What do ducks eat? Now here is an important question

5 Feb

What do ducks eat? 

What do ducks eat? Or put another way, what should I feed my ducks on, is another question I have been asking myself since we got our two abacot ranger ducks.

Ducks eating grassObviously, it is possible to buy commercial food for poultry, including ducks, but it is useful to know what food they will eat for free. Not only does this result in lower food bills and thus cheaper eggs, but it must also be better for the ducks, surely? We are always told to have five a day, so I reckon it must follow that ducks should have a variety of foodstuffs. I have always felt very sorry for domestic dogs and cats who have the same tinned or dry food most of their lives.

I suspect (and have read) that if given access to a largish amount of grass our ducks will find enough worms, slugs and insects to supplement their wheat and layers’ pellets.

We follow the advice of Ashton Waterfowl, who sold us our abacots, and feed them wheat submerged in water every day and put layers’ pellets out twice a day. But I wanted to give them access to other foodstuffs.

But first I had to think about what do ducks eat? As usual there is plenty of advice on the internet but the first rule, it seems to me, is to avoid all the plants that we know to be dangerous, so no foxglove, rhubarb leaves, tomato or potato family leaves.

The biochemistry of different animals’ metabolism means that what’s poisonous to one species might not be to another, but as a simple rule to follow, it seems helpful.

Over the past few weeks, we have tried a variety of shredded green leaves. Watercress, sprout tops, leek tops and various culinary herbs (not that there are many about at this time of the year) have all been offered to our ducks, and in most part been taken.

The one thing that they go absolutely mad for though is simple cut grass.

After lunch each day, I go and cut a handful of grass and then cut it up fine and feed it to the ducks.

Sometimes I mix in herbs, but they really seem to enjoy just the grass, even coming over and taking it from my hand. Though they do seem to like it best thrown onto their pool where they can sit and eat it at their leisure.

They have even eaten some shredded carrot, but I am not sure they really wanted that.

Apparently, some keepers swear by frozen peas. I have tried hand feeding them and putting them in their pond, but up to now, I don’t think they are keen.

And, as I enjoy peas much more than grass, I think I will stick to cutting them some grass and eating the peas myself.

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