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September 6, 2007

Caring for wild ducks

Posted by Dervaes

Q. There are some wild ducks that I would like to feed and take care of. What do they eat and what kind of nesting do they need?

A. Ducks love to eat quite a wide range of foods. Bread is a popular thing to feed ducks, but actually, it isn't the BEST thing to feed a duck. Too much of it isn't good on their digestion and it doesn't have a lot of nutrition.

You could try calling around to your local pet stores and feed stores (places that carry stuff for horses) and ask for "waterfowl feed." Sometimes stores will special order it for you. The popular brand is made by Purina Mills and is called Mazuri Waterfowl Feed. It's relatively cheap for 50 lbs and lasts a long time. There are other brands of waterfowl feed that are cheaper, also.

Or, you can find UNMEDICATED chicken mash from a feedstore and feed that. Make sure it is UNMEDICATED. Chicken medication will kill a duck.

If you cannot find any of that food, you can do fine with things that may be in your kitchen cupboard. Crumbled bread or cornbread with water or milk will make a quick meal. Cottage cheese and oatmeal is good. Chop up a hardboiled egg a day for protein (make sure to crumble the shell into fine pieces too for much-needed calcium). Also, chopped up greens (from garden or store), or blades of grass (make sure no chemicals have been used ) are good. Meals such as corn meal or even bird seed ground to a powder in a coffee grinder are good too.

If you can find worms, slugs, snails, or pillbugs then feed these to your bird too for protein! It will absolutely love them! But make sure any slugs or snails you feed haven't been poisoned with any poisoned bait. Crumbled dry dog food, moistened with water can be served occasionally.

You can plant a garden and feed them from that - they love spinach and lettuces and leafy greens. You may want to fence off the garden to keep them from completely
destroying it.

As for a nesting place ... you could make one. They like to hide in thick growth areas among bushes. You can provide straw or hay for them to build a nest.

The best thing you can do for these ducks is to make sure no dogs can get to them. Cats don't bother ducks all that much, but dogs love to kill ducks.

Let me know if I can be of any more assistance.


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3 Comments: "Caring for wild ducks" »

  1. There is a pond near the back of our house and wild mallard ducks have been
    coming to eat the wild bird food that we put down for the birds. This includes some cracked corn. I recently bought a large bag of corn that wasn't cracked and have been
    giving this to the ducks. Some websites say cracked corn loses nutritional value and other say the whole corn is harder for the ducks to digest. So..what's best to feed these
    ducks...Whole corn or cracked? And since I already have a 50 pound bag of the whole
    corn will that be OK to use? If the wild birds(blackbirds, finches,etc.) eat the whole corn
    can that be bad for them?

    • I would feed them the cracked corn, which will be easier for them to both swallow and digest. Throw it on the banks of the pond so they can chase it down with water, otherwise they can choke to death since ducks have to chase every bite or so of food down with water.
      But as this website suggests, you can also feed them the Mazuri waterfowl feed--the Mazuri "maintenance" feed is what you'd feed to adult ducks that are not breeding (such as you'd find in autumn). It's made in round pellets that float, so you can just toss them into the water and the wild ducks will eat it while they're in the pond. They'll love you for doing this. Try to broadcast a lot of it over a broad area of the pond so they don't get into scuffles while they eat it!

  2. wild ducks about 3 months old beginning to loose balance flutter around in water
    fall over cant fly yet

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