Can Ducks Eat Chicken Feed?

Written By Emily

As someone who spends her days surrounded by ducks, I’ve learned a thing or two about what they can and can’t chow down on. More about me here.

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I know you are wondering if ducks can eat chicken feed and want an extra quick answer, but I’m afraid – that’s not going to happen.

That’s because we are dealing here with one of these topics where in most conversations, you can hear at least once the most unpopular answers of all – “It depends.”

Chicken feed feeding ducks tips

The truth is, yes, ducks can eat chicken feed, and you can feed them if you meet certain conditions.

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Should You Feed Your Ducks Chicken Feed?

Would I suggest you feed your ducks with feed for chickens?

 

No.

Why?

All pointless debates aside, the main reason is that chicken feed can not meet all regular duck’s nutritional needs.

Some people in angry debates say that ducks can live and survive on chicken feed (even if it is medicated with amprolium, chlortetracycline, neomycin…).

chickens ducks in the garden

I can survive eating pizza seven days a week, but will it meets my nutritional needs? I don’t think so.

So I always focus on feeding my ducks feed that is formulated for their needs, plus giving them occasional treats as a supplement.

And to be honest, to have some fun watching them destroying watermelon or peas.

But I Want to Feed them Chicken Feed

If it’s easier for you, of course, you can feed your ducks chicken feed.

However, you also need to invest some time to ensure that your chicken feed won’t hurt the ducks.

Here is what you should keep in mind.

Some Chicken Feed Is Alarmingly High in Protein

Take a closer look at the labels on the package.

Chickens and ducks in the backyard

Some chicken feed has a high amount of protein – 20% or more. That is not good news for ducks.

If ducks consume rich protein feed for an extended period, they can develop Angel wing and joint problems.

All in all, the solution to that can be adding some raw grains (wheat, oats, barley) to lower the protein level – 10% or 20% of raw grains will be enough.

Chicken Feed Don’t Have Enough Niacin

You know that ducklings need elevated niacin levels to grow.

Also, adult ducks need niacin to maintain their health.

Chickens don’t. That’s why you won’t find enough niacin in chicken feed—however, the solution is buying an extra package of brewer’s yeast.

Ducks eating chicken feed

Adding between 2% and 3% will do the job and help ducklings grow strong and healthy.

Chicken Feed Is (More Often Than Not) Medicated

Another red flag.

It would be best to keep an eye on the chicken feed package to ensure no medication is added.

There is non-medicated chicken feed on the market, but you must double-check that on the package you have before feeding your ducks.

Most chicken feed has medication (usually Amprolium) to help the baby chickens develop immunity to coccidiosis (one of the most common parasitic diseases).

What sometimes happens is (that because ducks are eating significantly more than chickens) they get sick of this medication.

Chicken feed for ducks cons

And why fit extra medications into ducks’ bodies if they don’t suffer from the same diseases as chickens?

The solution is to look closer at labels and avoid medicated chicken feed.

Some people say this is a myth that if ducks overeat chicken feed with medication, they will get sick.

Maybe so, but why would we fit extra chemicals into duck bodies if we don’t need to?

Either Way – If you can’t find non-medicated feed, don’t worry; it won’t kill your ducks. But if you ask me, extra chemicals that our ducks don’t need are not welcome.

Ducks Are Eating More

I’m pointing out this because you need to keep an eye on how much ducks are eating chicken feed.

Feeding Chicken and ducks

If the protein level is higher, and you didn’t add some grains to lower the protein level, you need to prevent your ducks from overeating.

Extra Work for You

Everything considered, even if feeding ducks chicken feed seemed like a pretty good idea, it turns out that it is additional work.

Making sure that all is safe and that you are not doing more harm than good will take time and effort.

And at the end of the day, even if you succeed in keeping an eye on all of that, your ducks won’t have a well-balanced diet that only duck feed pellets can provide.

Read NextCan ducks eat scratch grains?

What Can You Do?

You can apply everything above or buy a specially prepared feed for ducks.

Chicken feed for ducks guide

Or you can purchase universal feed for ducks, chicken, geese, and even turkeys called “All Flock Crumbles” from Amazon with 60 mg/lb niacin and 16% protein.

Final Words

All said and done; you can feed ducks chicken feed, but I wouldn’t suggest it.

But avoid giving your ducks medicated feed that is not necessary to them.

Also, here is the big one you should know – chicken feed will keep them alive, but it is not a perfect diet for ducks.

If that is not important to you, you can feed your ducks only chicken feed (even medicated), like many people I see around.

Plus, a lot of work and preparation goes into it if you want your ducks to be safe and grow well.

I think the best thing I can do for my ducks is to get proper duck feed from the local feed store to meet all their needs 100%.

Hey there, I’m Emily, the resident duck fanatic on my homestead. My farm may be home to a variety of critters – goats, chickens, sheep – but my ducks are my pride and joy. And as someone who spends her days surrounded by feathered friends, I’ve learned a thing or two about what they can and can’t chow down on. So if you’re ever wondering if ducks can eat bananas, bread, or whatever else you’re considering offering them, just give me a holler. I’m always happy to share my avian expertise with fellow duck enthusiasts.

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