What Should I Feed a Duckling?

what should i feed a duckling

Ducklings are relatively straightforward to raise if you know their preferences and how to feed them. Furthermore, these social creatures enjoy being part of a flock.

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A duck’s primary diet should consist of commercially prepared age appropriate feed with the necessary protein level for their stage. They should also receive suitable fruits, vegetables, worms, and other supplemental foods for added nutrition.


Starter Crumbs

Starter crumbs make an excellent feed choice for ducklings due to their small and easily digestible size. Plus, they contain high amounts of protein which encourages rapid growth.

From hatching until 3 weeks old, young ducklings should be fed hatchery pellets. Unfortunately, pellets may be difficult for young ducklings to eat as they often end up stuck in their mouths.

That is why you should only feed your duckling starter crumbs specifically designed for ducklings. Doing so will guarantee they get all of the proper nutrition.

Niacin is essential for duckling starter feed and should be included as it aids their bone and joint development. Without adequate amounts of niacin from their chick starter food, these little gems could become deficient.

Niacin can be added to their water or feed by adding brewer’s yeast at a rate of approximately half a cup per 10 pounds of feed, helping prevent niacin deficiency.


Oatmeal is packed with whole-grain fiber and protein, making it a great alternative to bread when feeding ducklings. Whether you opt for steel-cut, Scottish or rolled varieties of oats, they provide your ducklings with a nutritious and wholesome breakfast.

Oats are an excellent source of manganese, which helps strengthen a duck’s immunity and promote bone health. Oats can be served raw or cooked in small amounts but be mindful not to overfeed them as this could lead to weight gain.

When feeding your toddler oatmeal, be sure to select the correct variety – some varieties are more difficult to digest than others and could cause digestive issues.

For optimal nutrition, feed your child whole oat groats that are husk-free. These oats are easily digestible and can be cooked quickly – usually within 15 minutes – for added convenience.


Greens make an excellent addition to a duckling’s diet as they can be eaten fresh or cooked. To make them more palatable, soaking them in water makes them easier for the duckling to chew through and consume.

Leafy greens are packed with essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, calcium, folate, iron and fibre. Plus they’re low in calories and fat too!

These can come in a variety of forms, such as lettuce, kale, Swiss chard and spinach. You can cook, wilt or grate them to use in salads, stir-fries or stews.

Niacin is another essential nutrient to supplement in your chick’s diet. You can easily provide this water soluble vitamin by adding brewer’s yeast to their chick starter feed or, if using commercially available feed, mixing in some niacin with it.

Fruit such as pears, apples and plums is an excellent source of niacin for growing ducklings, strengthening their immunity.


Treats are an excellent way to recognize your ducklings for their hard work, but it’s essential that you select nutritious treats.

Fruits like berries and melons are delicious treats for your ducklings and will help to keep them contented and healthy. Be sure to mash up these treats into small portions so they’re easier to consume.

Vegetables and leafy greens like lettuce, kale, Swiss chard, and spinach can also be enjoyed by your ducklings. However, be wary of giving them too much iceberg lettuce since it contains little nutritional value and may lead to diarrhea in large amounts.

Scrambled eggs make an excellent treat for your ducks as they provide them with protein, vitamin A and B12, zinc, iron, phosphorus and potassium.

Egg shells make an excellent treat for your ducklings once they reach adulthood and start laying their own eggs (around 20 weeks). Be mindful not to give them too many eggshells at once as this could interfere with calcium absorption, leading to soft-shelled eggs in females or egg binding in males.