Search Metzer Farms

March 13, 2011

Mixing Your Own Duck Feed and Goose Feed

Posted by John Metzer on Wed, Aug 18, 2010 @ 11:12 AM 

Finding the appropriate feed is one of the biggest problems for a hobbyist or small flock owner.  As we purchase 24 tons of feed every 8-10 days, our mill will make the feed any way we want it!  But you probably don't have that luxury.  You have to purchase it in bags and oftentimes there are few choices for you. I will show you how to mix what is available to achieve the ideal feed for you.
As ducks only need a starter feed for about three weeks when they are babies, and they don't consume a lot, it is better to purchase a higher quality feed than a lower quality feed if your local feed store does not have exactly what you want.  We recommend a starter feed contain at least 21% protein.  If your choices are a general poultry feed of 18% and a game bird starter feed of 28%, I would recommend you buy the game bird starter feed.  It is more protein than they need but it will do no harm at that age.
Our recommendation is 17.5% protein from four to nine weeks of age.  At this point the 18% protein feed is fine.  But what do you do after that when we recommend 14.5% and you can only buy the 18% feed or scratch feed at 10%?  Neither meets your needs.

At this point I would go to our website and choose  Care and Management on the home page menu.  Then choose Mix Your Own Feeds.  This program will tell you how much of two feeds to mix to achieve the protein level you want.
Let us assume you can only buy a general purpose poultry feed (Feed A) containing 18% protein and scratch grain (Feed B) that is only 10% protein.  Let us also assume Feed A comes in 60 pound bags and you want to produce a feed with 14.5% protein.
Put "18" in the first field.
Put "60" in the second field.
Put "10" in the third field.
Put "14.5" in the fourth field, click on "Calculate", wait for a new page to pop up and then scroll down the page for the answer.
You will see that by mixing 47 pounds of scratch with 60 pounds of the general purpose poultry feed you will have a feed that averages 14.5% protein.

You will also see the page shows you the protein level of some common grains.  You can use these numbers if you have a local source of these grains - maybe damaged grain from a local mill or you produce these grains yourself.
If you are only balancing for protein, there is no guarantee the final mixed level of calcium or niacin or energy or other nutrient levels is correct.  But as protein level is the best indicator of overall feed quality, you can generally assume that the higher the protein level, the higher the level of other vital nutrients are in the feed.
Next week our blog will be on the goose breeding stock we purchased from Dave and Millie Holderread and how we plan to use them.  See you then!
Enjoy your ducks and geese!


  1. i had our feed company mix some feed for me and evidently had a typo or misread the formula and instead of putting in 1 lb of salt they put in 11 almost 12 lbs of salt for a 500 lb batch. any idea what this is doing to my birds. i just found out, and i have about 100 lbs left.

    1. My first solution would be to refuse the feed and take it back to the feed mill - or have them pick it up. The consequences of excessive salt is refusal by the birds and extra wet droppings since they will have to drink more to rid the bod of the extra salt. The mill can mix this 500 pounds with 5000 pounds of feed with no salt to arrive at the correct mix. But if you only need 500 pounds, I don't know what they would do with the remaining 5000 pounds unless it is a commonly used feed. But I wouldn't feed it to the birds unless an unbiased nutritionist says it is okay.

    2. do you have any experience in mixing dry feeds with grains? i need something to stick it together the vitamins and the grains. i know molasses is a good detoxer but can they eat it on a daily basis and how much per 100lbs do i use (or does the mill need to use)

    3. The feed we purchase is complete and we do not add whole grains to it. Our feed is held together aspellets from the pelleting process - and some grains stick together better than others. I don't see a problem using some molasses but I have no idea how much. I would talk with the nutritionist of mill that supplies your feed store.

  2. What would be the cause of a 3 day old duckling sick and not able to stand? Its legs are stiff when it try to get up. However yesterday the gosling was very healthy.
    BTW they are not on crumble but on millet, crushed oats and fish, grass, plantain, dandelion, clover and occasional boiled egg

    1. I do not know if it is an illness or nutritional. Your mix sounds good but you make its only feed some prepared poultry starter feed for several days to see if that helps.

  3. I have read that mash from beer brewing is a good poultry feed supplement. I got some fresh mash from a local brewery today. My 4 week ducklings really enjoyed the treat, my geese also liked it, but the adult ducks and chickens were not impressed. I am guessing that if the adults were introduced to mash as youngsters, they would be more enthusiastic.

    How much mash can I use as a supplement, at what age, and for which birds. How should I store it to prevent mold growth, dried? Moist and refridgerated?

    1. I really don't know the maximum level of this mash that can be included in your bird's feed. You would need to communicate with a professional animal nutritionist. Yes, as it is moist, it is very susceptible to molds - and waterfowl are very susceptible to the toxins produced by molds. So they need to clean it up daily. If you want to store it, I would refrigerate it. I am guessing it would take a lot of energy to dry it - more than it is worth. All ducks will learn to eat mash - just give them time.

  4. Would these protein % suggestions be good for geese as well?

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