How Much Feed Do Ducklings Need?

Pekin ducklings in the front seat of our truck, ready to come to our house!

Healthy ducklings are going to be fast growers! Giving them the right amount of feed will have a huge impact on how they are able to grow and thrive. How much feed do ducklings need to grow their best?

Ducklings need .5 pounds of feed per week per duckling when they are one week old. Feed consumption will gradually increase to 3.9 pounds of feed per week per duckling by the time the ducklings are 7 weeks old. Ducklings should have continuous access to plentiful feed and water.

Age of ducklingFeed per duckling
(per week)
Feed for 5 ducklings
(per week)
Feed for 5 ducklings
1 week.5 pounds2.5 pounds2.5 pounds
2 weeks1.658.25 pounds10.75 pounds
3 weeks2.5512.75 pounds23.5 pounds
4 weeks2.5512.75 pounds36.25 pounds
5 weeks3.2516.25 pounds52.5 pounds
6 weeks3.6018 pounds70.5 pounds
7 weeks3.9019.5 pounds90 pounds
The feed per week figure come from Metzer Farms Feed and Water Consumption for ducklings.

Keep the feeder full for the ducklings

Your ducklings should be on full feed as long as they are in the brooder. Full feed means that you have all of the fed they want to eat available to them.

A full feeder also means a full waterer! Read How Much Water Do Ducklings Need? for the details.

You don’t need to measure the amount of feed you give them, just keep the feeder full and the ducklings will eat what they want, when they want it.

Clean out the duckling’s feeder every few days

Be sure to occasionally clean out the feeder, especially if it is a trough. The “fines” which are smaller pieces will start to sift out to the bottom of the trough and will eventually build up as a layer in the bottom of the trough.

This layer of fines is not a problem itself. The concern is that layer takes up space that should be full of feed the ducklings like, not the picked over fines they left from earlier.

Monitor feed flow of bulk feeders for your ducklings

As you ducklings grow they’ll starting to empty out the small feeding troughs you started with! Add a bigger, trough type feeders or get a larger capacity feeder, called a bulk feeder.

If you choose to use a bulk feeder for your ducklings when they are getting some size to them, be sure to monitor the feed flow through the feeder.

By this I mean make sure the feed is actually going through the feeder and down to where the ducklings can reach it. In some of feeders we have used, the feed tends to “bridge up” and not flow down into duckling range.

This bridging seems to happen more with feeders that do not have straight sides.

For this reason, I like straight sided bulk feeders for the bigger ducklings. This way I know that if there is feed in the feeder (my job) then the ducklings are able to eat (the feeder’s job).

Easiest Ducks To Raise For Meat gives you the best duck breed to raise for meat and why.

ducks walking around in a flock
This is part of our flock, you can see there are a few breeds out here and some mixes. These ducks are not happy to see me and the camera, but are really excited when I show up with feed!

I like trough feeders better than bulk feeders for ducklings

I like the trough type feeders better than the silo type bulk feeder. There’s no worry that the feed is bridging up inside the feeder and I don’t see it. That doesn’t happen with a trough.

The ducklings can always reach the feed, it’s right there with easy access. And I can always see the feed level, to make sure the ducklings have all they need for the day.

I know trough type feeders seem to be the older style way to feed ducks, but I like them and find they work best for my situation.

Especially since you can easily see if all of your ducks come up to eat when you put feed in the trough.

Bulk feeders can keep you from watching our ducks as closely as you should, which means is one has a problem you’ll take longer to see it than someone who watches the ducks eat daily at the trough.

Limit feeding ducks has advantages

Once your ducklings get to full size, you can limit feed them. This means give them their feed for the day or half day at one time, but they would not have feed available all day. Think of it more like the meals that you eat.

Please note we are talking about full size ducks, so over 8 weeks of age. Don’t limit feed the ducklings! Ducklings need all of the feed want to eat to keep up with the fast growth of their bodies.

Limit feeding ducks keeps them at ideal weight

There are advantages to timed or limit feeding of your ducks, two of the main ones being weight management and keeping the ducks excited to see you.

First off, overweight ducks or any other animal will not perform as well as they would if they were kept at their ideal weight. This is not a looks thing, this is a performance thing.

Being fat on the outside means fat on the inside, which will interfere with reproductive ability, like laying eggs.

Additionally, the weak point of ducks is their legs, especially as pets or backyard buddies. It’s too easy to give your pals snacks, just because they are cute and come over to see you.

But, heavy bodies will be harder on your duck’s legs than if the ducks were kept at an appropriate weight.

Limit feeding ducks keeps them happy to see you

It may sound a bit sneaky, but the other reason to limit feed your ducks is to keep them happy to see you and easy to get into a pen, if needed.

I call this “bucket training”, meaning when the ducks see me with the bucket they are excited and follow me for the feed.

Bucket trained ducks are easy to pen up at night or for the occasions when you need to catch one out of the group.

An additional benefits to bucket training your ducks are that you can teach them to come in to a pen at night for their safety and for egg collection.

Ducks lay eggs first thing in the morning, where ever they are setting it seems! If your ducks are inside, they eggs are inside, as well.

As far as safety goes, anytime we have a predator problem around here, it is due to the ducks spending the night too far out from the barn.

Any ducks that stay in the barn overnight are safe, any that stay out in the field overnight are easy targets.


Metzer Farms, Feed and Water Consumption of ducklings table, I used the figures under feed consumption: weekly pounds

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