Feeding Basics

 |  2 min read

What should you feed your ducks? This is an important decision and a highly debatable topic where there are many options. First, here is an overview of the main types of food for ducks.

Commercial Feed

Commercial feed is a perfectly computed mix of grains, meat products, chemicals, minerals, and vitamins. There are various mixes such as layer feed, chick starter, and grower feed. In some areas, you can even find specialized waterfowl feed or “all-flock” feed meant for a mixed flock of various species and ages. Ducks need more niacin in their diet than chickens, so if you feed your ducks chicken feed, you may have to add extra niacin.

In most cases, commercial feed should comprise the majority of your ducks’ diet.


Grains alone don’t have all the nutrition ducks need. However, they can still be a good addition to your ducks’ diet in limited amounts. Grain choices include corn, wheat, oats, sorghum, barley, spelt, rye, triticale, buckwheat, amaranth, and more.

Vegetables and Fruits

If you have a garden, this can be an excellent supplement to your ducks’ diet. Do you have some wilted cabbage or lettuce? Overripe tomatoes or bananas? Cucumber peels? Watermelon rinds? Give them to your ducks! (Just don’t feed them anything moldy or rotten.) You can even give them access to your compost pile. Also, some leftovers are okay to feed your flock, such as salad or rice and veggies.


Ducks are omnivores. They need some meat! While foraging freely, ducks will gobble up slugs, worms, snails, even lizards and small frogs. I’ve heard of one Muscovy that ate gopher babies. Many duck and chicken owners will raise or buy mealworms and feed them to their flock. Some owners also raise earthworms for their flock.


The easiest and cheapest food of all: just let your ducks forage! They will scout through the grass for bugs, worms, grass seeds, leaves, and anything else they can find that’s edible. They just need a large area, preferably with a diverse array of plants and weeds. To maximize your ducks’ foraging potential, make several pens and rotate your flock from one area to another.

Read more:

How to Feed Ducks

15 Ways to Reduce Duck Feed Costs


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