What Ducks Can Eat: A Comprehensive Guide to Feeding Ducks

What Ducks Can Eat: A Comprehensive Guide to Feeding Ducks

In a world full of fluffy and feathered friends, ducks have always held a special place in our hearts. Whether it’s their adorable waddle, their quacking conversations, or their graceful presence in a pond, ducks never fail to captivate our attention. But have you ever wondered what they eat? Are you curious to know if they have any dietary restrictions? Well, you’re in luck! In today’s blog post, we’ll explore 62 things that ducks can eat and 13 things they should probably avoid. So grab your quackers and let’s dive in!

Why it’s important to know what ducks can eat

Before we get into the list of foods, let’s take a moment to understand why it’s important to know what ducks can eat. Just like humans, ducks have specific dietary needs that must be met for them to thrive. Feeding ducks inappropriate foods can lead to various health issues, such as obesity, malnourishment, and even death. By knowing what ducks can eat, we can ensure that these delightful creatures stay healthy and happy.

62 foods that ducks can eat

1. Grains – Ducks love grains like wheat, barley, and oats. You can scatter these in their feeding area or offer them as treats.

2. Vegetables – Ducks enjoy vegetables like peas, leafy greens, and chopped carrots. Remember to cut them into small pieces for easy consumption.

3. Fruits – Ducks have a sweet tooth too! They’ll gobble up fruits like apples, oranges, and berries. Cut them into small, bite-sized pieces.

4. Seeds – Ducks relish seeds like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds. These provide essential fatty acids and nutrients for their feather health.

5. Insects – Ducks are natural bug catchers! They love to gobble up insects like snails, slugs, and even small worms. It’s like a natural pest control system!

6. Fish – Ducks are excellent swimmers and divers. They can catch small fish like minnows and small trout. Just make sure the fish are appropriate for their size and do not contain any harmful parasites.

7. Commercial duck feed – If you want to provide a well-rounded diet for your ducks, consider investing in a quality commercial duck feed. These feeds are specifically formulated to meet their nutritional needs.

8. Cooked rice – Ducks can safely eat cooked rice. However, avoid adding any seasoning or spices as they can be harmful to them.

9. Pasta – Ducks have a taste for pasta too! You can offer them cooked pasta as an occasional treat. Opt for whole grain varieties for added nutritional value.

10. Bread – Bread is a controversial food item when it comes to ducks. While they can eat it, feeding ducks too much bread can lead to malnourishment and other health issues. It’s best to offer bread in small quantities and opt for healthier alternatives instead.

11. Cucumbers – Ducks love the refreshing crunch of cucumbers. Slice them up and treat your feathered friends to a cool snack on a hot day.

12. Corn – Ducks adore corn! You can feed them fresh corn on the cob or boiled corn kernels. It’s a nutritious and tasty treat for them.

13. Cooked beans – Beans like kidney beans, black beans, and pinto beans are safe for ducks to eat. Just make sure they are thoroughly cooked and not seasoned with any harmful spices.

14. Legumes – Ducks can enjoy legumes like lentils and chickpeas too. These provide a good source of protein for them.

15. Fresh herbs – Ducks appreciate the flavors of herbs like parsley, cilantro, and basil. You can sprinkle some on top of their food or offer them as treats.

16. Algae – Ducks are known to feast on algae that naturally grows in ponds and lakes. The algae provide them with essential nutrients.

17. Nuts – Ducks can nibble on unsalted nuts like peanuts, cashews, and almonds. Make sure the nuts are finely chopped or ground for easy consumption.

18. Earthworms – Ducks love to dig around and find earthworms in the soil. These protein-packed treats are like a delicacy for them!

19. Leftover cooked vegetables – If you have any leftover cooked vegetables, feel free to offer them to your ducks. Just ensure that they are not seasoned or contain any harmful additives.

20. Snails – Ducks have a knack for finding and devouring snails. Not only is it a tasty treat for them, but it also helps control snail populations in your garden.

21. Mealworms – Ducks find mealworms incredibly enticing. You can feed them live or dried mealworms as a protein-rich snack.

22. Applesauce – Ducks enjoy the sweet and tangy taste of applesauce. Just make sure it doesn’t contain any added sugar or artificial sweeteners.

23. Rice cakes – Ducks can peck away at rice cakes. Look for plain rice cakes without any added flavors or toppings.

24. Rolled oats – Ducks love rolled oats! You can offer them dry oats or prepare a warm bowl of oatmeal for them on a chilly day.

25. Squash – Ducks can munch on cooked squash like butternut squash or pumpkin. Remove the seeds and offer them the flesh in small, bite-sized pieces.

26. Watermelon – Ducks adore watermelon! Slice it up and watch them enjoy the juicy goodness. Just make sure to remove the seeds first.

27. Pumpkin seeds – Ducks can crack open and enjoy the tasty insides of pumpkin seeds. These seeds are also a good source of zinc and magnesium for them.

28. Berries – Ducks go quackers for berries! They can eat strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Squish them slightly to make it easier for them to eat.

29. Fresh grass – Ducks are partial to fresh grass. Allow them to graze in a safe and pesticide-free area. However, ensure that they have access to grit as well for better digestion.

30. Dandelions – Ducks enjoy munching on dandelion leaves and flowers. These plants are nutrient-rich and provide a refreshing change to their diet.

31. Peanuts – Ducks can munch on unsalted peanuts in small quantities. These nuts are packed with healthy fats and protein for them.

32. Cat food – While it’s not a regular part of their diet, ducks can nibble on cat food as an occasional treat. Just make sure it’s not the primary source of their nutrition.

33. Cheerios – Ducks can snack on plain, unsweetened Cheerios. It’s a fun and crunchy treat for them.

34. Kiwi – Ducks can eat kiwi! Slice it up and serve it to them as a delicious and vitamin C-rich treat.

35. Lettuce – Ducks enjoy the simplicity of lettuce. Offer them small pieces of leafy greens like romaine lettuce or spinach.

36. Grapes – Ducks can eat seedless grapes. Slice them in half or quarters to prevent choking hazards.

37. Cottage cheese – Ducks can nibble on plain cottage cheese. It’s a good source of protein and calcium for them.

38. Peaches – Ducks can feast on peaches. Remove the pit and slice them into small, manageable pieces.

39. Broccoli – Ducks can eat cooked or raw broccoli. Just break it into small florets for them to enjoy.

40. Peppers – Ducks can munch on mild peppers like bell peppers. Remove the seeds and offer them small slices.

41. Blue cheese – Ducks can have a nibble of blue cheese, but it’s best to offer it in moderation. It’s a savory treat for them.

42. Chia seeds – Ducks can eat chia seeds, providing them with omega-3 fatty acids. Soak them in water before offering to make them easier to consume.

43. Edamame – Ducks can enjoy edamame as a protein-packed snack. Steam them and let them cool before serving.

44. Apricots – Ducks can eat apricots, but only the flesh. Remove the pit and offer them small pieces.

45. Beets – Ducks can devour cooked beets. Chop them into small pieces and offer them as a nutrient-dense snack.

46. Radishes – Ducks can munch on radishes. Slice them thinly to make it easier for them to eat.

47. Melon – Ducks love the juiciness of melon. Remove the seeds and offer them small pieces of muskmelon, honeydew, or cantaloupe.

48. Cauliflower – Ducks enjoy cooked or raw cauliflower. Break it into small, bite-sized pieces for them.

49. Sunflower heads – Ducks can peck away at sunflower heads. Not only will they enjoy the seeds, but it’s also a fun natural enrichment activity for them.

50. Unsweetened yogurt – Ducks can have plain, unsweetened yogurt as a source of probiotics. Mix it with their regular food or offer it as a stand-alone snack.

51. Parsnips – Ducks can nibble on cooked parsnips. Chop them into small pieces for easy consumption.

52. Lettuce hearts – Ducks appreciate the tender hearts of lettuce. Offer them the inner, pale leaves as a special treat.

53. Cranberries – Ducks can snack on cranberries. You can serve them fresh or dried.

54. Red worms – Ducks love to forage for red worms in the moist soil. These slimy worms are like a duck delicacy!

55. Hard-boiled eggs – Ducks can eat hard-boiled eggs in moderation. It’s an excellent source of protein for them.

56. Mustard greens – Ducks enjoy the peppery taste of mustard greens. Serve them small pieces to add variety to their diet.

57. Bell peppers – Ducks can munch on bell peppers. Remove the seeds and offer them small slices for a crunchy snack.

58. Cooked fish – Ducks can eat cooked fish like whitefish or salmon. Ensure there are no small bones or fish parts present to prevent choking hazards.

59. Apples – Ducks love the crispy texture of apples. Slice them into small pieces and offer them as a nutritious treat.

60. Potatoes – Ducks can eat cooked potatoes. Just make sure they are plain without any seasonings or additives.

61. Sweet potatoes – Ducks can nibble on cooked sweet potatoes. These provide a good source of vitamins and minerals for them.

62. Hard cheese – Ducks can eat hard cheese in small quantities. It’s a tasty and calcium-rich treat for them.

13 foods that ducks shouldn’t eat

Now that we’ve covered the extensive list of foods that ducks can eat, it’s essential to discuss the foods they should avoid. Feeding ducks the wrong foods can lead to health problems and complications. Here are 13 foods that ducks shouldn’t eat:

1. Avocado – Avocado contains a substance called persin, which is toxic to ducks. Avoid feeding them any part of the avocado.

2. Chocolate – Chocolate contains theobromine, which is poisonous to ducks. Keep all chocolate away from them.

3. Onions – Onions can cause anemia in ducks. Avoid offering them onions or any food seasoned or cooked with onions.

4. Garlic – Garlic, like onions, can cause anemia in ducks. It’s best to keep it away from their diet.

5. Alcohol – Alcohol is toxic to ducks and can lead to severe health issues. Never offer them any alcoholic beverages.

6. Caffeine – Ducks are sensitive to caffeine. Keep them away from coffee, tea, soda, or any caffeinated drinks.

7. Salty foods – Ducks are not adapted to consuming high amounts of salt. Avoid feeding them salty foods like chips, pretzels, or processed snacks.

8. Citrus fruits – Citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and grapefruits can upset a duck’s digestion. It’s best to avoid offering them these fruits.

9. Raw meat – Ducks are not meant to eat raw meat. Stick to cooked proteins like fish or hard-boiled eggs instead.

10. Processed foods – Ducks should stay away from processed and packaged foods. Stick to natural and wholesome options for their diet.

11. Moldy foods – Moldy foods can make ducks sick. Discard any moldy bread or fruits before offering them to your feathered friends.

12. Medications – Ducks should never consume medications intended for humans or other animals. Consult a veterinarian if your duck needs medical attention.

13. Greasy or fatty foods – Ducks have sensitive digestive systems and can’t handle high amounts of greasy or fatty foods. Avoid offering them foods high in oil or fat content.

My 2 cents

Feeding ducks can be a fun and rewarding experience. By knowing what ducks can eat and avoiding foods that are harmful to them, we can ensure their health and well-being. Remember to offer a diverse range of foods and provide a balanced diet for their optimal nutrition. Let’s keep our feathered friends happy, healthy, and quacking!

So the next time you spot a group of ducks enjoying a pond or waddling around a park, you’ll have a better understanding of what they can eat. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll be prepared to treat them to a snack from your picnic basket. Happy feeding!


– “What to Feed Ducks – Best Duck Food.” Disaster Supply Center.
– “What Can Ducks Eat? A Guide to Feeding Ducks.” The Happy Chicken Coop.
– “What to Feed Ducks.” The Spruce Pets.