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Free Range Egg Layer Ducks - feed requirements

 
D Cooper
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I'm looking for advice in regards to feed requirements for full grown egg White Egg Layer ducks. I currently have 41 ducks and feed them about 12 pounds of feed a day. (comes to roughly .30 lbs per bird) also dependent on which one eats the most first. They are free range and have access to my pond which is a roughly 30 yds in diameter. At the current feeding quantity they don't seem to be searching the yard too hard for bugs or additional food. They seem to just wait for feed to come their way. It wasn't much of an issue when I only had 10, but I just acquired the other 31 ducks. They were all born this spring and early in their laying careers. Thanks again for your thoughts.
 
Tracy Kuykendall
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No duck experience per say but with all our free ranging fowl we remove any free choice feeders once they reach adulthood. We hand feed in the evening before the birds come in to roost. It gives a time to look everyone over, they get the full benefit from their feed by going through digestion while the birds are resting and they wake up nourished but hungry which makes them want to get out and find food. Don't know how the Ducks will respond, but it seems to work for our landlubber birds.
 
Guerric Kendall
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Location: zone 6a, NY
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chicken duck forest garden
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Give them food at the end of the day, after they've eaten their fill from ranging. Not all throughout the day or anytime too early. Generally the norm for laying ducks which are free ranging is 0.25 lbs of feed. Not much way to reduce it beyond that, unless you have some very active features on your property that ducks can get more out of than standard grassland. It would be more for meat ducks.
 
D Cooper
Posts: 22
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I have both chickens and ducks. My chickens always have feed available in their coop, but they spend most their day out an about on the property. The ducks have been a different story. I had raised 10 ducks of my own but then purchased 31 more. The 31 have a much different personality than my original 10, (good and bad), but they seem to be chow hounds in comparison to my original birds. I'm not sure how they had been feeding them, but I imagine they gave them a lot of feed. They come running and quacking when i come out in their pen area near the feeders. Thanks for your opinion Guerric. I'll probably give them a bit less feed in the morning just as a snack, and concentrate their food more in the evening. They do get a lot of exercise between my pond and property. Once I cull out some drakes it will help with the feed consumption.
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1261
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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I put out food maybe once a week when it's warm. During the winter I feed every day. I want to promote those who go get their own food, so not feed them at all makes them do that. It's go search or die at my house when it's warm.
 
D Cooper
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Thanks for your opinion Elle. I like them to find more of their own food as well, however, I would think that the egg yield would suffer from such practices. I'm looking to balance the input of feed and their ability to forage with a steady egg production. The net yield / return in egg sales compensates for consumption of feed. Not all properties have sufficient food available for a large flock of birds.
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1261
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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D Cooper wrote:Thanks for your opinion Elle. I like them to find more of their own food as well, however, I would think that the egg yield would suffer from such practices. I'm looking to balance the input of feed and their ability to forage with a steady egg production. The net yield / return in egg sales compensates for consumption of feed. Not all properties have sufficient food available for a large flock of birds.


true enough. I do have 40 acres for them to search through. Though after wheat harvest I have to keep chasing them back to our property from the fields.
 
Robin Kyle
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It is also worth noting that some duck breeds are naturally great foragers and others are just so domesticated they need microwaved TV dinners .
 
D Cooper
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Here is a brief overview video that I just published recently with some of my ducks. I'll try and get a newer video out soon.
 
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