Can Ducks Eat Barley?

If you have this grain nearby, you are probably wondering if ducks can eat barley so that you can save some money on duck feed.

The good news is they can – your ducks can eat barley.

Now, let’s see the benefits and how much barley is enough for ducks.

Is Barley Healthy for Ducks?

Higher in protein and fiber and lower in fat than world-known corn, this is a healthy grain that only adds to the well-being of any living creature.

This high-fiber grain will improve:

  • cholesterol levels
  • regulation of your duck’s blood sugar

Look at the comparison table between two similar grains (barley and wheat) to see how having these grains in the diet can benefit your duck’s health.

Raw 3.5oz (100gr)
Raw 3.5oz (100gr)
Vitamin C0mg0mg
Vitamin B60.26mg0.34mg
Iron 2.5mg3.6mg
Barley vs. Wheat

Feeding Ducks Barley In Moderation

On the other hand, barley has minimal levels of vitamin K and Riboflavin and zero vitamins B12, Folic acid, vitamin c, and other vitamins.

So barley can cause malnutrition if consumed too much in your duck diet.

That’s why high-quality pelleted duck feed is the best answer if you want to keep ducks healthy and maximize their growth.

Not only that, but also your ducks will have great egg production and excellent feathers.

And if you are keeping ducks for profit, investing in high-quality duck feed from reputable sources will be the most profitable.

“Cutting corners” with cheap alternatives and feeding them mostly with millet or scraps will keep them full but not healthy and productive.

What Is Barley?

For those wondering, barley is one of the oldest cultivated grains in the world.

It comes from the grass family, and this grain is grown mainly in areas with wider temperature ranges throughout the year.

Today this grain is one of the most grown plants in the world (right behind corn, wheat, and rice).

It’s used primarily in the food industry and for making beer.

How Much & How Often Ducks Can Eat Barley?

Even though barley is a worldwide healthy staple food, you should not replace duck feed with this barley.

So mixing 10%-20% with commercial food can reduce your costs a bit.

And it won’t hurt your ducks; however, if you keep ducks for profit, you will get the best results only with well-balanced duck feed.

Barley lacks some minerals and vitamins, not having enough niacin and protein, so all that can lead to health consequences later if you overdo it.

I’m saying that because some people mix barley with duck feed in a 50%-50% ratio. I wouldn’t suggest that.

Preparation Tips

Mix the barley in the same feeder with commercially prepared duck feed. Or you can just throw them on the ground or hand feed them as a treat.

Ducks won’t have problems eating the grains, and you don’t need to grind them.

If you do, your ducks will digest quickly and absorb nutrients more efficiently.

It is enough if ducks have free access to water at all times so that they can soften it a little bit.

What About Ducklings

Ducklings can be fed barley after they are four weeks old.

Beware of the advice that you can save some money feeding ducklings cheaper alternatives.

A starter diet should be a must for ducklings from hatch to 2 weeks of age. And after that grower diet comes in.

Ducklings have special nutritional needs and need many well-balanced vitamins and minerals (not only perfect niacin and protein level).

We can’t create that balance on our own, especially with all kinds of snacks and cheaper alternatives like feeding them only millet or barley.

Feed that is prepared for ducklings is ideal if you want well-developed ducks in the future.

So avoid all kinds of snacks (like grains, fruit, and vegetables) until ducklings are four weeks old.

Final Words

If your local feed store’s commercial feed for ducks is a bit expensive, you could save some money by offering ducks barley.

But feeding ducks exclusively barley won’t meet all the nutrient needs of your ducks.

Barley is a high source of protein and fiber; however, some vitamins (like vitamin C and B12) are lacking.

And that’s why if you plan to feed ducks barley, you should remember that giving them barley should be done in moderation.