Keeping Ducks & Geese

Tuesday, 7 July 2015  |  Catalina Tate

Ducks and geese can be fed on layers pellets, but these are designed for chickens, whose nutritional requirements are slightly different.  Waterfowl pellets are very similar to layers pellets in appearance and are fed dry, either on the ground or in a feed trough. Floating pellets are also available now and are ideal for diving ducks or those that spend most of their day on the water.  They are also a useful option if there is a rodent problem as it eliminates feed lying around on the ground.  Floating feeds can be thrown into the centre of a floating hoop to help it in one place.

Ducklings and goslings (young geese) can be fed on chick crumb or on a specialist duckling feed until they are about eight weeks of age.  Medicated chick crumb (usually labelled with ACS) must be avoided for ducklings and goslings. 

Waterfowl generally require feeders and drinkers with wider spaces than those designed for chickens (to fit their large bills).  Trough style feeders are ideal, as are bucket drinkers.  Standard poultry drinkers are also usually suitable in the larger sizes as long as the rim is wide enough for them.    

All waterfowl should have access to water for washing in, even if the vessel is not large enough for them to swim in they need to fully submerge their heads and necks.  If you don't have the space or desire for a permanent pond you can utilise shallow plastic trugs (which have a multitude of other uses!).  Ducklings can learn to swim and splash about in a paint roller tray - the slope is ideal for helping them to get in and out of the water.