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Can Ducks Eat Millet? (And Is It Good For Them?)

Ducks can eat millet, it is rich in fiber and other nutrients. Moreover, millet has a low glycemic level and it is easily digestible.

Millet is also a source of protein that is needed by ducks. It has good nutritional value and can help you maintain good health in your bird.

Health Benefits Of Millet For Ducks

Millet is one of the most widely consumed cereal grains among birds. Millet is simply a grass seed, and it can be very useful food for ducks. In fact, millet is, as we already mentioned, a staple food of ducks and other waterfowls in many parts of the world. Millet has a complex composition that makes it peculiarly pleasing to eat. It contains fibers that make it very easy to chew and digest and also give millets their unique savory taste. So eating millet regularly makes their digestive systems work faster thereby helping them absorb more nutrition from the food they eat.

The calcium present in millets is good for both chickens as well as ducks since calcium helps in building strong bones after all chemical reactions related to bones are protein (elements), carbohydrates (non-metric system), and water (H2O).

Millets contain good amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and other nutrients but also good amount of amino acids that are necessary for the functioning of the body and maintaining an efficient digestive system.

The high fiber content present in millet makes it good for digestion and overall body health. It is recommended to feed ducks millet twice a day, either as breakfast or as a post-dinner treat. The seed can also be popped like popcorn and fed as treats to ducks that are not happy with their diet.

Which Millet Is Best For Ducks?

Photo by Manikanth Halyal on Unsplash

There are multiple millets available on the market. Common types of millet include pearl, brown, and red.

Pearl Millet: Pearl millet is a shiny yellow grain with dark black seeds while the grains look like they have a sheen on them. These kernels tend to be hard and crunchy as well. Pearl millet is nutritionally very similar to wheat except for being more toothsome and also giving off a taste that is less sweet compared to other types of wheat. In terms of feed efficiency it is ranked among the highest in comparison with other types of grain. Therefore it is highly recommended that if you can get your hands on this grain then do so because it will cost you extra feedings but more than compensates in nutrient costs. Also, pearl millet does not require any additional processing unlike other grains so it can be fed without any difficulty or waste as well.

Brown Millet: Brown millet, like pearl millet, its grains look shiny and crunchy when eating them. It has a similar taste to that of pearl millet with the exception that it is less sweet. Therefore it is even more recommended because it will not attract ducks as much as other varieties of wheat and it is harder on the teeth which can be a good thing for calm feeders such as mallards, pintails, and wigeons.

Red Millet: Red Millet has a shiny appearance on the outside but has soft grains inside. It is also harder on teeth than pearl millet as well as being rated one of the most durable grains for ducks. This grain has a similar taste to pearl millet but is not as sweet. Similar to pearl millet this is also the least starchy of the grains and feeds well without any additional processing methods needed. It ranks high in feed efficiency, again ranking among the best if you can get your hands on it.

What Should Ducks Eat?

Ducks are omnivorous, o they can enjoy a pretty diverse diet, however, they need to be supplemented with some foods to fulfill their nutritional needs.

The types of food that ducks can eat are:

Vegetables: Beans, carrots, corn, cucumber, lettuce, peas and cabbage. Things you should take into account is that cucumbers and beans should not be given whole; the seeds inside can cause problems for the digestive system of the duck. Also, carrots should only be fed in small amounts so that they don’t get too many calories from their diet. The rest of the food items should not be fed in excess either because then your duck will gain weight and some may have problems digesting all those rich foods. 

Grains/seeds: Barley, oats, wheat bran, or ryegrass seeds (but only if they are milled or cracked). Foods rich in fat/oils: Sunflower seeds, corn, soya beans, and maize.

They can enjoy any kind of vegetable oil in moderation. Foods rich in protein: Any kind of meat like chicken, beef, fish, and dried insects (insects must be soaked in water to make them more digestible). Foods rich in minerals/vitamins: Soya beans (but only if they are milled or cracked), carrots, parsley, and lettuce (they are a good source of Vitamin A).

Ducks also enjoy eating different kinds of rice. Barley rice is perfect for your ducks because it’s an important source of energy for your ducks in winter time when there is less green food available for them.

The ideal diet for your duck should consist of a combination of the items I listed before:

You must not offer duck just one type of food from the list at any one time. This will lead to a deficiency of certain important nutrients.

The main reason why the ducks live very long in the wild is that they eat a lot of variety and not just one type of food.

Ducks must be fed at least three times a day, although if they have free access to water all day long they can be fed only twice.

What You Shouldn’t Feed Ducks

Not exactly everything that is good, or can be eaten by us, is also recommended for ducks.

Many things can be dangerous or deadly to the health of a duck, the list below of foods you shouldn’t feed to ducks is really just a guideline. You should always check with your vet if you have any doubts. But I advise you to avoid feeding them these!

What is the food to stay away from?

– Citrus Fruits: Due to their high acidic levels will cause problems to their digestive system.

– Raw rice: I advise to always give them cooked rice and not raw, it could ferment in their stomach.

– Chocolate: yes, you read it right, chocolate is bad for your ducks because it contains toxic elements (caffeine) for ducks.

– Coffee: I know, it’s a little bit harder to imagine that the duck could eat coffee, but you should avoid giving them any.

– Eggshells: It can be healthy, but that might confuse them and lead to a wrong behavior: eating their eggs after being laid.

– Sugary and/or Salty Foods: ducks have a very low tolerance for salt and sugar.

– Raw Meat/Fish: They can transmit disease and lead ducks to uncharacteristic behaviors like high aggressiveness, always give them cooked!