Feeding ducks is a lot of fun. You may have fond memories of going to the park at night or on the weekends to feed the ducks and run around on the grass. Most of the time, we fed them bread and crackers, but nowadays experts say that’s not the best idea.
Can a duck eat bread? Sure, but it’s not the most healthy thing for them. Ducks need a lot of minerals and amino acids to stay healthy.
We know now that carbs, especially the kind of carbs we throw at ducks and ducklings in the form of bread, lack nutritional value. They can make the ducks overweight if they are fed too much, which will lead to health complications down the road.
Whether you’re feeding wild ducks near your home or are raising ducks in your yard or on your farm, there are better things you can feed ducks and ducklings for meals and snacks than bread.
Saving Veggies for Your Ducks
Raising animals can be expensive. One thing about ducks is that they’re not picky eaters.
They’ll gobble up anything you toss in front of them. That’s good and bad. A lot of ducks are injured or choke because they eat things that they shouldn’t.
However, the point is that you don’t need to always buy premium veggies for duck treats.
Whenever you prepare vegetables as snacks for any ducks, make sure that they’re easy to swallow and will fit nicely down a duck’s throat. For example, cut carrots down to small pieces because they can be hard to swallow.
Remember as well that domestic ducks should be eating mainly feed designed for them.
One of the most important things about raising ducks is that they need a lot of amino acids to produce natural proteins vital to healthy feather down and oils they use to waterproof themselves. As a result, veggies should be used as a nice after-meal treat for your ducks.
Here are 11 of some of the best vegetables for ducks and ducklings.
11 Vegetables Your Ducks Will Love
Cabbage – Ducks are foragers. They love to sift through the grass to find young shoots for meals. They will enjoy eating anything leafy like cabbage.
Cabbage is usually an affordable vegetable that will last a long time in your cupboard. Chop it up into small shreds and spread it out a bit so they take a while to eat it all.
Lettuce – Just like cabbage, ducks will eagerly take to eating lettuce, spinach, and other leafy greens. Yes, you can even toss them something like bok choy that you never got around to cooking and it’s been sitting in the fridge for a bit too long.
Again, it’s important to shred the lettuce or at least give them a rough chop to prevent them from swallowing an entire leaf whole which could block their digestive tract.
Kale – We know, kale is yet another leafy green, but it deserves special attention because kale offers a lot of healthy minerals that are great for ducks.
Instead of fighting with your kids to try to get them to eat kale, give it to your ducks who will appreciate it more.
Broccoli – Ducks love broccoli. You can feed it to them either cooked or raw.
Ducks will also eat the broccoli stalk, something that not all humans enjoy eating, so if you have leftover stalks, don’t toss them, give them to your ducks instead!
Cauliflower – Cauliflower should be fed to ducks in essentially the same way that broccoli is. The same thing goes for raw v.s cooked and feeding them the stalks. They won’t be picky.
Beets – Beets are an extremely healthy root vegetable that is great for your duck’s health. You’ll find out quickly that some ducks will have a hard time eating a whole, uncooked beet.
To make things easier for them, give the beets a quick boil or chop them up into small bits before offering them.
Squash – Ducks love all types of squash.
Usually, all you have to do is slice them open and the ducks will do fairly well at ripping them apart until the pieces are small enough to swallow. Of course, it will be faster to eat if you chop squash up smaller and cook it first.
Corn – Hanging some corn on the cob in your ducks’ pen can be a fun treat for them and get them some exercise as they walk around pecking kernels off the cob.
You can, though, feed them off the cob as well, and ducks will eat them cooked or raw.
Cucumbers – You don’t need to take the skin off of the cucumber before you feed them to ducks and ducklings.
In fact, the skin is where a lot of the nutrients are, so you’re better off not doing it. You can slice them or halve them, and it will be a fantastic snack.
Tomatoes – Okay, we know that this is a fruit, but everyone essentially treats it like a veggie. Ducks love tomatoes and won’t have any trouble breaking them apart into smaller bits before eating them.
Peas – Ducks will help you get rid of all of those frozen peas sitting in your freezer. Just scatter them around or put them in bowls and the ducks will do the rest with pleasure.
Obviously, your ducks will get even more excited if you ever break out fresh snap peas for a terrific treat.
Special Attention for Feeding Ducklings
Adult ducks can be aggressive eaters, especially when you break out treats like vegetables or some sliced watermelon. They are more durable as well. It takes a lot to harm them when it comes to their diet.
However, ducklings, understandably, are more fragile, and special care needs to be given when preparing veggies that you are going to be feeding them.
A single piece that’s too big can be a serious health complication for them. They could choke or it could block their digestion and kill them. These types of precautions will increase the chances of your ducklings growing up into strong, healthy adult ducks.
What Else Do Ducks Eat?
We’ve mentioned watermelon already, but we want to underscore that ducks absolutely love eating fruit. They’ll eat anything from berries to cantaloupe and peaches. They are into anything sweet.
Of course, you don’t want to overfeed fruit because it could cause them to gain too much weight. Simply monitor their health and make sure you’re giving them everything in moderation.
Finally, ducks love to eat grains. They’ll eat oats you have laying around at home or cooked rice. Brown rice is typically more healthy than white rice, but they’ll enjoy it either way.
Ducks also like barley, millet, quinoa, wheat, and other similar grains. You can even give ducks pasta, but, again, opt for something whole wheat or vegetable pasta that gives some sort of nutritional value.