What to Feed Baby Ducks

Ducklings are born with a good sense of hunger. They grow fast, are capable of looking for food, and are excited about eating — as you will notice when you hear many happy quacks at feeding time! Choosing the right feed ensures they grow as healthy and strong as possible.

Raise baby ducks in your backyard with a few simple feeding tips.


What Do Ducklings Eat?

Baby ducks eat pretty much everything, but this isn’t always healthy. During their first few weeks of life, you must feed ducklings healthy foods that support their development.

Ducklings are often hungry, and as they waddle around quacking, they will sample just about anything. You will want to carefully monitor their diets since baby ducks will test out everything from fingers to shavings to other non-food items. It’s up to you to ensure they get the nutrients they need.

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What Do Baby Ducks Need?

Just because ducklings will eat almost anything doesn’t mean everything is good for them! Until they are six weeks old, they need foods with protein and niacin (vitamin B3). These nutrients allow the ducklings to develop strong bones and bills. After that, they require less protein but still need nutrient-rich food for vitamins and minerals.

You should also set up a fresh water bowl so your ducklings stay hydrated throughout the day.


What Can You Feed Ducklings?

Baby ducks aren’t picky, but you’ll want to ensure you meet their nutritional needs. Here are a few recommendations for feeding your new birds.

Duck Starter Feed

Since baby ducks need particular nutrients in their first weeks, consider purchasing starter duckling feed. This feed will supply all the nutrients they need to ensure healthy development.

Starter feed without medication helps your ducks meet their nutritional needs in one convenient food.

Fruits, Vegetables, and Treats

If you want to avoid starter feed or feed your ducklings with foods you already have at home, you have plenty of options. You can also feed adult ducks with any of these foods. Here are a few fruits and vegetables to try:

  • Kale
  • Cooked pumpkin
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Peaches
  • Cherries
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Swiss chard
  • Cucumber
  • Peas
  • Radish and turnip greens
  • Lettuce and salad greens

Make sure to dice these foods finely to prevent choking, and don’t feed too many fruits, which are high in sugars. Mash softer foods like bananas, pumpkins, and pears without the peels to make them easier for your ducklings to eat.

In addition to fruits and vegetables, baby ducks enjoy treats like dandelion greens and chopped grass and weeds. Ensure any grass or weeds you use for feeding are untreated.


While duck starter feed contains the necessary nutrients, supplements work well for those who feed their ducklings fruits and vegetables. If you already own chicks and want to use chick feed, you can supplement the diet with brewer’s yeast, a good source of niacin. Mix about 1 pound of yeast in a 40-pound bag of chick starter to supply the necessary nutrients. Add small insects and dried mealworms to your ducklings’ diets for protein.


What to Avoid Feeding Baby Ducks

You should avoid bread and junk food, which contain fewer nutrients. Lower-nutrition foods are unhealthy for your duck and can even be harmful. You should also avoid hard foods like nuts and seeds. Ducks don’t chew their food, so these foods can cause choking.

Foods toxic to ducks include buttercups, irises, poppies, tulips, sweet peas, and lilies. If your ducklings wander freely in your backyard, you should also look out for dangerous plants like vetches, milkweed, and pennyroyal.


How to Feed Baby Ducks

Ducklings are self-feeding, so you can use a dispenser and allow the birds to graze. While some animals require regular feeding times, ducklings are always hungry during their early weeks, so it’s best to have food readily available. Don’t worry about overeating during the first few weeks, as ducklings need these nutrients to grow and develop.

If you leave food out for your ducklings, remove old food each day. Old and moldy food can cause a deadly lung infection called Aspergillosis.

When feeding your ducklings, make sure they have access to plenty of fresh water while they are eating. Water aids in swallowing and prevents choking. Make the water easily accessible, even for the ducks to climb in. Create an easy pathway out of the water and replace the water daily to keep it fresh and clean. Ducklings can be prone to drowning, so make the water shallow — no higher than the tops of their feet — to keep them safe.


Other Considerations for Raising Baby Ducks

Ducklings need access to healthy food and clean water. Here are a few additional considerations for raising your baby ducks:

  • Provide a spacious area where your ducklings can go to avoid the sun and stay safe from predators.
  • Keep your ducklings warm by placing a heat lamp at one end of the brooder.
  • Set up a cleaning station to wash your hands and prevent salmonella.


Try Organic Duck Feed From Nature’s Best Organic Feeds

If you want your birds to grow up on organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, and non-medicated feed that is formulated specifically for the needs of ducklings, turn to Nature’s Best Organic Feeds. Our Organic Duck Crumbles have just the right balance of protein, vitamins, amino acids, and minerals.

Use our Store Locator to find local stores that carry our products so you can ensure your ducklings have everything they need. Have any questions about our feed? Feel free to contact us today!

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