What Do Indian Runner Ducks Eat: Runner Ducks Feeding Guide

When you take responsibility for keeping Indian runner ducks in your backyard or on your farm, you need to make sure they get enough nutrition to stay healthy.

Unfortunately, several owners make the mistake of assuming that Indian runner ducks can survive on breadcrumbs alone. This is not true. In order to breed and stay healthy, runner ducks require several nutrients. The main nutrients they need are protein, calcium, and phosphorus.

With breeds like the Indian Runner Ducks, their habit of foraging ensures that they are not entirely dependent on their owners for food. However, you must give them the right types of food so that they and their eggs are in the best shape.

If your Indian runner duck is malnourished, you will notice a distinct decrease in activity levels. Of course, there are several nutritional sources that ducks depend on.

Natural foraging

The Indian Runner Duck was raised keeping the foraging nature intact. The duck pose is also helpful in allowing you to get close to bugs and insects that other ducks cannot reach.

If you have an Indian Runner Duck, you should make sure to encourage this foraging nature, as it forms the essence of their being. It helps them find the right food and also provides them with a good amount of exercise.

It’s a good idea to hold back your duck feed on a regular basis regularly so your Indian runner ducks depend on foraging for more food. You can watch them glide through the plants, dabble the soil, and choose their favorite natural treats.

Typically, Indian runner ducks will go after slugs and toads as they form their favorite food in the wild. On the bright side, this is a great way to naturally keep your garden free of pests and insects.

If you have trees with berries and fruits, the Indian Runner ducks will also devour them, reducing the number of flies and bees. So fostering the habit of natural feeding is not only good for your runner duck, but it also works great for keeping your garden or backyard in good shape.

Food dispensers

The biggest challenge with ducks is controlling their feeding and making sure they eat regularly. If you can’t do this practice, you can use a food dispenser.

The most basic type of food dispenser consists of a plastic dome structure that has a roof to keep food dry. It has a small feeder around it where the ducks can eat. The beauty of this dispenser is that it continues to fill the feeder as the ducks finish eating. Therefore, all you need to do is fill the dispenser regularly and have no worries.

Another interesting type of food dispenser is the tread plate feeder. With this type of feeder, a small metal tread plate provides access to food. Every time a duck steps on this feeder, it will open the lid of the container that stores the birds’ food.

In addition to making your life easier, food dispensers serve other purposes. Now, birds have very small digestive tracts. This is why they poop so often. They are also certainly hungry all the time and constantly in need of food. With a food dispenser, you can ensure that your precious pets have access to food at all times.

A common problem faced by most duck owners is finding poop in their food very frequently. Using a food dispenser puts an end to this rather difficult problem. Plus, you won’t have to deal with overturned plates of food. This reduces waste and ensures that food is stored in hygienic conditions.

Automatic Pet Feeders

An automatic pet feeder is only useful when you have smaller flocks of ducks. These feeders are ideal for feeding one or two pets at a time. So if you have 2-4 ducks, this type of feeder might work well for you.

Automatic pet feeders have been designed for people who cannot stay home all day to make sure their pets are being fed on time.

About 10 meals a day can be scheduled for your Indian Runner Duck. You can set the program to dispense an exact amount of bird food at a time. You also have the option of setting different servings each time.

As mentioned above, Indian runner ducks are not really dependent on their owners for their food. They can easily search for their food. However, in the event that you have to keep your runner ducks indoors, for example, if your duck has undergone some surgery or is undergoing treatment, it may not be able to forage, which is why this type of feeder works better.

Food Options For Indian Runner Ducks

If you own an Indian runner duck, the first question to ask yourself is what to feed it. Many pet owners make the mistake of feeding their ducks breadcrumbs. If you are concerned about the nutrition of your ducks, you should make sure that the food is appropriate for their age and the time of year.

Natural Foods

Ducks will generally forage for their food. Their natural diet includes worms, insects, and slugs. They also eat grass and duck weed. When you allow your duck to get natural food, you will see that the plumage is glossy and the bill has a distinctive orange color.

Ducklings And Growers

When you have a flock of ducklings that have just hatched, refrain from feeding them commercially available ‘chick crumbs’. It’s a good idea to provide them with duck ration that is free of preservatives or additives.

You can use this beginner duck ration for about 2 weeks after the eggs have hatched. After this, they should be given duck grower pellets that are not too high in their protein content. Only when the ducks have reached adult size give them 100% grower size pellets.


Wheat is a great source of nutrition for ducks that are approximately 5 weeks old. You should give the ducks a portion of grit along with the wheat.

Like most birds, ducks cannot chew their food. For this reason, they usually consume their food with tiny rocks and granules that help make it more digestible for your runner duck. When your ducks are around 10 weeks old, you can put them on a diet consisting of 50% dry pellets and 50% wheat.

Medicated Feed

Medicated feed is generally given to birds that are prone to disease and parasites, usually turkeys and chickens.

However, with the understanding of the common waterfowl disease, medicated feed has also spread to all breeds of ducks.

The most common diseases in ducks include colibacillosis, salmonellosis, and fowl cholera. Colibacillosis is caused by infection of the digestive tract and air sacs.

Similarly, salmonellosis and fowl cholera are also caused by bacterial infections. These diseases cause great weakness in ducks and can, in many cases, lead to the death of the duck. It is important to manage and control these diseases by providing the ducks with the right type of food.

The use of medicated feed has been quite useful in several cases. However, you must also ensure that you maintain high standards of hygiene and sanitation for 100% disease prevention.

Duck Supplements

Unlike other farm birds, Indian runner ducks have special nutritional requirements. For example, ducks need a diet rich in protein to be healthy. At the same time, the balance of these nutrients must also be maintained: if the duck has an excess of protein in its diet, you will notice that the feathers will start to fold up.

In addition to protein, calcium and phosphorus also form an important part of the diet. The quality of the egg depends entirely on the calcium consumed by the ducks. In case they are laying eggs with very thin shells, it is an indication that they are not getting enough calcium and phosphorus.

Another important nutrient needed for Indian runner ducks is Niacin. This vitamin is essential for the proper development of duck legs. If you notice that your duck is not finding enough strength in its legs or is unable to walk properly, it could be a sign of Niacin deficiency.

To address these deficiencies, you can use supplements that are readily available in the market. These supplements are generally available in tablet form at all pet stores.

When shopping for supplements for your Indian runner duck, be sure to consult your vet. Only when prescribed should you include supplements in their diet, as an overdose of nutrients can have adverse effects; be very careful.


You must ensure that the ducks never feed without water. Many duck owners have the misconception that ducks can drink too much water and actually die. Therefore, they keep water away from the ducks while feeding them.

This practice is never recommended as ducks need more water than they need food. Especially when you are feeding the ducks dry pellets, you need to make sure to provide water next to it.

When ducks eat dry pellets or crumbs and do not have an adequate amount of water, the food begins to swell inside the duck. The risk of choking is also high when ducks are given dry food without water.

Nutritional Concerns For Egg Laying Indin Runner Ducks

When your ducks are breeding and ready to lay eggs, the type of nutrition they need is completely different. The food they eat should be nutritious enough to ensure that the eggs are healthy.

For this, you need to give them something called layers pellet. These have excess calcium and phosphorus. Usually the best time to feed runner duck layer pellets is at the end of the day.

You need to make sure you get special layer pellets designed for ducks; many owners will simply feed their ducks layer pellets intended for chickens. These pellets contain too much calcium and also have additional substances like the colors of the egg yolk.

To make the food healthy for the duck that are laying, you can mix these pellets with an equal portion of wheat.

You should be able to tell when your runner duck is ready to lay eggs, as the abdomen looks much fuller than normal. It is best to start providing layer pellets from the months of February as the eggs are more likely to be laid in the summer months.

The quality of the food that you provide to the ducks must be considered very carefully. Remember, a certain brand of pellets that is more expensive than the others available on the market will contain a higher concentration of vitamins A, D and E.

Avoid buying maintenance pellets

For your Indian runner ducks to breed and for the embryos to be as healthy as possible, the correct diet is essential. If your duck can safely get free-range food, this is a great option when they’re ready to lay eggs.