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Can Ducks Eat Oats? What You Need to Know!

ducks swimming_Elsemargriet_Pixabay

Right of the bat, yes, ducks can eat oats, and it’s a healthy feed option for the birds. Oats are great for nutrition, and the ducks can easily digest them. So, the next time you are about to visit the lake, make sure to carry some oats with you. Only if it is allowed to feed the ducks at the lake.

However, there are some ‘ifs and buts’ involved here. The rest of the article will be dedicated to exploring all the intricacies of feeding oats to ducks. We will talk about the health benefits of oats for ducks, how to feed them, and what are some other things to care for.


Are Oats Healthy for Ducks?

Oat fields ready for harvest
Image Credit: jorono, Pixabay

It is natural to have reservations about feeding oats to the ducks, mainly because oats are processed food. In other words, oats are not a part of the duck’s natural diet or something they can easily find in the wild.

Hence, breeding houses and animal farm representatives might find it a bit difficult to get their heads around the fact that ducks can indeed eat oats. To remove all suspicion, here are some of the most notable health benefits of oats for ducks.

  • Oats have antioxidants: Due to the presence of antioxidants, by eating oats, ducks can build immunity against several heart diseases and cancer.
  • Manganese: With manganese, ducks can get help with stabilizing free radicals. Naturally, manganese has the ability to provide antioxidants. In addition to this, manganese is also good for supporting better bone health.
  • Fiber: Oats are rich in fibrous content. These beneficial fibers are great in helping the ducks improve their digestive systems. Better digestion leads to a healthier and smoothly functioning body.
  • Phosphorus and magnesium: Both these nutrients support better bone health, muscle function, and improve the immune system.
  • Calories: Well, the health-conscious ducks might not like it, but oats are high in carbohydrates and calories. You should not listen to the naysayers and feed your ducks oats as the calcium in it will provide them with enough energy and make them more active.
  • Protein: Another essential nutrient, oats, are rich in proteins. So, by feeding your ducks oats, you are delivering proteins to their body, which leads to stronger muscles and supports the better health of the duck feathers.
  • Iron: The presence of iron in oats aids with the formation of RBCs (Red Blood Cells) and increases the amount of hemoglobin.
  • Zinc: The presence of zinc in oats helps improve the markers of enzymes, proteins, and hormones. All these aspects lead to an improvement of the immune system.
  • Vitamins: Who doesn’t need vitamins? Well, ducks need them too. More specifically, oats have vitamin B1 and B5. where vitamin B1 helps with maintaining the nervous system and brain functions; B5 is good for producing RBCs and energy conversion.

So, there you have it. Oats have multiple health benefits pertaining to the ducks. Now that you know oats are good for ducks, another question might be making rounds in your mind.

Can I give any type of oats to the ducks? Well, it is a relevant question and one that we will be answering now. First, let’s find out the type of oats and then know whether you can give them to the ducks indifferently.

Types of Oats that Ducks Can Eat

oats instant_ dessuil_Pixabay
Image Credit: dessuil, Pixabay

There are four major variations of oats available:

  • Quick cook
  • Steel-cut
  • Rolled
  • Instant

In another story, pancakes (aka flapjacks) are also good to go when it comes to feeding oats to ducks. However, flapjacks have high sugar content. So, you might not want to get too excited about giving them to ducks.

As long as their quantity is reasonable, you can feed them. As for the other types of oats, it depends on where you are feeding them. For instance, if you are feeding them on the ground, the instant oats are better.

But if you are feeding them in the water, prefer rolled oats as they won’t sink as quickly as the instant oats will do. So, if you don’t want the ducks to make a swim for their oats to the bottom of the pond, go with the rolled ones.

Lastly, there is no substantial difference between cooked and dry oats. Yes, cooked oats are slightly better as cooking releases some nutrients which are not available in dry oats. Other than this, if you are not able to cook them before feeding, it won’t make a big difference. Go for it!

Can All Species of Ducks Eat Oats?

ducks eating
Image Credit: Denise E, Shutterstock

While we are on the topic, let’s not miss the opportunity to know more about the main topic, can ducks eat oats? After knowing the universality of all types of oats, it would be better to know that “Can all the duck species eat oats?”

 All types of ducks can eat oats, period. However, some species of ducks have some reservations about eating oats. These are;

  • Muscovy ducks: Muscovy ducks are native to Central and South America. Although these ducks are omnivores, they prefer eating fish, reptiles, and other types of insects. You can feed them oats, but do so occasionally. Refrain from giving these ducks oats to eat regularly, as they will start to ignore them after some time.
  • Magpie ducks: These ducks are primarily foragers. Hence, they like to gather their own food, consisting of insects, fish, grass, and seeds. With Magpies, too, do not feed them oats regularly. They will like to eat oats occasionally rather than daily.
  • Cayuga ducks: This species of duck are reared in America, mostly for their meat. They like to forage their food and would occasionally like to eat oats.

So, it is evident that all species of ducks can comfortably eat oats, with only a few of them having some reservations. Just so you know, mallards love to eat oats. So, if you are rearing mallards on your farm, do not refrain from feeding them oats.

Other Types of Foods for Ducks

ducks eating_ChaniDAP_Shutterstock
Image Credit: ChaniDAP, Shutterstock

You might be wondering what other types of foods can ducks eat without any reservations. Well, apart from oats, ducks are always in for a snack as long as you give them sweetcorn, lettuce, peas, seeds, and rice.

For fruits, you can include berries, melon, and stone fruit. Ducks can also eat vegetable scraps, especially if it includes carrots, cucumber, and radish.

It seems that ducks enjoy all types of foods. We know that they can eat grains, seeds, rice, fish, insects, worms, and whatnot. In all this, if you are thinking that we have missed bread, then you are right.

Bread is not a good food to give to your ducks. Not because it has some dreading health effects. But bread is not very nutritious. Plus, giving them bread will also attract other types of birds. In the end, you will find an increased number of droppings in the area where you feed the ducks.

Tips for Feeding Ducks

ducks on grass_ Joachim Süß_Pixabay
Image credit: Joachim Süß, Pixabay

Feeding ducks with oats or any other type of food should not be done without taking care of a few things. These include;

  • Do not feed them oats unnecessarily. If you see leftover oats lying around on the floor or water surface, it means that the ducks don’t want to eat them. Change their diet to something else and then come back to feeding oats after some time.
  • If you are visiting the pond regularly, do not feed them every day. Do it occasionally. As just like you, many other visitors will also bring something to eat for the ducks. So, they might not be able to eat everything. Leftover food will rot and invite unwanted pests and insects.
  • Instead of teeth, ducks have bills. Not going into the details of the difference between the two, note that whatever food you give to the ducks, make sure that it has a small size. Bite-sized pieces of food are easy for the ducks to consume and digest.
  • Do not give them oats that are highly processed and coated with other types of ingredients like sugars. They will always prefer raw oats over processed ones.

Does this answer all your direct and indirect questions related to ducks eating oats?

We are, however, left with one more question, and it is about which type of oats do ducks like to eat the most.

Steel-cut, Rolled, or Quick?

Rolled oats on the table
Image Credit: martin_hetto, Pixabay

 Well, ducks will always prefer the steel-cut oats because of their unprocessed composition. Rolled and quick oats are processed to an extent that it makes it easier to make them into porridge.

However, ducks can eat porridge too and any type of oats. But, if you want them to choose between the three of them, they will go with the steel-cut oats.



There, you have your answer. Ducks can eat oats, and they can eat all types of oats. Not only this, all kinds of ducks can eat all types of oats. As cute and adorable as the feathered pets are, they can also get a bit angry at times.

If you are feeding them by the pond or at a waterfowl, don’t go too close to them, especially if you have food with you. Oats are nutritious and good for the duck’s health. As long as you are feeding them with oats occasionally and in a controlled manner, you are good to go.

Featured Image Credit: Elsemargriet, Pixabay

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