Table of Contents

This is a question that more than 4978 of our readers have been asking us! Luckily, we have found the most appropriate information for you!

There are actually a few reasons why you should avoid feeding ducks bread. For starters, bread is not very nutritional for ducks. Can you imagine the health implications if you only ate bread as your diet?

We’re on a mission to improve the health of our wild birds across the country. Not only is it not nutritious, bread will attract many other birds and cause overcrowding, which in turn results in an increase in droppings. This can cause further disruption, such as slippery surfaces and possible damage to habitats and waterways. As a nation we’re guilty of throwing away a vast amount of lettuce, especially the bagged variety. Instead of consigning it to the bin, rip it into pieces and treat your local ducks. No, there are many other types of food you can use instead, which will cause less overcrowding and a less stressful environment for ducks and swans.

What human food can ducks eat?

Cooked whole wheat or vegetable pasta, brown rice, millet, quinoa and oats all are good treat options. Whole-grain, sugar-free cereals are also okay in moderation. Sprouted grains including mung beans, alfalfa, broccoli, wheat berry or quinoa are extremely nutritious treats for ducks.

What's safe to feed ducks?

Cracked corn..Wheat, barley, or similar grains..Oats (uncooked; rolled or quick).Rice (plain white or brown, cooked or uncooked, whole or instant).Milo seed..Birdseed (any type or mix).Grapes (cut in half or quartered if very large)

What should you not feed ducks?

Bread, chips, crackers, donuts, cereal, popcorn and similar bread-type products and scraps are never best to feed birds. Feeding ducks bread is bad because the food has little nutritional value and can harm ducklings’ growth, pollute waterways and attract rodents and other pests.

What are ducks favorite food?

Greens, herbs & weeds make great treats for ducks. ….Fruits – there are lots of fruits that your ducks will enjoy like tomatoes, chopped grapes, berries, watermelon, cantaloupe and bananas. ….Vegetables – fresh veggies can be fed to your ducks daily, some favorites include corn, peas, beans, cucumber, cabbage and broccoli.

Is it ok to feed ducks? Absolutely! One of the loveliest thing to do with your little human, and indeed at any age really, is feeding the ducks at the park, as long as it’s the right foods. For some reason, we all believe that feeding ducks stale bread is the best choice, but where did that notion come from? Because in truth, it’s possibly one of the worst things we can feed our feathered friends.

Unfortunately, bread will make ducks (swans, geese – any bird you might find at your local pond or lake) very sick. Horribly, it has been shown that ducklings growth and development rates do suffer when fed bread. According to the RSCPA , if ducklings are fed too much white bread, they can grow up with a deformity called Angel Wing, which means they won’t be able to fly. They are wild animals and should be treated as such otherwise they become reliant on humans to feed them and will lose their natural hunting abilities. When wild animals become reliant on humans they start to become too brazen, too trusting and leave themselves open to attack from natural predators. Rotting bread can pollute the source, cause algae, kill fish, and spread disease. If you still want to feed the ducks, appreciating that it can be an enchanting experience for children, then there are many healthier alternatives to offer instead of bread.

Backyard ducks can eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and meat or fish in addition to their layer feed. A varied diet of healthy treats not only makes life more interesting for them, it makes the ducks healthier and their eggs more nutritious. It also ensures that nothing goes to waste. Our ducks are regularly fed kitchen and garden scraps, both raw and cooked. With a few exceptions, they can eat anything not moldy or spoiled. Wilted, bruised or bug-eaten produce is just fine, as is stale cereal.

As a kid, we regularly got rid of stale bread by taking it down to the pond and feeding the ducks. Unfortunately, it is really bad to feed ducks, geese, swans, and other waterfowl bread. Beyond the harm it causes the birds, it also pollutes the environment. Here’s what to feed ducks instead of bread, and these alternatives are much healthier for both your feathered friends and the planet.

Last Updated: August 4, 2021 If you enjoyed this article, please share! Post navigation

Six things you didn’t know you could feed ducks

We’re on a mission to improve the health of our wild birds across the country. Do you know what you should feed ducks to keep them healthy?

Can you feed ducks bread?

There are actually a few reasons why you should avoid feeding ducks bread. For starters, bread is not very nutritional for ducks. Can you imagine the health implications if you only ate bread as your diet?Not only is it not nutritious, bread will attract many other birds and cause overcrowding, which in turn results in an increase in droppings. This can cause further disruption, such as slippery surfaces and possible damage to habitats and waterways.To find out more, read our article on why is bread bad for ducks?

So what can you feed ducks?

We’ve put together a list of six different foods that you can use as duck feed, instead of bread.

1. Sweetcorn

It turns out that ducks are quite partial to sweetcorn. Tinned, frozen or fresh. Obviously, remove them from the tin first.

2. Lettuce

As a nation we’re guilty of throwing away a vast amount of lettuce, especially the bagged variety. Instead of consigning it to the bin, rip it into pieces and treat your local ducks. Rocket, kale and iceberg are all great choices.

3. Frozen peas

There’s no need to cook them but make sure you defrost them first.

4. Oats

Flapjacks, rolled oats and even instant porridge oats will be a huge hit with ducks.

5. Seeds

Whether you buy bird seed or just seeds from the fruit and nut aisle in the supermarket, the ducks will be very grateful for these nutritious nibbles.

6. Rice

Ducks will appreciate a handful of leftover rice from a takeaway. Just remember to keep the crispy duck all to yourself. You can also use uncooked rice, both are fine.

Is It Bad To Feed Ducks Bread?

Is it ok to feed ducks? Absolutely! One of the loveliest thing to do with your little human, and indeed at any age really, is feeding the ducks at the park, as long as it’s the right foods. For some reason, we all believe that feeding ducks stale bread is the best choice, but where did that notion come from? Because in truth, it’s possibly one of the worst things we can feed our feathered friends.

A Bird In The Hand

Secondly, birds become lazy. We are taught from a young age not to feed wildlife for this reason, but we neglect to transpire this across to ducks. It truly is best not to feed ducks at all. Wild ducks will live longer, healthier lives by relying on natural food sources such as aquatic plants, seeds, grasses and insects.They are wild animals and should be treated as such otherwise they become reliant on humans to feed them and will lose their natural hunting abilities. This leads into the third reason; vulnerability.When wild animals become reliant on humans they start to become too brazen, too trusting and leave themselves open to attack from natural predators.Finally, think of all the other species that also live in the water! Rotting bread can pollute the source, cause algae, kill fish, and spread disease.

Snacks Ducks Love

Backyard ducks can eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and meat or fish in addition to their layer feed. A varied diet of healthy treats not only makes life more interesting for them, it makes the ducks healthier and their eggs more nutritious. It also ensures that nothing goes to waste. Our ducks are regularly fed kitchen and garden scraps, both raw and cooked. With a few exceptions, they can eat anything not moldy or spoiled. Wilted, bruised or bug-eaten produce is just fine, as is stale cereal.

Fruits

Ducks enjoy many different types of fruits, including berries, melon, seed and pit fruits. Grapes, bananas, plums, watermelon, pears and peaches are all fine for ducks.

Vegetables

Some favorite veggie treats include cucumbers, peas, zucchini, broccoli and corn. Also kale, collards, cabbage, chard, lettuce and all kinds of squash are great treats. Root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, beets, turnips, carrots, radishes and parsnips are also super nutritious treats but ducks have a far easier time eating them if they are cooked or grated.

Grains

Whole grains are better than white for your ducks. Cooked whole wheat or vegetable pasta, brown rice, millet, quinoa and oats all are good treat options. Whole-grain, sugar-free cereals are also okay in moderation. Sprouted grains including mung beans, alfalfa, broccoli, wheat berry or quinoa are extremely nutritious treats for ducks.

Protein

Scrambled eggs are one of our ducks’ favorite treats. Other favorite proteins include dried or live mealworms, earthworms, slugs, crickets, minnows, feeder fish, cooked fish or meat leftovers, lobster or shrimp shells.

As a kid, we regularly got rid of stale bread by taking it down to the pond and feeding the ducks. Unfortunately, it is really bad to feed ducks, geese, swans, and other waterfowl bread. Beyond the harm it causes the birds, it also pollutes the environment. Here’s what to feed ducks instead of bread, and these alternatives are much healthier for both your feathered friends and the planet.

I have always loved ducks, from the one I tried to pet when I was a preschooler (it bit me) to the flock I strolled by every day on campus. As a kid, my sister and I thought we were being good citizens of the planet by taking our old bread to the ducks at a nearby pond. In graduate school at the University of New Mexico, I often ate my lunch by the duck pond on campus, sharing a few chunks of bread from my sandwich or a few potato chip crumbs with the braver web-footed creatures who approached me.It turns out, it’s incredibly dangerous to feed ducks, geese, swans, and other waterfowl bread. And, the bread not consumed by ducks pollutes waterways, threatening the other creatures in the ecosystem like fish, turtles, and other wildlife.Wild ducks dine on grasses, earthworms, slugs, aquatic plants, small fish, and similar food sources available in their habitat. Wild ducks also eat grains, but in its raw unprocessed state and certainly not ground into flour and baked into bread.

Can You Feed Ducks Bread?

No, bread is bad for ducks! And you should also not feed ducks crackers, chips, donuts, or popcorn.Just like with humans, these food items offer little nutritional value to birds. Feeding waterfowl these products can lead to malnutrition, disease, and weight gain. It also increases the bird’s dependency on humans and reduces its ability to take care of itself in its natural environment.Bad, bad, bad!Bread has also been linked to a condition called angel wing syndrome that causes a deformity in the bird’s wings, reducing its ability to fly and increasing its vulnerability to attack or other injuries.

So What Can Ducks Eat?

Instead of bread, ducks should eat fruits, vegetables, and grains. It’s also safe to feed ducks specially formulated pellets and to let them forage for their own worms and bugs. Below is a more detailed list of foods that are safe to feed ducks.

What to Feed Ducks Instead of Bread

Here are 10 healthier, more environmentally-friendly foods to feed ducks:

1. Birdseed

Whether it includes millet, sunflower seeds, or another mix, any type of birdseed is safe to feed ducks instead of bread.

2. Duck Feed Pellets

Specially formulated for ducks, duck feed pellets are commonly fed to ducks that are raised for their eggs and meat. These duck feed pellets float for over an hour reducing the waste that sinks into the water.

3. Corn

You can feed ducks fresh or dried corn. Fresh corn can be defrosted frozen corn or freshly cut from a cob. When it comes to dried corn kernels, be sure to coarsely grind dried corn kernels before you feed ducks cracked corn. By breaking the dried corn kernels into smaller pieces, it’s easier for the ducks to eat.

4. Oats and Similar Grains

Whether its steel-cut, rolled, or quick, uncooked oats are a better alternative to bread to feed ducks. You can also feed ducks wheat, barley, and similar grains.

5. Rice

6. Grapes

Be sure to cut grapes in half- or quarter-size pieces so that they are easier for the duck to eat.

7. Berries

Ducks enjoy a wide range of berries including strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries.

8. Melon

From cantaloupe to honey dew to watermelon, ducks, geese, and other waterfowl love melon.

9. Stone Fruit

Fruit with a large seed (or stone) at the center — like cherries, plums, peaches, and apricots are all fine to feed the ducks. However, it’s best to remove the stone first.

10. Other Fruit Safe for Ducks

Ducks also enjoy apples, pears, and bananas. However, you should avoid feeding ducks mangoes and citrus (like lemons, limes, and oranges).

11. Peas

Both defrosted frozen peas and fresh peas are safe to feed ducks and other waterfowl.

12. Vegetable Scraps

Instead of throwing vegetable scraps in the trash or grinding them up in your garbage disposal, save them to feed the ducks. Ducks enjoy carrot and cucumber peelings, radish tops, and lettuce trimmings. Just be sure to chop the vegetable scraps into small pieces before feeding the ducks.

13. Worms

From mealworms to earthworms, you can feed ducks worms. However, ducks should be actively seeking natural food sources and should be able to find worms on their own.

Common Questions About Feeding Ducks

Can You Feed Ducks Bananas?

Yes, like most fruits, bananas are safe to feed ducks.

Can You Feed Ducks Birdseed?

Can Ducks Eat Chicken Feed?

It’s fine to feed ducks chicken feed. But ducks, and especially ducklings, need more niacin in their diets than chicken feed provides. Ensure ducks get the niacin they need by sprinkling nutritional yeast on their chicken feed and offering niacin-rich foods like peas, raw or cooked sweet potatoes, and pumpkin.

Can Ducks Eat Corn?

Yes, it is safe to feed ducks dried cracked corn, fresh corn cut from the cob, and defrosted frozen corn kernels.

Can Ducks Eat Crackers?

No! Like bread, crackers and other processed grains with little nutritional value are bad for ducks.

Can Ducks Eat Cucumbers?

Yes! Ducks, geese, swans, and other waterfowl enjoy a wide variety of vegetables and vegetable scraps. Whether you feed the ducks cucumber peelings or pieces of cucumber, be sure to chop them into small pieces first.

Is it OK to Feed Ducks Peas?

Yes! Like corn, ducks can eat both fresh and frozen defrosted peas.

Do Ducks Eat Lettuce?

Ducks enjoy a wide range of vegetables, including lettuce and other leafy vegetables. But just as you should limit the amount of iceberg lettuce you consume (due to its limited nutritional value), the same is true for ducks. Feed ducks romaine lettuce, red or green leaf lettuce, or chard instead.

Can Ducks Eat Millet?

Millet is a cereal crop similar to barley, rice, and wheat. This starchy grain is grown for human food as well as animal feed. And like other grains, millet is safe to feed ducks.

Can Ducks Eat Peanuts?

Peanuts are safe for ducks to eat, but they should be offered sparingly. And like dried corn, it’s best to roughly chop the peanuts before feeding them to ducks.

Can Ducks Eat Popcorn?

No! While it’s safe to feed ducks fresh, dried, or defrosted corn kernels, it is not safe to feed ducks popcorn.

Can Ducks Eat Potato Chips?

No! Potato chips are on the list of empty calorie no nos like bread and crackers. Do not feed potato chips to ducks.

Can Ducks Eat Potato Skins?

While ducks enjoy eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables, you should avoid feeding ducks potato skins. Potatoes are part of the nightshade family and toxic to ducks. In addition to potato skins, do not feed ducks tomatoes, eggplants, or bell peppers as these plants are also nightshades.

Can Ducks Eat Radishes?

Yes, like cucumber peelings and cucumber pieces, ducks can eat radish tops and diced radishes.

Can You Feed Ducks Rice?

Yes, it is safe to feed ducks rice, either cooked or uncooked.

Can Ducks Eat Rice Cakes?

While rice cakes are made from rice (which is safe to feed ducks), they also include ingredients like sugar, fructose, and other ingredients that are not good for ducks. So stick to rice rather than rice cakes when feeding the ducks.

Can Ducks Eat Steel Cut Oats?

Yes! Similar to millet, rice, and other cereal crops, oats are safe to feed ducks. Sprinkle quick, rolled, or steel-cut oats out for ducks.

Can Ducks Eat Strawberries? What About Strawberry Tops?

You bet! Like a wide range of fruits and vegetables, ducks enjoy both the green tops of strawberries and the fruit.

What Fruits are Safe for Ducks?

From berries to stone fruits to melons, most fruit is safe to feed ducks. Even bananas! Just be sure to remove the stones, seeds, and core before feeding fruit to ducks. And, you should never feed ducks mangoes, lemons, limes, oranges, or other citrus fruits.