What to Feed Baby Ducklings

Ducklings don’t eat for the first twenty-four hours after they hatch, since they’re still absorbing nutrients from the yolk inside the egg they hatched from. After that, they graduate to starter crumbs, tiny pellets of duck food available at feed supply stores. Although chicks don’t need feed or water for the first 48 hours after hatching, both are usually provided as soon as the chicks are transferred to the brooder. When the ducklings are 2 days old they should start on chick feed (20-22% protein) for the first 2 weeks only, then can switch to a waterfowl starter or starter/grower (15-16% protein) until they are 18 weeks old or so and then switch right over to a regular (16% protein) layer feed – or waterfowl layer feed if you can find it in your area.

Bread, chips, crackers, donuts, cereal, popcorn, and similar bread-type products and scraps are never best to feed birds. Feeding ducks bread is bad because the food has little nutritional value and can harm ducklings‘ growth, pollute waterways and attract rodents and other pests.

Good Foods for Ducks

  • Cracked corn.
  • Wheat, barley, or similar grains.
  • Oats (uncooked; rolled or quick)
  • Rice (plain white or brown, cooked or uncooked, whole or instant)
  • Milo seed.
  • Birdseed (any type or mix)
  • Grapes (cut in half or quartered if very large)