What do ducks eat?

Just like we human beings, ducks require food for healthy living. However, they are very sensitive and can be easily affected by food poisoning. So, what do ducks eat?

Essentially, all ducks are the same. Whether domestic or wild, they are all ducks especially when it comes to feeding. Some people extend a kind hand to wild ducks and feed them just like they do to their domestic flock.

It is important to bring some factors into consideration when giving food to your pet ducks. The food should be good and well balanced. I would also recommend seeking the advice of a vet or zoologist. This should depend on the kind of ducks you are feeding

Important Note: Any slight feeding mistake or spoilt food can cause serious loss not just to ducks but also to other marine life!

What Do Ducks Eat?

Generally, even without the advice of professionals, there are things that you can and cannot feed ducks. This article dives into this point. Further, it answers some of the commonly asked questions concerning feeding ducks and duck food.

So, what should I feed ducks?

what do ducks eat

Well, there are a variety of foods that ducks eat. These range from grains, nuts, duck pellets and worms to leafy vegetables. Notably, all these are good food for the ducks.

However, ducks should stick to their main course which is either what they get on their natural environment or the crumbles from the store. But this does not mean that you shouldn’t supplement their diet with other treats in moderation to avoid malnutrition.

Below are some of the healthy foods that can be fed to ducks.


Ducks love corn and they will eat it up smiling. Whether the corn is dried or fresh it is good for these feathered friends. But for the dried corn it is advisable you crush it into smaller pieces as they are easier for the ducks to swallow because ducks have no teeth.

Make sure you defrost fresh canned corn before feeding. However canned foods should be fed to ducks in moderation as a treat. They do not contain all the nutrients these birds require thus, should not be a replacement diet.

Both cooked and raw corn can be fed to sucks and ducklings. Either dried whole or cracked corn is a good treats for these birds. It will help keep them warm at night or in the cold season.


Both green and chick peas are a delicacy to the pond ducks whether raw or cooked but if raw and canned, make sure you defrost them first.

However, if you want to treat your Muscovy duck breeds with cooked peas do not add salt or seasonings in them. Salt can be toxic to ducks while seasonings can lead to digestive problems.


Can ducks eat rice? whether cooked or raw rice, ducks and other waterfowl will enjoy this whole grain with no doubt.

Rice is one of the grains that ducks collect when ranging on the fields after harvest season. It is loaded with carbs and other nutrients which are good for their health.

Duck feed pellets

These are specially formulated pellets meant for domestic ducks. When scattered in water, they float making it easy for the water ducks to collect. They are also environmental friendly as they do not pollute the environment.

The good thing with commercial duck feeds is that they are classified with the age of your birds. This makes it easy to buy the desired type either for layers, ducklings or those ducks raised for meat.

Bird seed

They are made of a mixture of several seeds like millet, sunflower, cracked corn, rice wheat oats and so on. I consider bird seed safe compared to bread.

Birdseed makes a good treat to toss to your friendliest ducks before they go to their pens to sleep. It is packed with carbs and other vital nutrients which will help keep their fluffy bodies warm at night. Additionally, it also helps supplement their diets with extra nutrients.


Ducks love berries a lot and they will enjoy them so much. The green tops of straw berries are a great snack for them after you eat the juicy fruit. However, most berries like cherries and goose berries are laden with sugar which is not good for their bodies.

Sugar is converted into fat which makes the birds fat and heavy. They become prone to joint and liver problems. In addition to that, they cannot fly during migration or run to flee from predators when in danger because they are too heavy.

Also, keep in mind that pits of cherries can be poisonous when swallowed by your white duck breeds. They contain cyanide a chemical that can lead to death or ill health.

Worms and insects

Ducks will collect a plethora of worms and insects as they range on your compound. Insects are tasty and a good source of protein for your Cayuga duck breeds.

When they eat insects and worms, black ducks helps control the number of pests that wreck havoc on your vegetable garden. These birds are such good that they do not spare small snakes and mice too.

Some farmers also raise mealworms for ducks in their farms. These tasty bugs provide a reliable source of protein for ducks during the molting season. They can also be bought from various online stores or any tractor supply store you.

Fish, snails and aquatic plants

Fish, snails and other water plants are the major source of food for most diving ducks. In most cases, small fishes that live in shallow waters, water snails and root tubers of water plants are eaten by wild ducks like the hooded mergansers for food.

Domestic ducks too eat fish and other crustaceans. If they get a chance to sneak in your fish pond they can deplete an entire stock of fingerlings within days.

Although ducks are adept divers and skilled swimmers, some water birds like penguins and cormorants will dive deep in the ocean to catch fish that swim in shoals.

Dabbling ducks will mainly eat water weeds, snails and other plants found along the shores. They will also graze on grass and visit fields for leftover grains after harvesting.

What other fruits are good for ducks to eat?

There are a wide variety of fruits and vegetables that can be fed to ducks. Water melons, grapes, bananas and apples are good for them.

Mangoes seeds and citrus fruits like oranges and lemons are not good with the ducks. Seeds of most fruits contain cyanide a toxic chemical which can lead to death.

Additionally, most fruits like strawberries, pineapples, watermelons, cantaloupe and kiwi are laden with sugar. When ingested, sugar is converted into fat and stored in body tissues making your ducks heavy, unhealthy and prone to diseases.

The best way to feed fruits to ducks is tossing them like treats to help supplement their diet. This way they can enjoy them once in a while and help prevent fruit loss when the harvest season is bumper.

Vegetable peels and kitchen scraps can also be used to feed ducks instead of throwing them away. They may include fruit peels leftover food and those popcorns you were eating during movie time.

Ducks supplement their diet with worms and small aquatic plants they get by themselves. There are also a wide variety of green plants that ducks forage on not to forget green grass.

Can ducks eat bread?

what do ducks eat

The answer is no! Bread has low nutritional value offering very little nutrients to the body of ducks. Ideally, giving bread to your ducks can result in malnutrition or weight gain.

Further, bread can cause birds to overcrowd in one area leading to an increase in droppings and slippery surfaces. It also makes the birds dependent on human beings reducing their ability to depend on themselves on their natural habitat.

Bread has also been associated with a condition known as angel wings syndrome that causes deformity to ducks wings thereby reducing their ability to fly. Consequently, they can become vulnerable to predation.

Commonly asked questions about duck food

What is the best thing to feed ducks?

There are a variety of foods you can give to your ducks like chopped lettuce, chopped grapes into halves to prevent choking, barley, oats, cracked corn and other grains.

Duck feed pellets, rice either cooked or raw and corn kernels are good food for ducks. These birds will also eat fish, meat, rats and water snails.

What should you not feed ducks?

Bread, popcorns, donuts and crackers should not be fed to ducks as they have little nutritional value to their bodies. Junk food scraps is also not good for ducks because it can make them became overweight and too heavy to fly or run when fleeing from predators.


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