Baby ducks or ducklings need a continual supply of water and food for the first few weeks after they hatch. However, ducklings do not require any food or water for the initial 72 hours of life since their bodies gain nutrition from the yolk sac that they have absorbed. Ducklings usually start to eat and drink after 48 hours. It is very important to give the duckling water along with food to minimize chances of choking.
Ducklings mostly feed on invertebrates, which include earthworms, small crustaceans, snails and insect larvae. Invertebrates provide concentrated protein to the fast-growing birds. As soon as the ducklings are about two weeks old, their diets start to resemble that of adult ducks. This still mostly consists of invertebrates. The need for invertebrates often takes the young ducks away from larger lakes and into smaller areas richer in invertebrate populations.
Ducklings like to eat bread crumbs. However, take care not to over feed them on the bread. Usually a slice per day is enough for 10 ducklings. Crumble the bread into fine pieces as the ducklings have trouble swallowing the larger pieces.
Most ducklings like chopped lettuce as well duckweed and soaked wheat. Ducklings also enjoy weed patches. Make a weed patch with an empty cat litter tray or any shallow container filled with garden earth and a variety of different weeds. Change the earth and replant with fresh weeds regularly. When serving greens or weeds to ducklings, shred all ingredients since larger pieces can cause digestive blockage.
Commercial Duck Feed
Ducklings can also be fed with good quality commercial duck feed commonly available in the market. Store all duck feed in a clean, dry place in order to prevent mold growth and contamination. It is best to use the feed within three weeks of the manufacturing date to keep fresh as ducklings and ducks are very sensitive to mold toxins. Avoid using grains that show signs of mold, dirty or weed seeds. Try not to use old mineral/vitamin packs since these lose their effectiveness in time especially if they have been exposed to heat or sunlight.