
     

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