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Can Ducks Eat Bird Seed? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

May 23, 2021

Over the past few years, there has been an increased awareness about how feeding bread and other snacks to ducks is dangerous and unhealthy for them. This has caused many people to use bird seed instead because it is highly yummy and nutritious for ducks!

Although you should not throw bird seed into bodies of water, bird seed is a great snack for ducks. It is nutritious and suitable for their diets, making it the perfect alternative to bread and other unhealthy yet common duck treats.

In this article, we take a look at feeding ducks bird seed and other tips for giving your local birds a quick treat. Let’s get started.duck-divider

Can Ducks Eat Bird Seed?

Yes. Ducks can eat bird seed. Bird seed comes with many minerals, nutrients, and vitamins that are necessary and healthy for duck and duckling health. In fact, bird seed is one of the best snack options for ducks, as opposed to bread, chips, and other unhealthy options. Not only is it healthy for ducks, but it is low maintenance for your commute.

What Do Ducks Eat in The Wild?

In the wild, ducks are omnivores. This means that they eat both plants and living creatures, such as invertebrates. Most commonly, ducks eat aquatic plants, grains, grasses, and invertebrates. This diet provides ducks the nutrients they need to grow and live healthily.

Ducks-eating_egschiller_shutterstock
Credit: egschiller, Shutterstock

What’s So Bad About Bread?

When many people feed ducks and geese at the park, they feed them snacks like bread and popcorn. These snacks are harmful to ducks and the environment. Most notably, these foods have no nutritional value but a lot of carbs. This causes the ducks to gain a lot of weight and hurt their overall health.

At the same time, these sorts of foods expand when they are exposed to water. Whenever the ducks consume the expanded food, it gives the illusion that they are full. This causes them to stop looking for nutritional food, resulting in nutritional deficiencies since the bread is not nutritional to begin with.

“What’s so bad about one piece of bread?” you might ask. Well, one piece of bread isn’t bad, but it quickly adds up. Many people have the same mentality, causing the ducks to eat a whole lot of bread, resulting in nutritional deficiencies and overweightness.

Is Bird Seed Healthy For Ducks?

Because bread and other artificial snacks are not ideal for ducks, you should feed them bird seed instead. Bird seed is very nutritional and mimics a lot of the nutritional benefits found in wild ducks’ natural diet.

For example, most bird seeds come with a variety of corn, seeds, and other healthy grains. This provides multiple sources of vitamins and protein. More so, many mixes also contain dried mealworms and other in vertebrates, adding even more protein to the mix.

Because bird seed comes packed with natural sources of nutrients, vitamins, and protein, it is a great snack treat for ducks. It mimics a lot of their natural diet, causing them to feel full and gain the nutritional benefits of the food.duck-paw-divider

How to Feed Ducks Bird Seed

Just because ducks can eat bird seed does not mean you should be throwing it all about. There are certain techniques that are best for both the ducks and the environment.

Most importantly, only feed ducks bird seed by placing it on the land. Bird seed does not expand or float. Instead, it will sink to the bottom of the water. This makes it more difficult for the ducks to eat in the first place. Plus, the sunken bird seed will pollute the bottom of the body of water and spread to other bodies of water.

By placing the bird seed directly on the ground, the ducks can forage for it, allowing them to actually eat the bird seed. At the same time, it doesn’t pollute your local community’s lakes, ponds, or streams.

birdseed-pixabay
Credit: ivabalk, Pixabay

Other Tips

Here are some other tips to keep in mind whenever you feed ducks bird seed or any other duck-approved snack:
  • Do not continue feeding ducks if they stop becoming interested. Whenever ducks stop eating, that is when you should stop feeding them. Leaving excess food on the ground can lead to rot and invite other pesky animals to the scene, such as rodents.
  • Do not feed ducks when other visitors are already feeding them. When too many people feed ducks, it leads to overweightness and uneaten food, resulting in rot and unwanted guests.
  • Do not feed ducks large pieces of food. Ducks do not chew, which can cause them to choke on food that is too big for their throats.
  • Do not litter. All leftover litter can pose a threat to the ducks, other wildlife, and environment. Dispose of all of your trash properly.
  • Do not let your children or pets bother the ducks. This includes chasing them. Chasing ducks can stress out the animals. Plus, it can result in injury sustained to the duck, pet, child, or you.
  • Do not forget to check out your local ordinances and laws before feeding ducks. Certain communities prohibit feeding ducks and other waterfowl.
duck-divider

Final Thoughts

Next time you go to feed ducks, bring a little bag of bird seed. Bird seed is the perfect snack to feed ducks because it is healthy, nutritious, and easy to carry during the commute. Just remember not to throw the bird seed in the water.

Find out if other foods are safe to feed to animals:


Featured image credit: ASCII85, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.