When you head to a park or lake that’s filled with ducks, it’s common to see people feeding them. Most often, people are feeding ducks bread. If you’re raising ducks of your own, then you already know that bread is a terrible food for any waterfowl. It provides no nutritional value and can even stunt a duck’s growth and development rate.
So, what exactly can you feed a duck? Ducks can eat a wide variety of foods; bread just isn’t one of them. As omnivores, ducks will happily eat fruits, vegetables, seafood, some animal proteins, grains, and other plants, including common weeds and many flowers.
To give you a good idea of the diverse diet that ducks can digest, we’ve gathered 55 foods that are duck-friendly and ideal for a duck-billed waterfowl to dine on. They’ll be split into categories to help you more easily browse through them, such as fruits, vegetables, proteins, etc.
Does Produce Have to Be Fresh for a Duck?
Humans generally only want to eat fresh, ripe produce. Once fruit or vegetables sit out for a while, they’re no longer as tasty and fresh as we prefer. Likewise, underripe fruits are usually turned down in favor of those that are perfectly mature.
But ducks aren’t nearly as picky as people. You can offer your duck produce that’s not quite fresh anymore. Browned bananas aren’t going to upset your duck. They also won’t pose any health risks, so you can use your ducks to help eliminate your extra food waste!
Foods You Can Safely Feed a Duck
All of the following foods can be safely offered to a duck without the worry of causing health repercussions. These foods all offer ducks vital nutrients that make them healthy, not just tasty!
Fruits are a great food to offer to a duck. They’re loaded with vitamins and minerals that can contribute to good health for any duck. That said, not every fruit is safe to feed a duck.
You’ll want to avoid citrus fruits, including lemons, grapefruits, limes, and oranges. These foods interfere with a duck’s ability to absorb calcium and can lead to eggs with thin shells. Additionally, citrus is hard for ducks to digest, so feeding a duck citrus often results in stomach pain and can even cause acid reflux.
Avocados are another fruit to avoid. No part of the avocado plant or fruit should be offered as they’re toxic for ducks. Fruits with stone pits are also a concern due to their cyanide content. You can still safely feed them though if you take care to remove pits and seeds first.
The following fruits are safe to offer your duck:
Like fruits, vegetables are packed with essential nutrients. Many vegetables are completely safe for ducks to eat, though there are a few that you’ll need to avoid.
Spinach is another food that, like citrus, can block calcium absorption. Iceberg lettuce is also a poor choice, simply because it doesn’t really offer any nutritional value, though other types of lettuce are great foods for ducks.
All members of the nightshade family should be avoided. This means no potatoes, rhubarbs, green tomatoes, or eggplant. For ducks, every part of these plants is toxic, including the stems, leaves, and flesh of the vegetable.
Instead, share this wide range of veggies with your ducks:
Many grains are safe for ducks to eat. While white grains won’t hurt your ducks, whole grains are generally considered to be more nutritious. But you should avoid feeding your ducks any salty grains like crackers. Ducks can actually die from overdosing on salt.
Also, fatty or sugary grains should be omitted from a duck’s diet. These foods can cause weight gain easily, which puts too much strain on a duck’s legs. And bread should never be fed to a duck. It can make them sick and quickly leads to weight gain.
You can opt to share these grains with your duck without worry:
Ducks aren’t very picky eaters, and they will eat a wide range of plants that most people won’t touch. For example, most weeds are edible for ducks. Additionally, all of the culinary herbs we use are safe for ducks. They can also eat many varieties of flowers.
Try any of these plants as a snack for your duck:
While you probably shouldn’t feed your duck a steak, they can safely eat many proteins, including live ones such as worms and small fish. You can even give your ducks table scraps that have meat in them. Many ducks love scrambled eggs as well.
However, you shouldn’t offer your duck any nuts or large seeds. These are too hard for a duck to digest and can even pose a choking hazard since ducks swallow their food whole. This means that proteins should also be cut into manageable portions before giving them to your duck.
Try out any of these protein sources for your duck:
Ducks can handle a very diverse diet. In fact, that’s how to help your ducks thrive! As omnivores, they can eat many different foods ranging from greens and grains to proteins like meat and seafood. Still, you have to be careful not to feed your duck anything that could be toxic. Just because it can eat most foods that you do doesn’t mean that all foods you eat are safe for ducks. Citrus, for instance, is great for humans but can cause acid reflux in ducks and could even lead to thin-shelled eggs. As long as you come back to this list for reference and make sure it’s safe before offering your ducks new food, you should be good to go.
Featured Image Credit by: Pixabay