While ducks can eat cat food, it is not necessary to feed it to them. As long as your duck is on a balanced diet, it doesn’t need food that belongs to felines. The people who either feed cat or dog food to ducks often do so to save on the feed costs or supplement their ducks’ diet. You should know that any cat food has a lot of protein content. The protein in cat food is usually in the region of 34% and more. So, you can give it to ducks as a treat, especially when they are molting. The protein in the cat food will help the ducks’ feathers to keep growing. However, you should not give more than 10% of cat food as you treat the ducks. In this post, you are going to be opened up to the feeding details of ducks. You will know what you can and what you can’t feed them, and how to do it like an expert. Let’s get ducky duck!
Feeding Ducks: What You Can, What You Can’t
So, what is it? Do you have any ducks in your home? Are you trying to raise ducks and have no idea how to go about it? Whichever the case, I know that some ducks are involved, and they need feeding. In this read, you will dive into ideas, and at the end, you will feel as impressive as you did when you got here.
Ducks are lovely. Although arguable, they are probably the easiest birds you can ever have around. Many duck owners report that the fowls have great temperaments, are resilient to illness, are excellent egg layers, and need very low maintenance. Also, they are fun to watch, you know, with all their quacky quacks.
Now, it’s time to take down this subject. I will help you to understand the nutritional needs of ducks.
The Essentials: What Ducks Need
Before we go any step further into the subject, you must know this: ducks eat a lot! However, you shouldn’t let that scare you at all since there is a variety of easy and inexpensive foods for them. You can grow some of the foods in your garden to save. Here are the fine points of duck feeding essentials:
Essential #1: Always Provide Your Ducks With Fresh Water
The reason why I have shared this upfront is that it is such an important fact. While you may already know that ducks love water, it is vital – for their health – that you provide access to water while the birds eat food. Ducks have this unique habit of going from their food to water and then back. This back-and-forth behavior is meant to ensure that the food ingested is moist so that the ducks do not suffer from choking.
It doesn’t matter what age your duck is; always ensure that water is there so that they can dabble in as they eat and enjoy their foods.
Essential #2: Protein And Niacin Are Of Importance
While experts and non-experts suggest that there are many essential minerals and vitamins for all poultry, it is only reasonable to say that others are more important. As time passes, some overdoses or deficiencies can cause severe health issues, and ducky ducks are principally vulnerable to some deficiencies. Let’s look at the two nutritional elements and their importance.
Niacin (or B3) is an essential nutrient that is much needed by growing ducks. B3 helps them to grow healthy joints and legs. When the ducklings do not receive the adequate and necessary amounts of niacin, they will start having a rapid health decline, leading to death. When ducks are deficient in niacin, there will manifest the following symptoms: failure to thrive, inability to walk, and lack of motivation.
Apart from niacin, proteins are the other very crucial part of a duck’s diet. Health issues can come up with the duck if you feed it too much or too little protein. Pay special attention to the nutrient requirements for each stage of life that your duck passes through. This will help you to deliver the correct feed to your duck.
If you feed the duck too much protein, an issue called angel wing is likely to arise. With the angel wing, the feather of the duck will start turning outward. This implies that giving the correct amount of protein will make the duck grow at a more substantial and healthier rate.
What You Should Feed Ducklings With
1. When you are engaging in feeding ducklings, it can be very challenging to find the perfect feed. This is because not many food stores carry feed that is specially formulated for young ducks. As far as proteins are considered, ensure that the feed you choose has around 20% protein content.
2. The ideal way to start feeding the ducklings is to get waterfowl starters. For the most part, waterfowl feed contains all the correct and needed levels of niacin, protein, and other essential vitamins and nutrients that help promote healthy duckling growth.
3. If you don’t get any waterfowl starter in the feed stores you visit, a decent substitute would be the chick starter. While that is the case, you may require you to add some brewer’s yeast to the chick starter. This will help in providing the needed niacin amounts that the duckling needs. If you choose to take this option, add 2 to 3 cups of the brewer’s yeast to every ten pounds of the chick starter. There have been a considerable ‘amount’ of controversy overfeeding ducks with either the unmedicated or the medicated chick starter. Several farmers have found out that there are no adverse effects when you feed a duckling with the unmedicated starter. If the unmedicated starter is available and thus ready for use, your ducklings should have it because the amprolium (which is present in the medicated starter) is unnecessary for the young duck’s diet.
What You Should Feed Juvenile Ducks With
1. Once your ducks have gotten past the duckling stage, they’ll grow into being juveniles. When they get to that stage, it is best to switch to a food or a feed with lower protein content. This will help prevent the issue noted above, you know, angel wing. The appropriate protein amount to give to the ducks can be about 15% at this juvenile stage.
2. Since the ducks are growing exponentially, an appropriate feed to consider would be flock raiser. In most cases, it is very easy to find flock raiser than it is for waterfowl starter. You will not need to inject any other supplements when you give the ducks a flock raiser. This is because it will meet all the necessary nutritional requirements.
What You Should Feed Adult Laying Flocks With
1. When it comes to giving feeds to adult laying flock of ducks, it goes without saying that the meal should maintain vigor in the birds and support healthy egg-laying. The laying feed should have between 16% to 17% of proteins. If you notice that the ducks are laying eggs with low eggshell quality, you may need to add some calcium supplements to correct the problem.
2. Most bird food stores will carry nicely-balanced feeds for the egg layers. These feeds help the waterfowls to get all the necessary dietary requirements. If you cannot find any waterfowl feed, another good option would be feed for chicken layers – yes – it will be sufficient for a flock of ducks.
What You Should Feed Broiler Ducks With
1. If you’re raising any ducks for meat, you should know that they get placed on very high protein diets. While a high protein diet is not sustainable for most ducks, it will work correctly for broilers with a shorter lifespan.
2. Since broilers will eat broiler feed to support rapid duck growth, you need to ensure that the feed has 20% protein content. For ducks such as Pekin, the higher protein feeds will work just fine. The Pekin, unlike most of the egg-laying duck breeds, grows incredibly faster.
Treats And Snacks For Ducks
Besides stuffing store food down your ducks’ throats, you can choose to spoil them with varied treats that they will absolutely love. As I mentioned somewhere in the beginning, ducks are big eaters. As you select the different snacks and treats, ensure that they are about 10% of the diet and nothing more than that.
The 10% rule, however, has some exceptions. If you are giving the duck green snacks such as cut grass, kales, and weeds, you can provide them unlimitedly. The green snacks are very healthy, and the ducks will not get enough of them. Let’s get snacking!
Ducks are not picky, so let us not forget that they love eating bugs. They will be happy when you bring them worms, nightcrawlers, mealworms, or any kind of insect. The great thing about snacking the ducks on bugs is that you don’t need to pay them – you raise some of your own. Both mealworms and red worms can be grown in our house. So, whichever worm you chose to grow, go for it since you will save money.
If you have seen ducks eating fruit, you can admit that it is a pretty comical sight. If there are any extras from orchards or berry patches, you can toss them the way of the ducks, and the birds will gladly accept. Other fruits that make their days include berries, seeded fruits, pit fruits, and melons (ducks are in love with the rind).
If you let your ducks walk into your vegetated garden, they will enjoy it very much. If you plant any vegetables and see that they are too much, sort them out for your ducks since they will eat them. You will save a lot on the feed bill. Get vegetables like peas, zucchini, corn, squash, broccoli, cucumbers, or kales and give them to ducks – they will gladly take them off your hand and down them in the thwart of a duck’s tail (see what I did there?)
D. Whole Grains
While ducks love eating grains, you need to be careful that they only feed on whole grains. If anything contrary to that happens, they will start packing on too much weight. You should know that a duck gains weight very quickly. That is why going for healthy options such as quinoa, oats, whole wheat bread, and brown rice. These will make the duck’s day and will not go straight to the duck’s tail feathers.
E. Protein Food
It has already been mentioned that bugs (which are full of proteins) should be part of the duck’s regular diet. However, other great options are snacks that have high protein levels. One of the fascinating alternatives born out of an expert’s research is the use of scrambled eggs. Many people have come out claiming that ducks love it when they are presented with scrambled eggs.
So, if you have too many eggs (especially during the warmer month), they shouldn’t go to waste. Let your ducks have a feast of scrambled eggs.
Duck Food Supplements
For the most part, ducks are straightforward animals. While they eat a lot, they are not picky about their food. So, feeding them is a whole lot easy. These animals love to lay eggs and are very hearty. As mentioned elsewhere in the article, they do not need a lot – just food, fresh water, and a roof over their heads. All the food supplements that are mentioned here are merely suggestions. So, by no means are they a necessity. Keep reading.
Your ducks will not need grit if they are in a place with access to dirt. Ducks have a fascinating way of searching the earth to find small pebbles. Then, they eat them up to help in grinding their food up.
However, if your ducks live in a place with pure solid grass and don’t feel like it’s rocky enough, you can get a bag of grit for them. When you do, you should work on throwing in a handful or two in the duck area around once a week. This will ensure that all the food they eat gets adequately digested – as it should be.
2. Oyster Shells
So, you may be keeping your duck on a healthy, well-rounded diet. However, the eggs that they lay still come out thin-shelled or pitted. To deal with the eggy problem, you should add oyster shells to their diet. This should provide the calcium need to make the shells stronger. You can get the oyster shells at any local feed store or Amazon. When you do, add a small handful of them to the duck’s daily feed. In no time, you will have healthier eggs.
What You Shouldn’t Feed The Ducks
If you decide to explore and feed ducks with anything that comes to mind, you need to be cautious about the following foods. The information has been tabulated for your convenience.
|The Food Type||Why It Shouldn’t Get To Ducks|
|Citrus fruits||These can interrupt and deter the activities of calcium absorption in the body of the duck. Calcium deficiency implies that the egg laid will come out with thin shells, making them a little too fragile.|
|Spinach||Like citrus fruits, spinach interferes with the calcium intake of the duck.|
|Iceberg lettuce||While feeding this vegetable in small amounts is okay, too much of it can cause the ducks to develop diarrhea. This will throw the whole body of the duck off. So give this food with a lot of caution.|
|The Nightshade Family (Green tomatoes, purple eggplant, white potatoes)||The leaves, fruits, and stems of these plants are very toxic to ducks. They are a no-no for the fowls.|
|Dried, Raw Beans||If you want to give some beans to your duck, ensure that they are sprouted or fresh. Providing the beans when they are dried or raw exposes the duck to toxicity.|
As you feed your ducks, ensure that you do a little research, even after successfully finishing this read.
The How-To: Feeding Your Ducks
As we close up on this beautiful piece, here are the only two things that you will need to water and feed your ducks properly:
1. A Poultry Feeder
You can always fill up a poultry feeder. When it runs empty, you just need to refill it. So, you shouldn’t have to worry about getting your ducks underfed. A feeder is also a good option because it will be tough for the ducky ducks to mess with their food.
2. A Poultry Waterer
You have options to choose from when it comes to this item. You can get the largest poultry waterer since the ducks will be drinking a lot. Alternatively, you can make one for the ducks – which is a very cool idea. You have nothing to worry about – the birds will neither try to win or climb in. Since the water will be for their drinking, they will try as much as possible to keep it very clean. This means that you will have less water wasted and not extra work for you to do.