Q. There are some wild ducks that I would like to feed and take care of. What do they eat and what kind of nesting do they need?
A. Ducks love to eat quite a wide range of foods. Bread is a popular thing to feed ducks, but actually, it isn’t the BEST thing to feed a duck. Too much of it isn’t good on their digestion and it doesn’t have a lot of nutrition.
You could try calling around to your local pet stores and feed stores (places that carry stuff for horses) and ask for “waterfowl feed.” Sometimes stores will special order it for you. The popular brand is made by Purina Mills and is called Mazuri Waterfowl Feed. It’s relatively cheap for 50 lbs and lasts a long time. There are other brands of waterfowl feed that are cheaper, also.
Or, you can find UNMEDICATED chicken mash from a feedstore and feed that. Make sure it is UNMEDICATED. Chicken medication will kill a duck.
If you cannot find any of that food, you can do fine with things that may be in your kitchen cupboard. Crumbled bread or cornbread with water or milk will make a quick meal. Cottage cheese and oatmeal is good. Chop up a hardboiled egg a day for protein (make sure to crumble the shell into fine pieces too for much-needed calcium). Also, chopped up greens (from garden or store), or blades of grass (make sure no chemicals have been used ) are good. Meals such as corn meal or even bird seed ground to a powder in a coffee grinder are good too.
If you can find worms, slugs, snails, or pillbugs then feed these to your bird too for protein! It will absolutely love them! But make sure any slugs or snails you feed haven’t been poisoned with any poisoned bait. Crumbled dry dog food, moistened with water can be served occasionally.
You can plant a garden and feed them from that – they love spinach and lettuces and leafy greens. You may want to fence off the garden to keep them from completely
As for a nesting place … you could make one. They like to hide in thick growth areas among bushes. You can provide straw or hay for them to build a nest.
The best thing you can do for these ducks is to make sure no dogs can get to them. Cats don’t bother ducks all that much, but dogs love to kill ducks.