What to feed baby ducks for Proper Growth?

So, you tweak this link to get information on what to feed baby ducks, right? Well, raising ducklings is fairly easy, but it demands some special care in its first few weeks after hatching.  Interestingly, duckling grows crazy fast, and sometimes it will happen in front of your eyes. 

However, a proper diet for the first few weeks determines the quality of your duck’s life. That’s why gathering knowledge on what you can and can’t feed your ducklings at the early stage and later is mandatory. Our detailed information will be helpful for raising baby ducks for beginners.  

Here we enlist some points on the duckling’s friendly food to ensure their proper growth, so let’s get started. 

What can baby ducklings eat?

what to feed baby ducks

You can give a variety of food to adult ducks, but the baby ducks’ food needs to be very specific after hatching until they’re fully feathered. Here we enlist baby duck’s favorite food. 

Vegetable

Leafy Greens and Root Crops: You need to ensure the proper amount of vegetables and leafy greens while feeding your baby duck. Notably, if any strands or excessive long pieces of leafy green left after preparing, it can negatively affect their digestive tract. 

It must be remembered that ducks don’t chew food by nature. That’s why you have to be mashed or cut up small whatever you provide them. 

Now, let’s see some types of duck favorite vegetables and leafy greens in the following: 

  • Lettuces
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnip Greens
  • Salad Greens
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Tomato
  • Radish
  • Lettuce
  • Beets
  • Chemical-free cut grass  

Cucumber: Here comes a top-tier item that lies in the duck’s eating list name cucumber. Your baby duck will get multiple nutrients like vitamin A, C & K, manganese, magnesium, potassium and fiber. 

Peas: The next item we bring is peas that your baby duck love to see on their feed. Baby duck can eat both fresh and frozen peas. Peas are small in size, easy to digest, and a good item to grab their attraction. 

Zucchini: Zucchini is renowned for its high water content concentration and provides curbs, vitamin A, fiber, and manganese. You can feed it by peeling its skin and then ensure small pieces of that. 

Fruits: 

Strawberries: Strawberries carry vitamin C, calories, manganese, and carbs that are useful for duck’s growth. Though it is sweet and delicious, your ducklings will like to eat it.

Bananas: As it is sweet, your baby duck will surely love bananas. When feeding banana, you need to cut it into smaller pieces or mesh. 

Peaches: Peaches also contain several nutritional materials and are good for ducklings. To feed it, you need to cut it into smaller pieces. 

Other fruits: Ducklings also like other fruits such as Grapes, plums, berries, melon, seed and pit fruits.

Treats:

Dairy Treats: When your baby ducks are at 12 weeks of age, you can give them dairy treats. After a certain period when they grow up, it will better avoid these treats. 

One word of caution: The dairy treats may cause your baby duck’s poop stinkier. If it appears, you have to stop feeding dairy treats immediately. 

Let’s see some of the good dairy treats for your baby ducks.

Cottage cheese (good for your duckling’s shredded if you feed it regularly). 

Whole milk plain greek yogurt (You can feed this treat to ensure your duckling’s good digestive system).

Protein: Offering high protein treats to your baby duck is a good idea. You can feed them dried insects like dried shrimps or black soldier fly larvae when you wish to feed them additional besides the regular feed. 

Dried shrimps are a favorite item to duck. This treat floats on water, digested easily and can snap them up easily.  

Beyond those, let’s see some other high-protein treats for ducklings. 

  • Crickets
  • Mealworms
  • Dried shrimps
  • Boil and dice eggs (Caution: You have to leave the shells off because providing too much calcium may cause problems to the young poultry).
  • Mealworms.
  • Super worms (extra-large mealworms).
  • Black soldier fly larvae
  • Darkling beetles

What not to feed your ducklings?

So, what items are better to avoid while feeding ducklings. 

Adult Layer Feed:

You have better avoid adult layer feed from your baby duck feed even though in an emergency. It contains extremely high calcium content for layers that help in producing healthy eggs. That calcium level is considered toxic to ducklings, and it may cause bones, kidney, liver problems and lead them to death. 

Shells:

Due to the same reason, you have to avoid feeding oyster shells and eggshells to your ducklings. 

When your baby duck reaches around 20 to 21 weeks (adulthood), you can feed them shells. Moreover, when they reach 20 weeks, it is time to feed them old seashells, oyster shells or their own eggs’ shells. 

Other foods ducklings shouldn’t eat:

The following items will be better to keep aside from your ducklings feed:

  • Avocados
  • Bread
  • Citrus fruits (like oranges, grapefruits, lemon, lime, tangerine, mandarin, etc.).
  • Onions, leeks
  • White potatoes
  • Nuts
  • Raw and dried beans
  • Junk food, processed food
  • Popcorn
  • Chocolate

Perfect Homemade Baby Duck Feed

baby duck food homemade

If you are looking for the perfect homemade feed for your ducklings, you can check out the following list.

Ingredients you will need baby duck food homemade:

  • Blender. 
  • Cat or dog food.
  • Vegetables, like spinach, cabbage, Romanian lettuce, celery, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, spinach, etc. 
  • Fruit like apples, peaches, strawberries, grapes, pears, bananas, etc.
  • Eggs.

The process to make:

  • To begin with, you need to take small amount of cat or dog food and vegetables in your blender.
  • You can also add fruits to your mixture. Remember that the fruit shouldn’t be too much because it is high in sugar and will increase your duckling’s droppings. 
  • Now, you can add eggs to ensure protein on their feed. Now blend all items and feed your ducklings.

At breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can blend any of our mentioned ingredients and feed your duckling.

Another suggestion you can follow is to provide only veggies and greens in some meals and other times you can feed them only proteins. Also, you can give them just some blended apples for a little snack. 

What you’ll need to raise a baby duckling?

There is no hard and fast rule on the item you need for raising baby ducks. But, to ensure proper care for your ducklings, you have better manage the following items. 

  • Brooder: Under this, you need to manage a large Rubbermaid tote, spare bathtub, cardboard box or dog crate lined with plastic.
  • Heat Lamp and Thermometer
  • Feed for chicks: You can choose a regular chick starter feed if it is unmedicated. 
  • Shallow bowl to keep water: You can take a soufflé dish or a sturdy ramekin.
  • Grit: You can take a small dish of coarse dirt or commercial chick grit.
  • Shallow bowl for keeping food: Herein, you can take good service from a small terracotta planter base.
  • Brewer’s yeast: It is essential for baby duck’s healthy and strong growth.
  • Spray Bottle with Diluted Vinegar: Try to avoid harsh cleaners or bleach while cleaning the brooder space instead; you can use a spray bottle with diluted vinegar. It will be good to use this solution three times to clean. 
  • Others: Mirror (because duck love reflection), two or three-inch deep baking dish (to ensure splashing time when they are at a week)

How to take care of a baby duck?

raising baby ducks

The newborn duckling needs a safe and warm environment and proper care for ensuring strong and healthy growth. Here is how you can ensure a friendly environment and take care of your ducklings.

A newborn duck needs 24 hours to get used to their new surroundings, and then they become ready to stay in a brooder. You can use a sturdy cardboard box, plastic container, or a large glass aquarium to make your duckling’s home. 

Duckling requires a warm environment in its first few weeks after coming out from the egg. To ensure that, you can buy a brooding lamp (use a 100-watt bulb initially) and attach it to the brooder’s top. Most importantly, the temperature should be altered based on their growth.

Now, keep a shallow drinking bowl in the brooder to ensure plenty of water intakes by the baby duck. Note: Regularly alter the water to ensure your ducklings don’t become used to the dirty water. 

For feeding, you can put a plastic feeder with food inside the brooder. If you find your ducklings hesitant to eat, you can add water to make the swallow easy.

When the circumstances and weather allow, you can allow your ducklings outside. So, they can find green grass and eat. Note: The outside should be in a sheltered area or at least under your supervision. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

01. What do you feed baby ducks in an emergency?

I find the protein is a good thing to provide in an emergency time. Some of the good sources of protein items are: 

  • Crickets
  • Mealworms
  • Dried shrimps
  • Boil and dice eggs (Caution: You have to leave the shells off because providing too much calcium may cause problems to the young poultry).
  • Mealworms.
  • Super worms (extra-large mealworms).
  • Black soldier fly larvae
  • Darkling beetles

02. What can I feed my ducklings?

When I am looking for the duckling’s feed, I find the following duck’s favorite items.

Vegetables (peas, broccoli, cucumbers, zucchini, kale, cabbage, collards, lettuce, chard and all types of squash).

Fruits (Grapes, plums, pears and peaches, bananas, berries, melon, seed and pit fruits).

Protein (earthworms, slugs, feeder fish, cooked fish or meat leftovers, dried or live mealworms, crickets, etc.)

03. What do you feed ducklings after they hatch?

I find the blend of water and starter or crumbles is good to feed the newly hatched ducklings. Besides, some are seen to provide water containing a vitamin/mineral mix to the ducklings after transferring to the brooders. 

04. Can baby ducks eat bananas?

Yes, baby ducks like to eat bananas and most other kinds of fruits. 

05. Can you feed baby ducks chick starters?

Against the question, I find baby ducks can eat chick starters, but it should be un-medicated. It can be a game bird ration or a starter ration because it has a higher protein that helps them grow. 

06. What vegetables can ducks eat? 

Ducks can eat any kind of vegetables like peas, broccoli, cucumbers, zucchini, kale, cabbage, collards, lettuce, chard, and squash types. Though the duck can’t chew, it will be better to cut them into smaller pieces.

07. Can baby ducks eat bread?

No, bread isn’t ideal for a baby duck because it has little nutrient value and can hamper duckling’s growth. 

08. Can ducks eat tomatoes?

I find the tomato is a good vegetable item to feed a baby duck but be careful about vines or leaves. The vines and leaves of tomato plants may be toxic to the birds. 

09. Can ducks eat spinach?

I don’t feed my duckling the spinach even though it has more nutritious value. You can feed it but not too much instead; limited amounts only. 

10. Can ducks eat strawberries? 

Similar to other fruits, strawberries are one of the fruits that a duck likes to eat. 

Final thought

Hopefully, we can clear your query on “what to feed baby ducks”. By now, you get plenty of essential information that will help your ducklings to grow into healthy layers. However, it is mandatory to ensure the right amount of right feed at the duckling’s early stage. Later on, when they grow up, you don’t need special attention to food. Before we leave, we expect your comment on your vague point and your next query, and we will try to clarify that shortly.

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John Boyd

John Boyd has worked in U.S. Agriculture Industry for over 10 years. He now reports on the industry, aiming to give today’s producers up to date information about current and future issues. Read More

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