Wild or farmed ducks are often able to subsist on what nature provides, but a quality maintenance feed stops them from falling between the quacks, health-wise.Whether they’re a welcome wild visitor or a fine flock kept for eggs and breeding, ducks are a pleasant addition to any backyard, lifestyle block or farm. In coastal suburban neighbourhoods or areas close to rivers and ponds, ducks may be daily visitors, drawn to gardens by water features or by the promise of food scraps.
Why do people keep ducks?
For those living more rurally, ducks are often kept for their eggs, which have a high value at farmer’s markets. Bakers swear by duck eggs for lighter, fluffier baking and richer flavour. This is because of the higher protein and higher fat content of duck eggs which have a larger yolk to white ratio than chicken eggs. That secret ingredient for baking the perfect golden sponge? It’s almost certainly duck eggs.
The appeal of keeping ducks goes beyond baking, however. Poultry shows provide a chance for rare and decorative duck breeds to strut their stuff alongside turkeys, chooks and geese. And of course, ducks can be farmed for their meat, such as the well-known Pekin duck.
What should backyard ducks eat?
No matter the reason for your quacky co-habitants, it’s important to keep an eye on what they are eating. Most people know by now that – despite all the picture books and postcards – feeding ducks bread is akin to feeding kids fast food. It’s really bad for them in large quantities.
A duck’s natural diet is generally made up of 90% greens and 10% animal matter. However at certain times of the year, they may have trouble finding what they need as food sources go into hibernation.
To ensure ducks are getting all the good stuff – and to keep them from flying the coop into your lettuce patch – it helps to provide a daily helping of nutritious, duck-specific feed, such as Lucky Duck.
Can I keep a duck in the garden?
In many cases, yes. But it is important to first check any restrictions around keeping birds on private property. Most councils publish guidelines around keeping poultry, including ducks, chickens and geese and you'll find these on your local council's website.
Gardeners who are able to host a duck or two will find that ducks – like chooks – can be very useful as they forage for slugs, snails and flies. However, greens, seeds and insects are also on the menu so they may damage and gobble up your vege garden. It will pay to fence off any precious foliage.
Remember that ducks need access to fresh water at all times. Similar to feeding chickens, duck feed should be offered in a flat, open dish, allowing the ducks to help themselves. Ducks will leave anything they don’t need, so keep an eye on how much they are taking and reduce or increase the feed as needed. In the warmer months ducks need less feed as there is more natural food around.
Why feed a duck-specific formulation?It’s now clear that ducks eat a diverse and specific diet. It’s also important that we allow backyard ducks to forage for their food as per their natural feeding behaviour. Offering Lucky Duck to backyard ducks allows them to do just that. It is also packed full of the right nutrients – oat, barley, kibbled maize, sorghum and some mixed vege protein – basically like a healthy muesli for our waddling buddies. It keeps their tails wagging and their feet paddling with essential vitamins, fibre and protein.
For your fine feathered friends, a good supplementary feed really is all it’s quacked up to be.
Around the globe hot weather is more common than ever. Since 1884 the top ten warmest years on record have all occurr...