What Do Ducks Eat in Winters?

Winter is just around the corner. We would soon be switching from minty mojito, pina Coladas, vodka cocktails, fun fruity spins, and peach Margaritas to hot chocolate, cinnamon tea, and coffee to keep ourselves warm. Just as our drink preferences change, we begin demanding food that can keep us warm as well. 

Humans and animals survive winters better when it comes to birds even the hardiest birds parakeets and cockatiels can freeze to death. Fortunately, we humans have found a million other ways to deal with the cold but these poor birds like ducks have only got a few. 

To sprinkle salt to the wounds, everything gets covered with the snow. The ducks can not roam around and search for something to eat.

They need food indoors to keep themselves busy and warm until the snow melts. The aviculturists have no option but to switch food when winter arrives as the typical duck food is inaccessible. 

Fall is going to end in a month and we all would land into winter.

It must have started bothering the aviculturists that what they would be feeding their ducks for a good three-four months? If you are one of them, allow us to enlighten and serve you with the options. 

What Do Domestic Ducks Eat in Winter?

The domestic ducks hardly get to eat the typical duck feed that is slugs, baby fish, fish eggs, earthworms, snails, crustaceans, roots and green parts of aquatic plants, amphibians like a salamander, tadpoles, frogs, and insects, seeds, grains, and berries, bananas, etc.

The reason is not that what aviculturists feed domestic ducks is more nutritional.

It is so because these aquatic plants, slugs, and baby fish, etc are not available. 

The domestic ducks eat a variety of food whether it’s winter, summer, or spring.

These feathery fellas get to eat commercially prepared age-appropriate food as a meal.

They also eat some fruits and vegetables as a treat. Learn about feeding raisins to ducks.

The fruits and vegetables that are safe for ducks happen to be Celery, zucchini, leafy greens, peas, corn, vegetable peels, and non-citrus fruits. 

The domestic ducks are already not consuming the typical duck feed, they continue to eat more or less the same food even in winters.

So, when the snow covers everything they keep eating commercially prepared age-appropriate food as a meal.

However, the aviculturists start feeding corn and greens like chard, cabbage, and kale as a treat. 

So, to keep these domestic birds warm and full you can feed commercially prepared age-appropriate feed and some fruits and vegetables treat like chard, cabbage, and kale as well.

If you have a habit of spoiling these feathery birds, you can consider feeding cracked corn, oats, cooked or uncooked rice, wheat, barley, milo, and bird seeds. 

What Do Wild Ducks Eat in Winter? 

The case of wild birds and domestic ducks is breathtakingly different. What wild birds get to eat in summer is not available in winter.

In summer, spring, and fall the wild ducks survive on grains, grasses, aquatic plants, and invertebrates.

The grains, grasses, aquatic plants, and invertebrates are widely available to wild animals. All these food options supplies every nutrient wild ducks need to survive. 

Winter is a difficult time of the year for wild animals. They have no options but to eat whatever is available.

Insects and grasses are hard to find however, finding leftover kale, cabbage, and lettuce is not. So, in winters the ducks survive on leftovers. 

The wild ducks can eat everything domestic ducks get to eat. If you frequently come across a flock of wild ducks you can take cracked corn, oats, cooked or uncooked rice, milo, birdseed, wheat, barley, or similar grains to feed these wild little fellas. 

ducks-winter-food

What “should” Domestic Ducks be Fed in Winter? 

The domestic ducks are not that hardy. They must be offered something that can keep the birds warm.

The feed and the treat usually domestic ducks eat in winters are solely fed to fulfill the daily nutritional requirements.

If keeping the birds warm is the aviculturist’s concern, prefer feeding high-energy treats. Peanuts, warm oatmeal, and cracked corn are the few fine high-energy treat options. 

Helpful Tips to Keep the Duck Warm and Healthy in Winters

Since winter is about to kick in, the aspiring aviculturists have to be careful with the duck food and the shelter. Providing a nice warm shelter is just as important as serving the right food.

  • The first thing you need to know is that ducks can not survive when the temperature falls below 20 degrees F. So, the aviculturist must have to maintain the temperature of the duck house.
  • Ducks suffer from frostbite a lot. Frostbite is an injury in which the skin and the underlying tissues freezes. To prevent this disease you have to provide the right food and nice warm shelter.
  • Make sure the bedtime meal or snack contains a good amount of calories and fats.
  • Allow your duck put on a little weight so they can survive the winter well.
  • Even if it’s freezing outside, make sure the duck house is well-ventilated. It should be so because the ducks breath-out a lot of moisture and it contributes to frostbite. Moreover, the vents should also be kept up high.
  • Bring more straws and add a thick layer of straw to the floor for better insulation.
  • Make sure the duck house provides a minimum of two square feet per duck. Bringing more ducks and depriving the ducks off the minimum space requirements won’t do any good. 
  • Keep changing water frequently or bring a heated waterer for your beloved ducks. Empty the waterer in the night so the duck does not fall sick drinking the ice-cold water or spill the water making the bedding wet. 
  • Lay down fresh straw all around the house so the ducks get to walk on straws not ice. 
  • Snow may not be an issue for most ducks but the chilly wind is. Consider adding a trap sheet, or plywood wind barrier.
  • Bring a deep tub of water to let your ducks have a good swim. Do not allow them to swim in the pool or pounds as the water would be freezing cold. 
  • Through a cabbage head to prevent boredom. 
  • Do not allow them to have prolonged contact with frozen ground. 

Summary

Winter is a difficult time of year for humans, animals, and especially domestic birds like ducks. The aviculturists struggle with providing the right food and a nice warm environment to their beloved pets.

The domestic and wild ducks eat slugs, baby fish, fish eggs, earthworms, snails, crustaceans, roots and green parts of aquatic plants, amphibians like a salamander, tadpoles, frogs, and insects, seeds, grains, and berries, etc to live a balanced life.

However, it is hard to find these in winters. The ducks eat commercially prepared age-appropriate food as a meal whereas zucchini, leafy greens, peas, corn, vegetable peels, non-citrus fruits cracked corn, oats, cooked or uncooked rice, wheat, barley, milo, and bird seeds as a treat.

The wild ducks are not that lucky. They do not find the typical duck feed; grains, grasses, aquatic plants, and invertebrates in winter. These poor wild fellas have to survive on the leftover kale, cabbage, and lettuce, etc. 

  • Hi, I am Talon Juper, a passionate farmer, and Livestock Expert. I have done my graduation in Agriculture and Animal breeding. Relevant to Farm Desire as a research writer and data recorder.

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