Although it’s common to see google results saying ducks cannot consume milk, around here it is quite the contrary! Learn how to feed ducks raw milk safely in my article below…
This is my experience on my homestead. I am not a vet or duck expert. Just an inquisitive homesteader who has been feeding her ducks raw milk on the farm for a long time!
If you Google “can ducks eat milk?” you’ll be met with a slew of posts stating that ducks CANNOT and SHOULD NOT eat milk because they are in fact lactose intolerant.
Do your own research to see if this method is right for you, I’m just here to share my experience and what works well on my homestead!
Speaking of lactose intolerance…
It’s a fact that people who are lactose intolerant can consume raw dairy without issues. This is because raw milk hasn’t been stripped of Lactase- the enzyme responsible for breaking down lactose into a digestible form.
My theory when I first started giving my ducks our cows raw milk was that; if ducks are indeed lactose intolerant, than raw milk in moderation should be ok for them to consume. And I seem to be correct, because my entire flock has been consuming raw milk and they have no adverse reactions, no sickness, no death, and are happy and healthy.
(for more information on what pasteurization does to milk you can read it here.)
I believe (based on my experience) that ducks are in fact not lactose intolerant if they’re fed raw milk. Just like many humans are not lactose intolerant if they consume raw milk instead of pasteurized milk, because of the lactase in the raw milk that makes it consumable for all!
HOW I FEED MY DUCKS RAW MILK SAFELY
For around 15-20 ducks, I feed about 1.5 gallons of milk fresh from the cow. Sometimes I add water but most of the time I just pour it straight from the milk pail into their feed bowl.
I feed my flock of ducks raw milk 1-2 times a week. This seems to keep them well balanced.
Any more than this and their poop gets super stinky and black. I found that out in my initial tests when I first began feeding them the milk. Although they never seemed sick when that happened, I took that as a sign to feed them milk less frequently.
The ducks go crazy for the milk! They will bathe in it if you give it to them in a big enough bowl and it’s so adorable. (although I don’t recommend that for hygiene purposes LOL)
You may be thinking; WOW that’s a lot of milk! Why give it all to the ducks?
And my answer is this: We have a high producing jersey in milk currently and she gives us to up 9 gallons of milk PER DAY. I have lessened her milk output now to 6 gallons a day and we really enjoy that amount.
We make tons of dairy products with the milk, plus I bake, cook, and use it to make the kiddos daily snacks (like my easy to make yogurt). So giving milk to the ducks is just another great way to keep all of my animals and pets happy and healthy!
NOTICEABLE THINGS FROM DUCKS FED RAW MILK
Some things I’ve noticed about my ducks who are on a regular raw milk fed diet is;
- Harder egg shells with a beautiful colouring
- Zero sickness
- Regular frequent egg laying
- They aren’t food crazy during the day
- Healthy feet, bills, and coat
MY NEXT EXPERIMENT
My next experiment for the ducks is to soak their feed for 12 hours with raw milk.
Doing this will decrease the lactose even more, so I may be able to increase their intake significantly! I think it’s going to work very well, especially with the homemade water soaked feed we currently give them. (when I don’t forget to soak it. Let’s be honest, we all forget to soak the feed sometimes am I right?!)
In closing, I want to say again that this is my experience based on my experiments and trials on my own animals. It works for us and I believe it can work for any duck owner, but you know your flock best!
Other posts you might like;
HOW TO FEED DUCKS RAW MILK SAFELY