Can Ducks Eat Chicken Feed?

You should be aware of what food is acceptable for ducks if you own them or occasionally toss breadcrumbs into the pond in your neighborhood. Don’t worry if you’ve ever questioned whether chicken feed was one of those meals and wasn’t sure if it would harm the animals. Chicken feed is edible by ducks.

There are various undesirable side effects and safety measures you should follow. Any questions you may have will be answered, and you’ll also learn more about the nutritional value of chicken feed and discover a few nutrient-dense substitutes.

Can ducks eat chicken feed?

What’s in the Feed?

For poultry, chicken feed offers various nutritional advantages. It is made up of cereals, oilseeds, and by-products from animals. Any protein content beyond 18% will be difficult to locate and will vary depending on the brand.

For hens, this is great, but what about ducks?

Ducks, however, are not chickens, thus they require a slightly different diet. The absence of niacin in the feed is the difference that has the greatest risk of harm. Don’t worry if you only occasionally feed the ducks in your neighborhood park; the chicken feed won’t hurt them. Ducklings will require more nutrients if you are raising them yourself rather than purchasing them in chicken feed.

What Should Ducks Eat?

Feeding chickens is one suitable approach. You’ll need to supplement with niacin if you choose to go that path. Your ducklings won’t be able to walk without the niacin and will likely grow to be smaller than typical or even acquire bowed legs.

A typical remedy is to include brewer’s yeast in the feed. For every cup of chicken feed, you give ducks, you should add about 1.5 tablespoons.

Niacin tablets, liquid B3 vitamins, and vitamin and mineral packets are additional choices. Plan accordingly because ducks typically require 9 mg of niacin daily.

If math isn’t your thing, there are alternatives to chicken feed so that you can make sure you have the right niacin-to-feed ratio. When feeding ducks, the majority of experts advise waterfowl pellets above all else. You won’t need to make up for the niacin that is missing because they are packed with the nutrients that your aquatic friends require.

How Much is Too Much?

Ducklings adore food! They require a lot of protein because they are growing and this presents a small issue for individuals who utilize chicken feed. The majority of chicken feed contains medication to prevent coccidiosis, a condition that affects chickens frequently but not ducks. Ducklings typically consume 6-7 ounces of feed every day, and if they consume too much, they risk over-medicating and getting sick.

To prevent this potential issue, it is important to obtain non-medicated chick starters while feeding ducklings. Due to their reduced nutritional requirements as adults, ducks run a much lower risk of overmedicating. You must still watch out that they aren’t overfed, though. Usually, ducks require 4-6 ounces of food per day.

Can Baby Ducks Eat Chick Starter?

It is recommended to utilize duck-specific feed. Select high-quality feed that doesn’t contain a lot of byproduct ingredients. You want to provide your ducks with the best nourishment possible. They may have poor feathering, a smaller body mass, less egg output, and other issues with it.

You can help ensure that you are raising healthy ducks by selecting high-quality feed from a dependable vendor.

In terms of what to feed ducklings, waterfowl starter crumbles are recommended for the first three weeks of life. If crumbles, which are small and secure for ducklings to consume, are not available, you can purchase pellets.

If you don’t have a choice, you can feed your ducklings a chick starter for the first two weeks alone.

After that, until they are about 18 weeks old, you should convert their feed to a lower-protein growth feed.

What Are the Dangers of Chicken Feed for Ducks?

The answer to the question “Can duck eat chicken food?” is, technically speaking, “yes,” but you shouldn’t rely on it as a long-term feed option.

High protein content in chicken feed encourages the animals to grow more quickly and produces more eggs. On the other hand, ducks should not consistently eat too much protein.

Additionally, since ducks need more niacin in their diet than chickens do and the feed won’t provide it, you shouldn’t feed your ducks chicken feed.

  • Extra Protein

Ducklings may get foot and limb issues if they grow too quickly as a result of consuming too much protein. Additionally, it can lead to “angel wing,” a condition in which the feathers of ducks turn outward, in both adult ducks and ducklings. They won’t be able to fly or migrate because of this ailment.

  • Niacin deficiency

Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is essential for the health of ducks because the body cannot store it. This means that to make sure they are regularly ingesting it, they require high levels of niacin in their feed.

Niacin has a crucial role in the development of ducklings. Conversely, since chicks don’t require the same quantities of niacin in their diet, their food won’t contain it.

You should combine it with about 5% brewer’s yeast for additional niacin if you just intend to use it temporarily or for the first two weeks of a duckling’s life.

also read: Ducks Eat Cat Food

How to Use Chick Starter for Ducks

You can use chicken feed as a substitute if purchasing duck feed is too expensive. For the first two weeks, you can feed your chickens 23% protein as the beginning of a diet. Then switch to a 20% protein broiler growth diet.

Utilizing a broiler finisher diet with 18% protein is an additional choice. You must, however, proceed with caution and care. Feed additives for broiler chickens frequently do not have the Food and Drug Administration’s approval for use with ducks. Even though using a chick starter is not recommended, you can still make it work.

Here’s how to modify chick-starting meals to better meet the requirements of your young ducklings.

  • One and two weeks

You can add the following to your chick starter before giving it to your ducklings because they require extra niacin at this stage:

  1. Beer yeast

The most well-liked and straightforward way to add niacin to a duckling’s diet is to add some brewer’s yeast to the chick starter. Although this yeast is used to make beer and bread, many people also take it to improve their immune and digestive systems.

It is available online, at health food stores, and at natural food stores. To feed your ducklings 1.5 tablespoons of chick starter feed per cup is what you need to do. Brewer’s yeast is powdery, so add some to the feed before it settles to the bottom of the pile to make sure your ducklings get some. Some people moisten the feed quite a bit to make the powder adhere to it. 

  1. Niacin Supplement in Liquid

Niacin can be added to a duckling’s diet because it is a water-soluble vitamin by purchasing liquid niacin and adding it to their water. Every four gallons of water require about 500 milligrams of niacin.

If a specific duckling appears to be having trouble, you may need to give it 10 to 20 mg per day to be sure it is getting enough.

  1. Niacin supplements

If you can’t find the liquid form of vitamin B3, simply split open the pills and add them to the water your ducklings are drinking. 

  • Weeks 2 through 20

Your ducklings simply start growing faster when they are two to three weeks old. Contrary to popular belief, this does not imply that they require extra protein. At this point, you ought to convert them to a lower-protein diet.

If you can’t find a chick starter that has 16% to 18% protein, you can add uncooked, rolled oats to it to bulk it up.

You should use enough oats to provide the feed with a total oat content of about 20%. Additionally, as previously said, you must continue adding niacin to their diet as a supplement.

When your ducklings are at least 20 weeks old, you can transfer them to layer feed, but until then, keep adding these two kinds of supplements to their diet.


“Can ducks consume chicken feed?” is a question that won’t always give you an honest response because, even though they can consume it, it’s not the ideal food for your ducks.

Even if it would be practical, it’s recommended not to feed chicken feed to ducks. Try to purchase food that is made especially for waterfowl and has few additional byproducts. Additionally, make sure the one you purchase is appropriate for the age of your ducks.

Chickens and ducks require different kinds of nutrients. If necessary, you can alter the chicken feed to make it nutritionally suitable for ducks.


What is the best diet for ducks?

Niacin, or vitamin B3, is the most crucial component in duck feed because it promotes strong, healthy legs and general growth. Niacin has the opposite effect when consumed in excess and may result in malformations or fragility. To encourage healthier aging, you should also prioritize protein amino acid levels; nevertheless, if you’re raising your birds for their eggs, you should stay away from excessive high-energy blends. You want to extend their laying days and keep them at a healthy weight. While some ducks consume mash, you should expect a 10% growth drop in comparison to ducks-fed pellets. Ducklings are fed little pellets or crumbles as part of their initial diet before transitioning to larger pellets after two weeks. Avoid eating ultra-fine feed because it could make you choke.

What food can kill ducks?

You should be very careful not to give your ducks access to the following:

Dried beans and raw beans
Potato whites

They can also be killed by any leaves or stems from plants in the nightshade family. This applies to tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and other nightshades.

What do ducks eat for snacks and treats?

Along with their regular diet, you can give ducks a variety of additional foods as snacks and treats. You should limit all other snacks and treats, except green snacks so that they only account for about 10% of your pet’s overall caloric intake. Bugs and Insects
Necessary Supplements Grit
Oyster Shells You may use any kind of shell, including old seashells, as a fantastic calcium supplement to help your ducks lay eggs with robust eggshells.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *