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Are you raising both ducklings and baby chicks in your backyard? You might be thinking of feeding chick starter feed to both of them. Ducklings are not picky eaters. But you still want to serve them a balanced diet to ensure optimal growth.

Do ducklings eat chick starter feed? Yes, ducklings can eat chick starter feed as most of them contain 22% protein on average. But you need to feed them grower feed after 2-3 weeks. Also, it is necessary to feed Niacin Supplement along with chick starter feed.

Do Ducklings Eat Chick Starter Feed?

Yes, you can feed ducklings chick starter feed for the first 2 weeks. Chick starter feed generally contains 22% protein on average.

Ducklings need only 22% protein for the first two weeks. You should not serve them chick starter feed after 2 weeks. These baby ducks need only 17% to 18% of protein.

However, if your chick starter feed contains 20% protein, you can continue feeding it for the first 3 weeks.

Then, you should shift to a lower-protein grower feed that contains only lower-protein grower feed. You can continue feeding them this food for up to 18 weeks.

Do Ducklings Eat Chick Starter Feed

Add Niacin Supplement

Make sure to feed them niacin supplement along with chick starter feed. It is necessary to produce usable energy from fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.

Besides, niacin plays a crucial role in functioning various body parts better and maintaining healthy skin and feathers. It also makes their bones and joints stronger and prevents bowed legs.

It contains the amino acid tryptophan to improve their appetite and feed efficiency. This helps gain body weight faster.

Feed Only Non-Medicated Chick Starter Feed

A duckling consumes approximately 100-120 grams of food daily. These young birds eat around 5 to 6 times daily.

Medicated chick starter feed contains Amprolium to protect younger chickens from coccidiosis.

But ducklings eat several times higher baby chicks. Eating too much starter feed means overdosing on Amprolium.

It can lead to hemorrhagic diathesis and even death. Hence, feeding only non-medicated starter feed to baby chicks is always best.

What To Feed Ducklings Instead Of Chick Starter Feed?

Can’t find chick starter feed from your nearby area? The followings are the two most popular alternatives of chick starter feed for ducklings.  

Duckling & Gosling Starter Grower Crumbles

One of the most reliable options I can recommend is the Duckling & Gosling Starter Grower Crumbles from the Manna Pro brand.

It comes with complete nutritional ingredients to support optimal growth. The duckling feed is free from antibiotics and medicated-based ingredients.

It is equipped with probiotics to improve gut histomorphology and immunity system as well as digestive health and intestinal structure.

The product contains 22% crude protein, 1.25% calcium, 8% crude fiber, and 35 mg/lb niacin.

The manufacturer has not used any artificial colors. As per the manufacturer’s claim, you can feed this feed to ducklings for up to 8 weeks. But I suggest you shift to grower feed after 2-3 weeks.

Manna Pro Duck Starter Grower | Duck Food, Duck Pellets, Chick Feed | 8 Pounds
  • NO ANTIBIOTICS: Manna Pro Duck Starter grower is formulated with non-medicated, non antibiotic ingredients
  • BALANCED NUTRITION: Complete feed formulated with balanced nutrition to support strong healthy ducks.
  • DIGESTIVE HEALTH: Formulated with probiotics to support gut health and digestion
  • COMPLETE FEED: Easy to feed pellets that provide optimum nutrition for healthy birds and strong eggs
  • SIMPLE INGREDIENTS: Formulated with no artificial colors

Last update on 2024-07-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Waterfowl Starter Crumbs

Another excellent starter feed for ducklings is Waterfowl Starter Crumbs. You don’t have to worry about any genetically modified ingredients as it has only non-GMO ingredients.

Coccidiostats are known as toxic to ducklings. This duckling feed is free from Coccidiostats.

The product contains 18.5% crude protein, 4% crude fiber, 3% crude fat, and many other ingredients.

Plus, it is equipped with omega-3 oils to improve growth and immunity. These fatty acids can also help for better egg production in the future.

As per the manufacturer’s claim, you can feed this product for up to 3-4 weeks as it contains a bit less protein.

What To Feed Ducklings Along With Chick Starter Feed?

If you want to make your ducklings healthier and help them grow faster, feeding them some additional healthy food can be effective.


Vegetables can be a great source of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Ducklings have a special love for vegetation. You can serve various types of vegetables.

Avoid feeding eggplants to ducklings because of a higher amount of solanine, which is toxic for baby ducks.

You should also never feed them white potatoes, Raw/dried beans, rhubarb, or green tomatoes.

Vegetable NameBenefits
Sweet PotatoesContains fiber, potassium, and vitamin A to improve the digestive system and ensure proper function of their body
CarrotsEquipped with beta-carotene to improve egg production in the future
Cherry TomatoesContains folic acid, phosphorus, and calcium to improve bone health
RadishIncludes iron and calcium to make feathers healthy and strong
ParsnipsContains  a higher amount of fiber and can suppress hunger in ducklings
BeetsEnriched with various valuable substances and vitamins to make ducklings more active and less prone to getting sick
CucumbersA great source of hydration to improve their digestion and boost the immune system
broccoliContains a noticeable amount of phosphorus and antioxidant content to protect ducklings from oxidative stress

Leafy Greens

It is best to avoid feeding any Spinach to ducklings because it contains high oxalic acid concentration. This will make their ability to absorb enough calcium from various foods.

The followings are the common leafy greens you can feed your young ducks along with chick starter feed.

Leafy Greens NameBenefits
KaleContains vitamins A, C, and K to maintain a healthy immune system and alleviate metabolic signs of stress
CabbageEquipped with vitamins B6 and folate to ensure proper metabolism of amino acids and improve mental and emotional health
LettuceA great source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium to ensure maximum growth rate and better skeletal development
CollardsIncludes a higher amount of vitamin K to develop healthy bones and strengthen bone structure
ChardContains various minerals and vitamins  to improve the digestive system and many nutritional benefits


Make sure your ducklings don’t eat lemons, grapefruits, limes, oranges, or any citrus-based fruits. These fruits can lead to acid reflux and stomach pain in ducklings.

You should also never serve avocado to ducklings because Persin is toxic for baby ducks. It can make them weak and cause various health issues.

The followings are the common fruits you can serve your baby ducks along with chick starter feed. But make sure it is not more than 10% of their daily diet.

Fruits NameBenefits
BerriesCan be fed blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc., to keep ducklings happy and healthy (only 10% of daily diet)
MelonsHigh in vitamins and nutrients to improve eyesight and immune health and provide a proper body hydration
BananaA great source of potassium, manganese, and antioxidant to ensure normal growth and prevention of Perosis
AppleContains more than 50% fiber and vitamin C to digest food better and improve respiratory health
RaspberryHigh in  vitamin C and antioxidants  protect ducklings from cell damage and boost immunity


Ducklings can eat various types of worms, such as mealworms, red worms, earthworms, earthworms, etc.

These worms are a great source of minerals, vitamins, and fatty acids to provide a balanced diet and keep them healthy and strong.

Besides, you can also feed various natural foods, such as snails, water beetles, water bugs, aquatic larvae, spiders, oaches, maggots, and even mosquitoes.

Feeding these bugs to your small ducks can help them improve digestion and prevent digestive issues.

Bonus Tips When Serving Feed To Ducklings

You have already figured out what to serve ducklings to ensure optimal growth.

Here are a few bonus tips to help you take care of your feathered friends properly.   

01. Add Brewer’s Yeast To Regular Feed

Are you struggling to find niacin supplements from your nearby stores?

If so, you can add brewer’s yeast to their regular feed. Every 15 grams of brewer’s yeast contains 5 mg of niacin.

Generally, brewer’s yeast has B-complex vitamins that will help to break down various carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

Fresh Eggs Daily Brewer’s Yeast with Garlic Powder and Niacin for Ducks Ducklings Feed Supplement Vitamins for Backyard Chickens 1LB
  • SOURCE OF NIACIN: Provides an all-natural source of niacin (vitamin B3) for ducks and chickens
  • RESPIRATORY AND IMMUNE SUPPORT: Supports the respiratory and immune systems of chickens and ducks
  • BONE GROWTH: Essential for proper development and bone growth in ducklings
  • REDUCES ODORS: Reecues the odor of manure
  • MADE IN THE USA: Ingredients sourced and packaged in the United States

Last update on 2024-07-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

02. Watch Out for Their Protein Level

Do you serve many protein-rich foods along with chick starter feed? Be cautious about how much protein you serve daily to your small ducks.

Initially, it should not be more than 22%. But after 2 or 3 weeks, their protein level should not be more than 17% to 18%.

Consuming too much protein can lead to angel wing issues. It also affects their liver and kidney.

03. Feed Ducklings Enough Water

An adult duck drinks around half a gallon of water daily. Hence, a duckling will consume at least 1/4 gallon of water per day.

They need to drink a lot of water to keep their nostrils and eyes clean. It also helps them maintain their plumage in a decent condition.

Drinking additional water during the summer days is more necessary to prevent dehydration.

Avoid serving water in nipple waterers. Instead, you can use small bowls to let them drink faster whenever they are thirsty.

04. Give More Attention To New Ducklings

Ducklings need to be fed after passing 24 hours of hatching. If they show unwillingness to eat the starter feed, you can add a small amount of water.

The food will become softer and easy to swallow. Ducklings love sugar or sweet substances. If your baby ducks are still not eating the food, you can add a small amount of sugar.

This will make the food palatable. You can continue adding sugars for the first 7 to 10 days until they are used to the feed.

05. Take Care Of Weaker Ducklings 

 Have you noticed some ducklings are too weak? They may not have the energy to eat feed from a container.

So, what to feed them? You can feed them a small amount of mashed duck egg yolk. It contains a higher amount of nutrition. They will become stronger and get more energy.

Alternatively, you can feed hard-boiled or scrambled mashed eggs. It is especially necessary if any emergency conditions arise.

06. Give Ducklings Constant Access To Feed

A duckling eats 5-6 times per day but at a small amount per meal. Baby ducks generally eat more frequently than adult ducks. They usually eat 40% in the morning and 60% in the evening. 

Make sure to keep the feed container easily accessible to their nearby location. It enables them to eat the food whenever they feel hungry.

However, if your ducklings eat too much at a time, give them a limited amount of feed each time. But cautious about serving them the food several times daily.

Final Verdict

The physical structure of chickens and ducks is not the same. Ducklings eat more feed and water daily than baby chicks as they need more energy to survive.

Buy special starter feed that is made for ducklings. If you have no option but feeding chick starter feed, it must contain all the essential nutrition to fulfill their nutritional requirements.

Hopefully, you got a clear overview regarding the question “Do ducklings eat chick starter feed?” If you still have any queries, feel free to share them in the comment box!

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