How to feed wild ducks properly


Wild ducks are the most common birds that massively settle on the shores of urban and natural reservoirs. Enterprising poultry farmers have managed to domesticate some species. These birds are unpretentious and picky about food, but for normal development, their diet must be enriched with nutrients and they can be fed additionally.

What do wild ducks eat in nature?

Wild ducks creatures omnivores... In their natural environment, they get their own food, which includes:

  • grass and roots;
  • small molluscs, invertebrates and crustaceans;
  • small fish;
  • tadpoles and small frogs;
  • plankton;
  • mosquito larvae;
  • seaweed;
  • insects;
  • berries;
  • plants' seeds.

Dwelling on the shores of calm bodies of water, ducks extract food from silt and water... They filter water through their beak and catch small animals. In shallow water, birds collect food from the bottom. To do this, they immerse their head in water, leaving only a tail on the surface, and sort out the silt.

Often, people specifically attract wild ducks to water bodies so that they eat mosquito larvae and reduce the number of blood-sucking animals.

In summer, birds do not lack food and eat a variety of foods. And in winter they feed more on vegetation: fruits and seeds of plants and berries.

Why feed

The birds pick up everything that falls into the water from human hands. They often eat baked goods, cookies, grains, seeds, chips and even popcorn, so their instincts have dulled and they increasingly settle near people. Once migratory birds, began to lead a sedentary lifestyle and winter in cities.

Ducks need complementary foods during the warm season. only in special conditions:

  • associated with environmental problems of water bodies;
  • with a large number birds on a small pond;
  • if the birds are injured and unable to forage on their own.

In winter, it is more difficult for ducks to find food, especially if the temperature drops below 15 degrees and the water bodies freeze completely. And to help the ducks survive the cold, they need to be fed. But you need to do it right, so as not to harm health feathered.

Ducks can be fed with the following foods:

  • curd mixture with the addition of cereals and chopped herbs;
  • oatmeal;
  • fresh berries and fruits;
  • boiled vegetables;
  • grated cheese;
  • compound feed that can be prepared at home or bought.

All products must be crushed and food should be left on the shore so as not to litter the reservoir.

Is it possible to feed

Bird watchers strongly against feeding wild birds, especially in the warm season. Instincts laid down by nature suggest that wild animals must independently obtain their own food.

Therefore, feeding ducks leads to the fact that their natural instincts are dulled. They stop looking for food and wait for a new portion from the person. And with the arrival of winter, the ducks are not ready to fly to the south and remain in a lured place. And it is very difficult for birds to survive without human help.

Fresh white and black bread should not be given to wild ducks - it causes fermentation in the poultry crop.

Harmful to them moldy bread, which causes the development of aspergillosis, a fatal disease of birds.

What are duck food

Ducks must have feed in their diet. animal and vegetable originas well as chalk, coarse sand and small shells.

All poultry feed can be divided into several main types:

  • vitamin or green;
  • cereals or grains;
  • animal feed;
  • mineral supplements.

Each of them must be present in the diet of birds for full development.

Vitamin or green

In the summer, it will not be difficult to provide domesticated wild ducks with such feed, but for the winter diet green fodder should be harvested.

For these purposes, a blank is suitable:

  1. Large green leaves and herbs that need to dry properly... Bunches of grasses and leaves should be hung in wind-blown areas.
  2. Aquatic plants: duckweed, chora, hornwort, algae. Such greens are caught from water bodies and dried.
  3. Vegetables: carrots, pumpkins, potatoes, rutabagas, beets. Vegetables are served raw or boiled, and carrots can also be salted.

Cereals or grains

Such foods form the basis of the bird's diet. It can be whole grain or crushed, so it is suitable for birds of all ages.

These feeds include:

  • corn;
  • millet;
  • barley;
  • grain waste;
  • legumes;
  • peas.

Cereal mixes are rich in carbohydrates, which essential for sustainable growth and development... The grain is well digested and does not clog the goiter, so the birds are always energetic and mobile.

Animal feed

it protein source, which wild ducks get by eating insects, small amphibians and fish fry. At home, supplements will help fill the lack of such food:

  1. Fermented milk products: whey, cottage cheese, cheese.
  2. Fishmeal, from which mash is prepared and broths are boiled.
  3. Meat and bone meal, which is high in fat.
  4. Fish meat - small fish, boneless fillets and fish waste will do.

Mineral supplements

Ducks need minerals for the formation of a hard shell of eggs, and particulate matter helps to grind food. Therefore, feed should be enriched with chalk, crushed eggshells, shells, gravel, coarse sand and small amounts of salt.

It is important to provide such additives to the laying ducks, otherwise the strength of the eggshell will be low, which will lead to their rapid deterioration, and the ducks may simply crush them.

Features of the preparation of homemade feed

Homemade compound feed, must be balanced in the correct proportions.

Per one hundred grams of compound feed accounts for:

  • 25 g of corn and wheat;
  • 5 g peas;
  • 20 g barley;
  • 5 g wheat bran;
  • 8 g sunflower scraps;
  • 2 g feed yeast;
  • 2 g of fish and meat and bone meal;
  • 5 g of chalk or shells;
  • 0.8 g salt;
  • 2 g of feed fat.

When calculating for a large amount of feed, the mass of ingredients increases proportionally. Adults are fed three times a day, in the form of wet mash. In the evening, you can give whole or sprouted grains.

Feeding in the summer

The norm of dry concentrated feed in the diet of ducks in the summer is 40%, and green fodder - 60%.

If the bird is kept for a walk and has access to reservoirs and pastures, then they themselves get half of the necessary feed. The mash or grain should be given in the morning and evening.

When kept in pen, ducks are fed 4 times a day: twice dry food and twice wet mash, to which aquatic plants and fresh herbs are added. The mash should be given in such quantity that it is completely eaten by the birds, otherwise the feed will quickly deteriorate.

The bird must have access to clean water and gravel.

Feeding in the winter

In winter, ducks should only be fed in the morning and evening. In the morning they give wet mash and combined silage, and in the evening - dry grain-flour fodder. The mixtures should contain fish and meat and bone meal, boiled or raw vegetables, steamed dry grass.

Wild ducks are omnivorous birds. They quickly get used to regular feeding from human hands and stop caring about getting food... As a result, they get the wrong food, which leads to indigestion.

And in winter, birds are not able to live without human help. And if a decision is made to feed wild ducks in winter to help them survive, it must be done correctly - with balanced feed. Improper nutrition will inevitably lead to death.

For domesticated birds, complex grain mixtures are also prepared with the addition of necessary trace elements.


Ducks that live on reservoirs find food on their own. In parks, ducks perform a useful function - they kill mosquitoes, which makes walks in nature near water bodies more attractive. Birds do not need additional feeding if the weather is good outside. When the air temperature drops sharply, additional feed helps the birds stay full longer.

Healthy foods

The main source of calories and vitamins for domestic ducks is cereals and grains. The birds feed on peas, millet, barley, oatmeal, rye, and beans. They eat well euphorbia, oatmeal, fresh grass. Of meat and fish, mollusks, small fish, small frogs are suitable for wild ducks.

Can bread be given?

The main food used to feed ducks in park ponds is bread. Vacationers paint fresh buns, cookies, sweet pastries from pastry shops. White bread in large quantities is harmful to ducks. Carbohydrates are slowly digested, and the constant intake of slow carbohydrates inevitably leads to the fact that the bird gains weight. She becomes heavy, clumsy, loses the ability to find food on her own.

Dangerous food

There is a special category of food that is dangerous to the body of young birds. Ducklings are not given green onions, they are not given fresh milk, and they are not given trimmings of meat or fish.

Prohibited Products Table:

ProductWhy not give
NutsPieces of nuts get stuck in the esophagus and are difficult to digest.
CrispsChips in large quantities cause digestive upset.
CookiesCookies moistened with saliva clump, turn into a heavy piece, cause nausea, and are difficult to digest.
Moldy breadMold is dangerous for the body of birds, it can provoke inflammation of the cloaca.
Ready-made porridgePorridge, the shelf life of which is short, turns sour on water and becomes unusable.

Reference! Finely chopped green onions cause nausea in young ducks.


Subtleties of content

In winter, birds will need an insulated room with a walking area. An ordinary barn is suitable for living. If the ceiling and walls are well insulated in it, then additional heating is not required - wild ducks tolerate cold well.

In the summer, individuals do not need a poultry house. A corral fenced in with a metal mesh will be enough for them. The height of the fence should be at least 1.5 m. If there is a forest nearby, then it is necessary to completely close the enclosure with a net so that the birds do not fall prey to predatory animals. Also, you need to put a small house inside, where the ducks could go in case of bad weather and at night.

Unlike adults, ducklings need warmth. You can make a suitable design with your own hands:

  1. put a wooden box on the racks
  2. upholstery from the inside with polystyrene
  3. put a 10 l container filled with hot water in the drawer
  4. cover the entire structure with a blanket or a suitable pillow to keep warm
  5. cut a hole in the side wall through which the ducklings can sneak in and warm themselves.

The heating pad is able to keep warm for 8 hours.

The room with the chicks should be constantly lit so that they quickly get used to the new environment. As you grow older, the amount of daylight hours can be reduced. A prerequisite for keeping wild ducklings is the complete absence of drafts.


Which breed to choose

It is best to choose one breed for breeding this category of birds. Since representatives of different species of wild ducks require individual care.

Most popular breeds:

  • mallard duck. One of the favorite breeds for keeping in poultry houses. Due to its large size (the weight of an adult can reach 2 kilograms) and unpretentiousness, the mallard has become a favorite of farmers. In order for the mallard to feel comfortable, it needs to provide constant access to the reservoir. Even in winter, these birds are happy to arrange water procedures for themselves.
  • red-headed duck. This breed is notable for its small size, the weight of drakes and a female does not differ much and is about 1.2 kg. Homemade food can make the dive more plump. The dive, like the mallard, settles near water bodies, therefore, when kept in captivity, it must be provided with constant access to water. Diving are good brood hens who carefully look after their offspring without causing trouble for their owners
  • teal whistle. This bird with variegated plumage rarely reaches a weight of more than 0.5 kg. Despite its small size, the teal whistle bears large, chicken-like eggs. Breeding this breed is quite profitable - ducks grow quickly, their meat tastes good. The peculiarity of the teal lies in its ability to take off vertically from a place. He retains this quality in captivity, so teal must be clipped
  • ordinary gogol. These wild waterfowl are bred both for slaughtering for meat, which is distinguished by high taste, and for forestry. Ducks gain weight quickly and lay large eggs. Gogols are unpretentious in maintenance and care.

Important! It is best to catch ducks when there are a lot of grown up young animals that still cannot fly well enough.


Feeding wild birds

The ducklings should be fed every two hours until they are 5 days old. Boiled and crushed eggs mixed with millet or barley should be added to the diet. It is also recommended to include greens (nettle, dandelion, clover) in the diet without fail.

As numerous videos show, birds like to eat mash, which are based on fermented milk products. Fish oil can be included in such foods.

A sample diet for a duck should look like this:

  1. Ground grain (20%).
  2. Wheat bran (10%).
  3. Various legumes (10%).
  4. Oilcake (7%).
  5. Half of the diet should consist of greens.
  6. The rest of the diet is chalk, salt, shells.

As soon as the duck is one month old, it is recommended to feed him three times a day. Experts in numerous videos recommend including potato or carrot tops, food waste in the diet. A real delicacy is duckweed and other vegetation that grows in open water.

What should birds not eat?

Sour food should not be added to the diet of ducklings. This will have a bad effect on the state of their digestion. Experts in numerous videos claim that it is not recommended to feed waterfowl with bread. The greatest danger is carried by the black cracker, which can cause the occurrence of fermentation processes in the gastrointestinal tract of a duckling.


Is it possible to feed wild ducks with bread

Ducks hibernating in non-freezing city ponds are forced to eat bread in large quantities. This is the simplest food the townspeople can offer to birds. If the birds have no other source of food, then they find themselves in an extremely unhealthy situation. This is called "putting on bread and water."

Of course, some arthropods or small fish can swim in reservoirs even in winter. This can save ducks from vitamin deficiency and digestive problems.

With a bread diet in birds, fermentation processes develop in the intestines. The more the ducks eat bread, the more they feel hungry. It is formed from vitamin deficiency and dysbiosis. This leads to the fact that the birds with great greed fill their stomachs with the same bread.

Experts do not recommend feeding wild ducks with bread.

Note. Such birds can survive until spring, but they will be weaker than their relatives arriving from distant countries, where they waited out the winter in natural conditions.


Feeding wild ducklings

Regardless of the season, ducks have a need for fluid.That is, there should always be clean water in the sippy cup. It is recommended to change it once or twice a day. This is done in order to prevent many diseases, since they can be transmitted through water.

In summer, ducks have an increased need for fresh greens and fish products.

In the first week of life, young chicks should be fed once every three hours. How to feed wild ducklings at home?

The diet of young ducklings may include:

  • Barley
  • Crushed grain
  • Chopped boiled eggs
  • Nettle greens:
  • Clover greens
  • Legumes
  • A piece of chalk:
  • Salt
  • Shredded shells
  • Fish fat
  • Feed containing fermented milk products, etc.

When the duckling reaches the age of one month, he switches to three meals a day. At this age, food waste, greens from reservoirs, carrot and potato tops can be included in the diet of ducklings.

There are foods that are forbidden to be consumed by ducks, such as: bread, spoiled feed. These products are capable of causing fermentation processes in the body of the bird, respectively, the risk of infections, diarrhea, and poisoning increases. Also, ducks do not perceive food in which there is a high sugar content or various chemical constituents. Eating such foods can end up very badly for a duck.

In order for wild ducks to produce eggs, they must be fed with their usual food. How to feed wild ducklings? Most often, this is a grass that grows in water bodies. If it is not possible to add algae to the diet, then you can purchase feed in specialized stores that are intended specifically for wild breeds. They contain all the vitamin composition that ducks are accustomed to in the wild.

In order for the bird to return to its home in the evening, you need to accustom it to evening feeding. The ducks develop a reflex that at a certain time, in a certain place, they will receive tasty food, so after a walk, they will return home on their own.

Ducks chicks at an early age eat the same as chicks of chickens. But ducklings grow and develop many times faster than chickens.

Young ducklings don't eat too much

But a farmer who decides to start breeding wild ducks at home should pay special attention to nutrition. With an unbalanced diet or lack of vitamins and nutrients, ducklings start to get sick

The first sign of poor nutrition is weak lower limbs. As soon as this symptom becomes noticeable, the chicks should be immediately fed with vitamins.


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