Baby ducks are incredibly adorable. They are tiny balls of fluff but if you are raising ducklings, you need to provide them with an appropriate, nutritious diet. Find out what food baby ducks can eat and how it should be served.
What do baby ducks eat: Ducklings need a diet rich in protein and other nutrients. It should be well-balanced and have an assortment of vitamins and minerals. In particular, ducklings need vitamin B3, also known as niacin. This is because niacin helps transform fats and proteins into energy. You should find a special feed, either for ducks or chickens. If you use a chicken feed, make sure it is unmedicated. Ducklings eat more than chicks, and too much medicine can make them sick. The remaining 10 percent can be in the form of treats. Green vegetables are packed with vitamins and while fruit has natural sugars, you can still give them some. Don’t forget insects as ducks love to forage. Ducklings start out small, so make sure their eating area is accessible. When putting out water, make sure the bowl is not too deep; otherwise, the bird can fall in and drown.
What can I feed a baby duck?
When you have a baby duck, you should make sure it has all the nutrients it needs to grow strong and healthy. Baby ducks need a diet rich in protein and vitamins, especially vitamin B3.
At least 90 percent of a baby duck’s diet should be a special feed. This can be found easily but you can also use chicken feed, as long as it is unmedicated.
In addition to duck feed, you can supplement up to 10 percent of your duck’s diet with treats. This helps vary a duck’s diet and create a closer bond between you and your ducklings.
As a bonus, most of the treats for ducklings can come from food around the farm or even kitchen scraps.
Do ducklings need water?
In addition to nutritious food, ducklings absolutely need water. There should always be a bowl of clean, fresh water for your baby ducks.
However, remember that these animals are quite tiny. Therefore, you don’t want to give them a bowl that is too large; otherwise, they could fall in and get stuck underwater.
A small saucer of water is ideal. Think of a shallow bowl that has a low lip, or even a lid from a container to start out with.
Foods your baby ducks can eat
Fruit can most certainly be fed to ducklings. However, all fruit has a high sugar content so this should not be the basis of their diet.
- Apples – Most farms have an apple tree or two, so this is an easy, convenient treat for ducklings. Be sure to only give ducklings the flesh of apples as the seeds are toxic. Furthermore, unless the apple is a soft one, you will want to mash it up so the ducklings can eat it better.
- Bananas – If you have a brown banana and don’t want to waste it, you can feed it to your ducklings. Mash the banana for easier access. Also, only give the flesh and not the skins. While it doesn’t matter too much, green bananas have a lower sugar content while brown bananas have a higher sugar content, so this is something to consider.
- Pears – While pears are high in sugar, they are ok in small quantities. The flesh of pears may be too hard for baby ducks, so it is better if you mash them up to help with eating.
- Tomatoes – These are a good treat. Just be sure that you only give your ducklings the flesh of tomatoes. The vines and leaves of tomatoes are too toxic for ducklings.
- Strawberries – Along with other berries, such as raspberries, strawberries are a nice treat for ducklings. They should be able to peck at the fruit nicely but if the strawberries are a bit harder, you can always mash them up.
- Cherries – Although cherry stones are definitely not good for ducklings, the fruit themselves are a tasty treat. Cut the cherries into small pieces as the fruit can be a bit tough for smaller ducklings.
- Peaches – Soft, and juicy, peaches are a great treat for ducklings. This is a great option if your peach is bruised and you don’t want to eat it yourself. Just be sure to remove the stone.
Full of important vitamins, vegetables are a necessary supplement for any ducks. When choosing vegetables, a green palette is best. You can use vegetables from your garden or any cast-offs as you prepare your own dinner.
- Peas – There is now a growing awareness that peas are great for ducks. Not only are they convenient, but you can also use frozen peas. In the hot summer months, snacking on frozen peas is a real treat for ducklings.
- Radish & turnip greens – If you plan on eating certain vegetables, such as radishes and turnips, don’t waste those greens. Instead, give these nutrient-packed leaves to your ducklings.
- Cucumber – The soft texture of cucumber makes it quite easy to eat, which is why ducklings love it so much. You can cut it in circles or wedges and allow the ducklings to peck away.
- Swiss chard – With a surprising amount of protein, swiss chard is great for tiny ducklings as they grow up. A few pieces of chard will happily be munched away.
- Lettuces – When giving lettuces to your ducklings, just try to give them fresh, unwilted leaves. Ducklings have their standards and wilted greens will be trampled on and not eaten.
- Kale – Full of nutrients including vitamin A and vitamin K, kale is a great leafy green to give to your ducklings. You can add whole leaves to their area or tear it up into smaller pieces.
- Cut grass – Be careful with cut grass as you want to ensure it has not been treated with any chemicals or pesticides. Also pay attention if your neighbors have sprayed their lawn as this can travel and settle onto your own grass.
Although you should wait until your baby ducklings are at least 12 weeks old before you give them these specific treats, once they hit that age their digestive system will be developed enough for them. One side effect of dairy may be smelly poop, so keep this in mind.
- Greek yogurt – While you may be tempted to treat your ducklings with flavored yogurt, you will need to stick to plain Greek yogurt. It is higher in protein and has added probiotics to help with digestion.
- Cheese – Ducks don’t need expensive cheese, so stick to basic cheddar, although you should shred it first so it is easier to eat. Cottage cheese is also good as it is high in protein.
Ducks love to forage for their food and an important part of adult ducks’ diets is insects. Get your ducklings used to the taste of bugs with some of these treats.
- Black soldier fly larvae – Also known as maggots, fly larvae is a natural food for wild ducks. You can feed your ducklings small amounts but it’s ok if you get too grossed out by them.
- Crickets – High in protein with a decent crunch to them, you can feed your ducklings a cricket or two every week.
- Superworms – Much larger than a mealworm, about five times the size, these are a good treat but should be fed sparingly. No more than one superworm per week for your duckling. Also, they may be too large for smaller ducklings, so wait until they are older.
- Eggs – If feeding insects grosses you out, you can add some much needed protein for your ducks with eggs. You should boil the eggs and then peel them as the shells have too much calcium. Then, dice the eggs so they are easier to eat.
- Darkling beetles – With a dark black coloring, these beetles are high in protein. While they shouldn’t be a constant food source for your ducklings, one or two a week is a nice treat.
- Dried shrimps – These are a great option as shrimp will float on water, which makes it easier for ducks to snatch up.
- Mealworms – Even though mealworms are high in protein, they aren’t a complete source, so should be seen as more of a treat. Aim for a maximum of one mealworm per week for your duckling.
How to Feed Baby Ducks
Baby ducks know how to feed themselves, even when they are small, so you don’t have to worry about hand-feeding them. Instead, you can use a food dispenser or layout a small tray of food.
Ducklings can get messy, so be sure to fill the food area every day.
Ideally, 90 percent of a duckling’s diet will be proper duckling food. You can find this online or at any farmland pet store. 10 percent of a duckling’s diet can be a treat.
Here are a few tips to follow when feeding your ducks.
- While you can use chicken feed for ducks, it should be unmedicated. Ducklings eat more than baby chicks do, so if the feed is medicated, it can make the ducklings sick.
- Put treats on water so that they float. This way, ducks can use their flatter bills to easily snatch the treat, rather than trying to peck awkwardly at the ground.
- Just as you would a human baby, make sure the food pieces are not choking hazards. While peas are perfect for older ducklings, they may be too small for very small ducklings.
- While you can give treats to your duckling every day, they should make up no more than 10% of their daily diet. Too much and they won’t get enough nutrients to stay healthy.
- Different foods can cause different issues with ducklings, so don’t give them too many different treats at a time. Instead, introduce a new food one at a time and monitor their poop for signs in color or odor to see if digestion is going ok.
Related Questions – FAQ
Can Ducklings Have Tomatoes?
Yes, ducklings can have tomatoes. However, the leaves and vines are toxic, so only feed the flesh of tomatoes.
Can Ducklings Have Blueberries?
Older ducklings can have blueberries, but only in small amounts as they are high in natural sugar. Younger ducklings can have blueberries, but you should cut them up so they are not choking hazards.
Can Ducks Eat Chicken Feed?
90 percent of a duck’s diet should be a proper feed. You can feed them chicken feed but it should be unmedicated as ducks eat more food, and this can make them sick.
Can Ducklings Eat Oatmeal?
Yes, ducklings can eat oatmeal but only in small amounts. You should stick to dry oatmeal and sprinkle the oats on their regular feed.
Can Ducklings Eat Grapes?
While ducklings can eat grapes, it’s best to cut them up. Grapes can pose a choking hazard, so cut them in quarters to avoid this.
Can Baby Ducks Eat Bananas?
Yes, baby ducks can eat bananas. While they can’t eat the outside peel, they love mashed bananas, as long as it is a small quantity.
Can Ducklings Eat Cucumber?
Yes, ducklings can eat cucumber. It has a nice, soft texture to it and is very hydrating.
Can Ducks Eat Scrambled Eggs?
In addition to hard-boiled eggs, ducklings can also eat scrambled eggs. While adult ducks can eat the shells from eggs, there is too much calcium in shells for ducklings.
Can Ducklings Drink Milk?
While ducklings can drink milk, there are better options for them. Too much dairy can cause digestive issues, so it’s better to stick with freshwater.
Can Ducklings Eat Strawberries?
Along with other berries, ducklings can eat strawberries. If they are too hard, you may want to mash them up to make eating easier.
Ducklings need a diet high in protein and vitamins, especially vitamin B3. However, these cute animals are happy to have the occasional treat, such as berries, leafy greens, and even yogurt.