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What to Feed Baby Ducks? Duckling Guide

Let’s say you found a baby duck on the street quacking and you noticed that it is hungry but you don’t know what to feed baby ducks. Well, if that’s what you are looking for then you have come to the right place.

Baby ducks feed mainly on worms, grass, and plants. Apart from that, they can also eat grains, seeds, and some soft fruits. but there are some foods that baby ducks shouldn’t eat.

Just as I mentioned above, you need to be very careful whenever you are planning to feed a baby duck. Therefore, I highly recommend reading this article to the end so that you can learn what to feed baby ducks and what to avoid.

So without any further ado, let’s get started

But Before you learn about the diet of a baby duck or a duckling you need to know when do baby ducks start eating.

When Do Baby Ducks Start Eating?

What to Feed baby ducks

You might be wondering when do baby ducks start eating? Well, this is a very good question and in order to answer that you need to know how a duckling grows.

In simplest terms, a duckling starts growing from the day it’s born until it reaches adult age. This process can last anywhere from ten weeks up to eighteen weeks. But it largely depends on the breed of a duckling.

So, what do baby ducks eat during their first ten weeks? During this time, a baby duck eats yolk that is located under its belly. It also feeds on this for about three days until it’s fully absorbed into its body. Once that process has been completed, a baby duck will then start looking for food on its own.

But, if the process of absorbing yolk has been completed before three days have passed, then a baby duck is able to eat food from the moment it’s born. And when does a baby duck start eating food? Well, in most cases within 24 hours a baby duck starts eating food.

Here’s What to Feed Baby Ducks During Their First Ten Weeks:

First 3 days

During the first three days, a baby duck just absorbs yolk that is located under its belly. So it doesn’t need any additional source of nutrients until the process has been completed. However, you need to be very careful when handling a baby duck during this time because it can be very delicate.

First 10 days

During their first ten days, a baby duck needs to eat plenty of protein and minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Therefore, if they are fed with commercial feeds then that’s great because those commercial feeds contain all the nutrients that a baby duck needs.

In any case, if you can’t find commercial feeds then don’t worry because there are plenty of things that you can feed a baby duck with. For instance, worms and small invertebrates such as insects will be great for a baby duck during this period.

You also need to mix some grains into their diet so that they get plenty of vitamins and minerals. And when it comes to grains, corn is the best because it has plenty of protein and vitamins that a baby duck needs.

But if you want to mix some vegetables into their diet then that’s also fine because they will definitely benefit from them. However, make sure that these vegetables are soft in order for a baby duck to eat them.

First 15 days

During the first 15 days, a baby duck needs to have plenty of protein that is why insects are still great for them during this period. However, if you can’t find any then don’t worry because there are many other things that you can feed a baby duck with.

You can feed a baby duck with earthworms, fastballs, and commercial feeds. However, it’s crucial that you be careful when buying commercial feeds for a baby duck because there are certain types of these feeds that they can’t eat because they contain materials that aren’t suitable for them.

In any case, if a baby duck doesn’t get enough protein during the first 15 days then it won’t grow properly. So you need to make sure that their diet contains plenty of protein in order for them to stay healthy until they turn into adult ducks.

First 20, 25, 30, or 35 days

During these days, a baby duck needs to have worms and commercial feeds because those contain plenty of protein in them. However, you need to keep in mind that they still can’t eat any vegetables or fruits no matter how ripe or soft they are because they contain too much calcium. Calcium is harmful to baby ducks during the first 30 days of their lives.

So make sure that when feeding a baby duck with commercial feeds, you prepare them with calcium-free water. And when it comes to vegetables and fruits, you can feed them with those after the first 30 days of their lives because during this period they need all the protein that they can get in order for them to grow properly.

But if a baby duck doesn’t eat any commercial feeds then you need to give them plenty of earthworms during its first 20 days of life. However, after the 20th day, you can also feed them with larvae such as small ants.

And when it comes to water then make sure that you keep it available all the time and change it regularly because a baby duck needs fresh and clean water in order for them to grow properly.

Now that you’ve learned about the different time periods of a baby duck’s life, we hope that you use this newfound knowledge and apply it to your ducks.

What Do Baby Ducks Eat?

A group of cute baby ducks

From the 1st until the 10th day, a baby duck needs to eat a high-protein diet. That’s why insects are suitable for this time period because they contain all the nutrients that a baby duck needs.

But if you can’t find any insects then you can feed them with worms and small pieces of meat. In addition to that, you can also feed them with commercial feeds.

However, make sure that you prepare these commercial feeds properly because there are certain kinds of commercial feeds that a baby duck cannot eat due to the materials they contain.

For example, if the commercial feed contains calcium then it’s not suitable for baby ducks since consuming too much calcium will result in health problems.

The first 15 days are crucial for a baby duck because they need to have plenty of protein in order to grow properly. That’s why you should feed them with insects, worms, small pieces of meat, and commercial feeds that were prepared properly.

After the 15th day, you can feed them with small pieces of fruit or vegetables that are ripe or soft as long as they don’t contain calcium because a baby duck can’t consume too much calcium.

On the 20th day, you need to give them earthworms and larvae such as small ants in addition to commercial feeds and fruit and vegetables that were prepared properly.

After the 20th day, a baby duck needs to have a balanced diet in order to grow properly. So you can feed them with small pieces of fruit and vegetables that were prepared properly, commercial feeds, earthworms, larvae such as small ants, and worms.

What Is the Best Food for Ducklings?

A high-protein diet is necessary for a baby duck from the first through the tenth day. That’s why insects are suitable during this period since they provide all of the nutrients a newborn duck requires.

But if you can’t find any insects then you can feed them with worms and small pieces of meat. In addition to that, you can also feed them with commercial feeds.

However, make sure that you prepare these commercial feeds properly because there are certain kinds of commercial feeds that a baby duck cannot eat due to the materials they contain.

For example, if the commercial feed contains calcium then it’s not suitable for baby ducks since consuming too much calcium will result in health problems.

The first 15 days are crucial for a baby duck because they need to have plenty of protein in order to grow properly. That’s why you should feed them with insects, worms, small pieces of meat, and commercial feeds that were prepared properly.

What Can I Feed Wild Ducklings?

When it comes to feeding wild ducklings, they’re not that different from baby ducks. That’s why it is important for you to feed them with insects until the tenth day.

After the tenth day, you can offer your ducklings small pieces of ripe or soft fruit or vegetables, as long as they don’t contain calcium. A baby duck may not consume too much calcium.

On the 20th day, you should provide earthworms and larvae, such as tiny ants, in addition to commercial feeds and fruit and vegetable items that have been properly prepared.

A baby duck must eat a balanced diet after the twentieth day if it is to develop properly. As a result, you can feed your ducklings with small pieces of fruit and vegetables that have been prepared properly, commercial feeds, earthworms, larvae or tiny ants, and worms.

A baby duck enjoying life in a pond with siblings

What Foods Are Poisonous to Ducks?

Ducklings (baby ducks) may not be able to eat or digest certain food items that are poisonous for them. For example, citrus peels can cause hemolytic anemia. In addition, chocolate or caffeine can also be fatal for a duckling.

Also, feeding ducklings with milk is not recommended because their digestive system is not equipped to process it adequately. In fact, giving them dairy products will make them sick.

Can Baby Ducks Eat Bananas?

Bananas are safe for baby ducks but they should not be given too often. You should give your ducklings 1/8th of a banana each day at the most.

If you feed them bananas more than once, this may cause diarrhea. Also, keep in mind that feeding young ducklings with fruit is not recommended because their digestive system is not equipped to process it properly.

Can Ducklings Eat Grapes?

Yes, grapes can be given to your ducklings but you should only feed them with a small number of grapes each day because giving them too much may cause diarrhea or other problems.

Is Bread Bad for Ducks?

People, who have ducks as pets usually ask, “Can I feed my duck bread?” In fact, it’s better to not feed your duck with bread because it has no nutritional value.

In addition, you should never give your ducklings baked goods or anything that contains chocolate. And keep in mind that giving a baby duck any dairy products can cause it to become sick.

Can Ducklings Eat Blueberries?

Blueberries are safe for baby ducks but you shouldn’t feed them more than 1 or 2 berries each day because they can cause diarrhea.

It is because blueberries contain calcium and a baby duck can consume too much calcium.

Too much calcium is harmful to a baby duck because it can cause problems with blood circulation.

How Often Should I Feed My Ducks?

In order to have a healthy duck, you should feed the adults 2 to 3 times a day. Ducks love mealworms as their small snack so you can give them as many as they want because mealworms are rich in protein and calcium.

On the other hand, baby ducks only need 1 feeding per day but it depends on how much their mother is feeding them. You can count how much they eat within a week and feed them with the same amount every day.

In addition, you should clean their water often to keep it from becoming contaminated or dirty because ducks tend to contaminate their water by swimming in it and through their droppings.

How Many Times a Day Do I Feed My Duckling?

You should feed your duckling with commercial feeds at least 4 times a day if it is less than 10 days old. On the other hand, you can reduce the number of feedings to 3 times per day when it’s about 10 days old.

Do Baby Ducks Feed Themselves?

Baby ducks are able to eat on their own after they hatch. However, you should still make sure that the water is clean and it’s filled with nutritional feed.

Maintaining a proper diet for your ducklings is important because malnutrition can cause serious health problems.

lonely baby duck swimming

Final Words

What to feed baby ducks? well, there are many things that you can feed baby ducks such as seeds, grains, grass, soft fruits (without too much alcohol content). Besides that, there are some commercial food items in different stores, especially for baby ducks.

If you don’t have any idea about a duckling’s diet then you can feed them commercial food without any issue at all.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article. For more interesting information related to bird watching and birds in general feel free to visit my other articles.

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