Entire books have been written on the subject of feeding poultry. However, here’s a quick guide to feeding ducks – in just a few paragraphs.
You might start with feeding your ducks commercial feed. It’s processed, may contain chemicals, and isn’t fresh, but it provides your ducks with all their basic dietary needs.
Then there are the raw grains: wheat, corn, oats, rye, sorghum, barley, buckwheat, spelt, and more. These cannot make up a duck’s entire diet, but they make good supplements.
Next, there are the vegetables and fruits. Many duck owners like to offer their ducks vegetable scraps such as cucumber peels, watermelon rinds, and wilted cabbage. Others go even further and give their ducks entire cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, bananas, and more. Some even grow a “duck garden” just for their ducks. A duck can’t live solely off of fruits and vegetables, but they’re excellent supplements.
Fourth, many people grow or buy mealworms or earthworms for their ducks. These are a healthy, nutritious, protein-rich treat that all ducks go wild for! Some people even give their ducks fresh, raw fish, although this can give the eggs a fishy taste.
Finally, there’s forage – all the greens and bugs that the ducks can find on their own by simply wandering through their yard. It is completely free, so the more your ducks can forage, the less you will have to pay for their feed.
There’s also the miscellaneous supplements, such as niacin, calcium, and grit. Chicken feed (which is what most people feed their ducks, since specialized duck food is expensive and hard to find) doesn’t have enough niacin for ducks, who need it in order to have healthy bones, so ducks that eat a diet that consist completely or almost completely of chicken feed will need to be fed some additional niacin. Laying ducks may need extra calcium. Finally, grit, is needed to “chew” the food, but is not necessary to provide if your ducks are free-range; they’ll pick up their own rocks and dirt.
In summary, all you really need is commercial feed, but they’ll be much better off if they have access to forage, and they’ll love you if you feed them additional vegetables and bugs. If you’re more ambitious and want to feed them more naturally, you can experiment with grains and other additional foods.
For more, visit Feeding.