Feeding ducklings and goslings

If you’re expecting the pitter patter of tiny, webbed feet soon, here are Farmgate Product Manager Lisa Mancell’s top tips for raising happy, healthy ducklings and goslings.

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Hatching and rearing ducklings and goslings can be a hugely rewarding experience. Whether hatching under a broody hen or in an incubator, nothing beats the first sight of a fluffy new addition to your flock.

To help your hatchlings get the best start, they will need access to a quality, species-specific crumb such as Farmgate’s Duck & Goose Starter Crumb. Like all our feed products, this is formulated by the nutrition experts at ForFarmers and includes everything needed for healthy growth.

Although it may be tempting to feed ducklings and goslings a poultry chick crumb, it’s not a good idea to do this other than in an emergency, due to different nutritional requirements. For example, ducklings and goslings need higher levels of Niacin (a B vitamin) than poultry chicks. It’s also important to note that our waterfowl friends should not be fed ACS – anti-coccidials – which is added to some poultry starter crumb products to prevent coccidiosis, so keep an eye out for that.

If hatched under an adult bird, your youngsters will learn to visit the feeder from their ‘mum’. But if they were hatched in an incubator they may need a little encouragement from you. Try sprinkling a small amount of crumb on the floor of the brooder initially, to encourage them to try it. However this will soon become messy and wasteful, so you’ll need to start using a feeder to keep crumb clean and available.

If possible, look for a feeder that is specifically designed for ducks or geese as these will be better suited to their bill shape and the way they feed by ‘scooping’ rather than pecking.


Don’t forget to always provide fresh drinking water and in the early days to keep this very shallow to prevent very young hatchlings from drowning. General advice is that once the youngsters are well feathered, they can be offered water for dabbling and swimming. Be prepared for things to get a little messy!

Goslings will also need access to fresh grass – not just to meet their nutritional needs but to satisfy their natural instinct to graze.

Moving on

After three weeks it’s time to transition to Duck & Goose Grower Pellets. Like any change in feed, it’s best to do this over several days rather than an abrupt switch. Grower ration is lower in protein and higher in carbohydrate to suit this growth stage and this will see them through to point-of-lay (18 weeks of age).

By this point, your ducks and geese are ready for an adult ration. Try Farmgate Duck & Goose Mix – it is a complete and balanced maintenance diet offering an appealing and palatable mix of goodies including wheat, barley and oats, as well as cut and flaked maize, sunflower, soya, cut peas and soya bean oil.

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