Do you have egg-laying ducks? What do you feed them?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 14, 2012 at 8:02 PM

Hi all,

I have 6 ducks living in the backyard. It's pretty awesome. They are ducky.

Over the past year of their lives, we've fed them basically the "duck feed" you get from a livery store, along with as much natural wild food as we can.

Having a paleo perspective, I always hope to feed our animals what they should ideally eat.

Ducks across the board are pretty omnivorous. This is what the wild cousins of our domestic ducks would generally eat:

  • Small fish and fish eggs
  • Snails worms and mollusks
  • Small crustaceans
  • Grass and weeds
  • Algae and aquatic plants and roots
  • Frogs, salamanders and other amphibians
  • Aquatic and insects
  • Seeds and grain
  • Berries, fruits and nuts

Well, we do feed them as many snails and bugs as we can (there are tons of snails around here), and we've identified many weeds that they love, and they live among blackberry bushes and fallen fruit from our plum and apricot trees.

BUT we can't get away from using grain feed as the bulk of their diets, because these ducks are HUNGRY and they need to eat a lot, and I am not interested in being a medium-scale worm farmer.

Do any of you with ducks suppose that keeping domestic ducks changes the game a little bit? I.e. is it possible that domestic ducks have been bred long enough eating grain that they are adapted to it? Or am I just deluding myself? :)

The eggs that our ducks produce are HUGE, and they each tend to lay 1 egg every other day. Enough to make fabulous duck egg chawanmushi every week. :)

Any tips on feeding ducks a more varied diet?

Thanks for all perspectives!

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2 Answers



on September 15, 2012
at 01:04 AM

I love duckies and have many duckies. Spring, summer and into fall, they hardly eat the grain-based feed I put out for them because there is so much other good food for them to forage but we have a few acres they can work on. They also get all apple cores, carrot ends, parsnip peels, etc from our kitchen. Winter is another story because of possible snow cover. We mix scratch grains and layer feed and also put out oyster shell for them to free-feed from. In the deepest winter if I want them laying more I mix game-bird feed and layer feed, no scratch. I don't sweat the feed issue much but if you have a smaller place you might seek out a store or restaurants that will let you pick up the veggie scraps to supplement them or something. Their digestive systems are much better suited for grain than ours are certainly so I'm not uncomfortable with feeding it to them.



on September 14, 2012
at 10:07 PM

Our ducks ate almost no grain at all, they preferred to forage. We threw out scratch grains for them and the chickens and geese but no duck feed. How big is your place? What breed of ducks do you have? We had Rouens which are an old French breed and they have lived on grain feeding for a long time but you still only want it to be a small supplement in their diet not the main part.

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