What Is In Duck Feed? Basic Duck Feeding Rations

Pekin duck walking in grass

Considering mixing up your own feed for your ducks? Good call. If you are willing to source the main ingredients of your feed, you can save money on feed costs.

What do your ducks need in their feed ration?

Duck feed is made from ground corn, soybean meal, calcium carbonate and poultry mineral mix. Ducklings need a 22% followed by a 17.5% feed and mature ducks need a 16% feed.

Feed rations are always proportional, meaning the batch size can be raised or lowered, depending upon what you need.

Feed mixes are always listed per ton, but don’t let that throw you. I’ll walk you through some examples to show you how to adjust down the total amount of feed made per batch.

Is Raising Ducks For Meat Worth It? gives you a cost breakdown of feeding out your ducks.

home ground feed
Here is some of the feed we ground. It’s in a tub for storage.

Things to know about feed before you start

The rations are listed in pounds of ingredients to make a ton (2,000 pounds) of feed. We routinely make smaller batches with the same proportions, usually 500 pounds.

You will need a scale and something to mix in, like a wheelbarrow.

Figure up the ingredient prices for your area first!

Before you go crazy and buy a bunch of stuff, please run through the numbers and figure out what it will cost you to do your own feed.

It could be that by the time you source all of your ingredients, you would be better off buying pre made feed.

We save quite a bit on the cost of feed by mixing our own. Will it be the same for you? Do the math and see.

Make smaller batches of feed

We usually make smaller batches of feed in our feed grinder, normally 500 pounds.

You can make any size batch you want, as long as you keep the ratios the same as the full ton batch.

100 pound batch of duckling starter feed as an example

Let’s say you are making a 100 pound batch of duckling starter feed. This amount would fit in a wheelbarrow or two feed bags.

Look at the chart below. You would need to divide the total of the ingredient needed by 20, since 100 it would take 20 of your 100 pound batches to total a ton.

Using the chart below you will find out that 100 pounds of duck starter will be:

  • 62.1 pounds of corn
  • 34 pounds of soybean meal
  • 0.4 pounds of calcium carbonate
  • 3.5 pounds of mineral mix.

I don’t worry too much about the .1 of corn (from the 62.1) when I get a number like this, I round to the closest whole pound.

Make sure you have the mineral mix accurate, no rounding allowed!

Here’s how you do the math for the corn (all the other ingredients are done the same way):

1242 pounds of corn (from chart below) divided by 20 = 62.1 pounds of corn needed for your 100 pound batch

Ingredients for duck feed

Corn: The corn needs to be ground (for young ducklings) and cracked for bigger ducklings and adults.

Soybean meal: The soybean meal must be ground, not whole soybeans. Whole soybeans are not cooked and not digestible. If you do not want to use soybeans, substitute something else that will give you the same protein percentage for the feed.

Calcium carbonate: Get a bag, it’s cheap and will seemingly last forever!

Mineral mix: The mineral mix should be specifically for poultry.

Mixing tip: Mix the mineral with the soybean meal first, then add this mix to the corn. This will help evenly distribute the mineral mix throughout the feed.

Feeding Ducks is a North Carolina State Extension article giving a nice overview on raising ducks, scroll down for specific ingredients and sample rations.

Duckling Starter for first 2 weeks

Feed IngredientAmount (in pounds)
Percent protein22%
Soybean Meal680
Calcium carbonate8
Mineral mix70
Be sure ducklings have water at all times!

Duckling Grower for 3 weeks+

Feed IngredientAmount (in pounds)
Percent protein17.5%
Soybean Meal450
Calcium carbonate8
Mineral mix60
Reducing the protein will save you some money on the feed costs, but it is not mandatory.

Adult ducks: 1 month prior to breeding and throughout laying

Feed IngredientAmount (in pounds)
Percent protein16%
Soybean Meal400
Calcium carbonate105
Mineral mix70
Notice how the calcium carbonate jumped up in this ration. The extra calcium is vital to egg production.

Resource: white paper of master list of poultry mixes from Mt. Hope Ag Center, Mt. Hope, Ohio

We were given a copy of this list, since we mix all manner of poultry feed here on our farm using ingredients we buy at Mt. Hope Ag Center.

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