Ducks love bugs! There are holes all over our field that resemble clam holes that the ducks have used their bills to make to dig up insects. They much prefer insects to grain, and during the summer they choose to eat very little grain at all.
The grain diet that the ducks eat is the same diet that we feed our chickens.
There are six main components in their feed: pro-biotics, diatomaceous earth, oyster shell and limestone, whole flax seed, and roughage grains.
Pro-biotics: help battle the environmental threats that they encounter while free ranging. The pro-biotics keep the birds’ immune system strong and their digestive track healthy. The extra layer of protection in their digestive track shields the birds from illnesses they may pick up from the grass, dirt, and insects.
Diatomaceous earth: I feed this to them to kill internal parasites. Under microscopic terms, this earth appears like sharp minute razor blades, which destroys all parasites in the gut, gizzard, or intestine that comes into its contact and could be spread through their feces. It is very good for their general health as all animals carry parasites, including humans. The diatomaceous earth is recommended for human consumption as well. They also bath in the diatomaceous earth to rid their feathers and skin of pests.
Crushed oyster shell and lime stone: to aid in their digestive system. The ducks keep this mineral in their gizzard where it assists in the grinding of their food and aids in strengthening wings and bones, which are the common injuries.
Whole flax seed: added as a preventative measure to heart attacks as fowl are as nervous as bunnies. They can die from heart attacks easily as can be witnessed by the bird laying on its back with one leg sticking up vertically.
Apple cider vinegar: added to their water source to aid their gut, digestive track, and immune system.
Roughage, grains, Vitamins A, B, D, and E are added. Vitamin B in all its forms is vital to the health of all the animals on the farm.
This feed is mixed especially for us by a Mennonite company in Lancaster County, PA. It is prepared 2 days before delivery, so our feed is fresh all of the time. Sadly, most free range farms purchase bag feed, which could have been sitting around in a warehouse for an immeasurable amount of time. This is important because bio-security for the health of your animals and farm should be the primary concern. Bags of feed that sit around are exposed to rodents. Rodent feces is a common carrier of viral and bacterial infections. Even the smallest farm should have their perimeter guarded by rat bait boxes. We have our land perimeter as well as the interior and exterior perimeter of all of our vital buildings baited.
I hope you will try our duck eggs soon.