Ducks are not choosy eaters. They do not know what is good for their health and what poison is so, be cautious when feeding them especially treats. So, can ducks eat bread?
It has become a habit for us to feed most of our leftovers and table scraps to ducks. However not everything is good food especially when fed in large amounts.
What do ducks eat? This might be the question in your head. But first, let’s talk more about ducks and bread and whether this is the right snack for these webbed birds to eat.
Can ducks eat bread?
Yes! When tossed to them, these birds will it up. However, bread is not the best snack to feed to ducks. It is low in nutrients and has nothing good to add in their bodies.
In most cases, people will rush to feed bad bread that has overstayed on the shelf. This is not good because it may be moldy and lead to health issues or death.
How much bread can ducks eat?
Spanish ducks do not need much bread. This treat is very low in nutrients but high in carbohydrates which can make these birds obese and overweight.
When they gain too much weight, they become susceptible to joint and back problems. In addition to that, they cannot fly or run to flee from predators.
If ducks have to eat bread, the moderation is key. It should be fed sparingly and in very small amounts. This should be done especially in winter when there are very few plants to forage on.
Do not do away with their main diet of duck pellets and crumbles just because bread is in abundance. Bread is a treat just like pineapple and strawberries that are only meant to add extra nutrients in their bodies.
What happens if you feed duck bread?
Choices have consequences. There is an obvious outcome if you decide to make bread a staple for your pet ducks.
Bread is a carbohydrate rich diet and it is very low in other nutrients that ducks need for healthy growth and development.
Bread will not offer all the nutrients duck get in their large menu. It can lead to obesity and overweight which is not healthy at all.
When ducks become obese, they are prone to predation, cannot fly, have joint issues and risk contracting heart and liver problems.
When ducks gets used to hand outs and free meals, they will overcrowd in one area. The nearby habitat like swamps and lakes will become a home for too many birds.
Competition for nesting areas, bullying and habitat loss and destruction will become common. They will attract predators like hawks in one area.
When they eat too much carbohydrate, they will defecate more often and in large amounts. This will promote algae growth which will in turn destroy water ways and fish habitat.
Too much duck poop will lead to slippery surfaces which have a noxious odor. This becomes unconducive not only for ducks but humans too.
3 Human wildlife conflict
Ducks will lose their natural behavior like fear of human beings if they get used to each other when eating bread.
They will do daring things like crossing busy roads and flying into apartments going to beg for food. These birds will even start to salvage for bread in dumpsites which can lead to health issues.
Ducks will go a mile further and confront humans trying to get food by force. This will make them reliant on free foods thus, cannot look for their own meals.
Where ducks are crowded, contagious diseases will spread easily. Bad and moldy bread will cause aflatoxin poisoning which can be a recipe for cancer.
Moldy bread that remains on the surface uneaten can cause Aspergillosis. This is a bacterial infection of the lungs which can be very deadly.
5 Pest Attraction
Where too much bread is tossed for ducks to eat, there is a possibility that there will be leftover of it on the ground.
This will attract pests like rodents, wild birds and insects that rely on scraps. Pests can bring with them diseases to your ducks and to you too.
6 Delayed migration
Free foods have been one of the main causes that has made ducks delay or refuse to migrate at all. This becomes a challenge for them especially during winter.
Ducks become reluctant to leave a dependable food source and later die of dehydration and starvation in winter when there are no people to feed them.
What to feed ducks instead of bread?
There are a host of good foods that ducks can eat apart from bread. This includes, shrimp, cashew nuts, porridge oats and whole corn.
If you want to toss leftovers like rice and mashed potatoes, then, make sure they do not have salt, butter and seasonings. This should apply to canned foods too.
Expired foods and with mold on them are not good for your Welsh harlequin drakes to eat. Do not give these birds foods that you cannot eat.
Can ducks eat chicken feed?
Ducks have their own special pellets and crumbles. However, these may not be available in some areas and chicken feeds are fine with laying ducks.
Just the way baby chicks need more protein; ducks require high amounts of niacin. This is why small amounts of brewer’s yeast are added in their deeds.
But for most treats, ducks are fine with those that chickens eat. These birds will eat similar fruits like grapes and vegetables.
Ducks will drink chicken water and even from chicken waterers. These birds will spend the night together in the same coop but chickens will roost while ducks will sleep on beddings.
What to feed ducks in the park
Duck enthusiasts and bird hobbyists are often seen tossing tasty treats and snacks to ducks. This is an act of kindness and good.
Feeding ducks will help supplement their diets with some extra nutrients. It is also a good way to make sure that these birds do not go on an empty stomach especially when food is scarce like in winter.
However, feeding these birds requires caution and fore thought. Some foods can be toxic and healthy posing a health threat to them.
Although feeding these birds is good, first consult with a zoologist or a bird expert on the best treats for those Florida ducks.
So, what is the best food for ducks in the park?
- Bird seed
- Cracked corn
- Peas- Thaw them first if frozen and make sure those canned, ensure they have no salt and seasonings.
- Whole Corn
- Raw and cooked rice- Leftover rice should have no salt or butter.
- Grapes- Remove the seeds first they are toxic.
- Cherries- Should have no pits.
- Sweet potatoes
- Porridge oats
- Fresh green grass
- Beet root tops
- Cheese- In moderation
- Cashew nuts
Bread is a poor nutrient snack to feed to ducks. When swallowed, it will expand in the stomach and can cause crop impaction especially if eaten in excess.
However, feeding small amounts of bread to ducks will do them no harm. If there are other healthy treats other than bread, then do not feed bread instead.
All treats should be fed sparingly and in moderation. They do not have all the nutrients that these birds require for healthy growth and development.
Over feeding ducks will make them get used to handouts and free foods. This can easily make them totally dependent on humans and lose their natural behavior of foraging and diving for food.