Supplying Feed And Water

Ducklings that are one-day old are fairly easy to start on feed and water. Starter feed should be given as pellets, 320 or 480 mm in diameter, or crumbles (Fig. 1). The pellets are placed in the bottom of a box or feeder that is no more than 3.85 cm deep. In order for ducks to shovel the pellets with their bill, the feeder should be at least 7.6 cm wide.[1] Ducks don't require much feeder space because they can eat a lot of pellets quickly. Even mature ducks probably need 7.6 cm or less of feeder space per bird, except when breeders are given limited amounts of feed each day. Otherwise, enough feed should be provided so that there is feed in the feeder most of the day. Feeders should be appropriate for the size of the duck, and they should be positioned at a level that the duck can eat without raising or lowering its head very much. Larger ducks can eat pellets that are 635 or 952 mm in diameter.

Watering ducks is also relatively easy. Any container should provide water that is at least 1.25 cm deep, unless a nipple waterer is used. The container must be slightly wider than the duck's bill, so the duck has access to the water. Any appropriate trough or pan can be used. Ducks should have water available to them at all times, and the waterers should be kept clean. When feeding, ducks like to alternate between feeding and drinking. The area between feed and water locations becomes wet and dirty. With larger numbers of ducks, houses are designed to decrease this problem by building a wire grate over a gutter or drain. The waterer is positioned over the grate so most of the water that is spilled will fall into the drain. It is not necessary for ducks to swim; however, occasional swimming will improve feather quality.

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