can ducks eat oatmeal

Can ducks eat oatmeal

The Right Stuff: What to Feed Your Ducks

Due to limited demand, you may not find duck feed at a local farm store, but you can buy it online ( offers a complete line), or you can adapt unmedicated chicken feed to suit your ducks.

Newly hatched ducklings require a formula that’s high in protein (18 to 20 percent) with well-balanced amino acids—typical of chick starter feeds. Boost the niacin content by adding 5 to 7 pounds of brewer’s yeast per 100 pounds of chick feed. Ducks raised for meat need a high-protein diet throughout their lives, so continue them on this starter regimen.

Hens bred for egg-laying, however, last longer if they aren’t pushed for maximum growth, so switch them to a lower-protein (14 percent) maintenance feed at 9 weeks. Cut the maintenance feed with oats or uncooked oatmeal, gradually increasing the percentage of oats from 5 to 25 percent by volume. While hens are laying, a poultry layer feed should be incorporated to increase calcium. In winter, a supplement of cracked corn can help provide the extra calories that both layers and meat ducks need to stay warm.

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Ducks don’t have teeth, and instead grind up food internally in their gizzards, so they require a regular supply of granite grit. Use chick-size grit for ducklings and chicken-size grit for adult ducks. Crushed oyster shells provide laying hens with an additional calcium source. (Offer both the granite and oyster shells so the bird can choose which one it needs.)

All domesticated breeds, save Muscovys, are dabblers: When eating, they plunge their beaks into water to sip and swallow at the same time. Small chick waterers are fine for young ducklings, but even the largest chick waterers won’t be deep enough to enable dabbling behavior in adult ducks. Instead, provide them with a shallow bucket or deep bowl. Dabbling soon dirties the drinking water, which means you must change it at least once a day.

Image by Jaesung An from Pixabay