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Can Ducks Eat Bread?

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How are your ducks doing? Because you love your ducks so much, you should give them beneficial treats and feed to keep them healthy.

People have various treat ideas for ducks. An example of a treat suggested for ducks is bread.

Is bread safe for ducks? Can ducks eat bread?

Ducks can eat bread but in small quantities.

Bread does not contain sufficient protein for ducks. Bread also makes ducks feel full quickly and prevents them from eating healthier foods.

To ducks, bread is junk food and should be eaten occasionally, not regularly.

What nutrients does bread gives to duck? What should ducks eat instead of bread? Continue reading.

ducks feed with bread as treat

Can Ducks Eat Bread?

Ducks can eat bread, but just as treats.

Bread is not in the natural diet of ducks and as such, is not suitable for ducks. Let us consider the nutrition of bread.

Nutrient Composition of Bread

Bread does not contain as much protein as ducks need. The table below shows the amount of several nutrients in 100g of bread:

NutrientWhite BreadWhole Meal BreadBrown Bread


Take a close look at the protein composition in bread. Protein is the most important nutrient when raising animals because animals such as ducks use protein to grow and become matured for reproduction.

How much protein do ducks need?

Protein Needs of Ducks

The table below shows the protein needs of ducks according to their age:

Age of DuckCrude Protein Requirement
Starter (0-4 weeks)20%
Grower (4-9 weeks)17%
Developer (9-14 weeks)15%
Layer/Breeder (older than 14 weeks)18-19%


When you compare the two tables above, you’d agree that bread does not contain as much protein as ducks need.

This means that if you regularly feed your ducks and ducklings with bread, they may experience stunted growth or a deficiency of nutrients required for growth.

Continue reading to know other reasons you should not feed your ducks with bread.

Why You Should Not Feed Ducks with Bread Regularly

girl feeds bread to wild ducks

Here are understandable reasons why you should not feed your ducks with bread:

  • Uneaten and Soggy Bread is an Eye Sore and Attracts Bacteria: When you give bread to ducks and other birds, they peck a little and abandon the rest. Bread quickly absorbs moisture and will become soggy. Aside from becoming soggy and an eyesore, decaying bread can introduce harmful fungi and bacteria to your yard.
  • Giving Bread to Ducks Can Spoil Their Behavior: When you give bread and other non-natural treats to ducks regularly, your ducks may lose their instincts on how to forage for their own food. To retain the natural instincts of ducks, you need to give them less bread.
  • Angel Wings: Angel wing is a condition in which the last feathers of ducks appear distorted and tend to grow towards the sides instead of growing backward. This condition is caused by eating too many carbohydrate-rich foods. Since bread is rich in carbohydrates, you should give less bread to ducks.

All the points mentioned above summarize that you should only give bread to ducks on rare occasions (as treats).

Great Sources of Proteins and Other Nutrients for Ducks

Instead of feeding ducks with bread, here are popular healthy food ideas for ducks:

1. Processed Feed

Starter, grower, finisher, and other processed feeds for ducks have sufficient protein and other nutrients that your ducks need. It is completely safe to raise your birds with duck feed. You can even get them medicated feed (as recommended by your vet).

Processed feed is a great choice for raising a lot of ducks. It is also best in raising ducklings and laying ducks because of its high protein content and quick rate of digestion.

2. Grains and Seeds

Ducks love grains and seeds. While you can feed grains and seeds to ducks on a regular basis, some homesteaders prefer to give grains and seeds to ducks as treats.

They do this because ducks love grains so much, they can be used to reward them during training.

ducks eating seeds on the side of a lake

Examples of grains that you can feed your ducks with are:

  • Sorghum
  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Maize

During the winter, it is good practice to give grains to ducks at night. Ducks produce heat when they digest grains, so eating grains at night can help your ducks keep warm.

Seeds such as sunflower seeds are also great for ducks. You should provide your ducks with as many grains and seeds as possible.

3. Mealworms and Other Insect Larvae

Mealworms are the larvae of the mealworm beetle. Mealworms are very rich in proteins and can have more than 60% protein.

Mealworms and other insect larvae are in the natural diet of ducks, so it is completely safe to feed your ducks with mealworms. What’s more, even though you can get mealworms at various stores, you can cultivate mealworms for your ducks by yourself.

Other insect larvae that you can feed your ducks are:

  • Black soldier fly larvae
  • Housefly larvae
  • Grub worms

Make sure that your ducks have enough yummy insect larvae.

4. Little Vertebrates and Invertebrates

Ducks can eat little animals. If you allow your ducks to search for their own feed (i.e. in free-range), you will find they eat a few of the following critters:

  • Earthworms
  • Lizards
  • Snails
  • Frogs
  • Insects

It is safe for ducks to eat little vertebrates and invertebrates. Make sure that you supplement their diet with processed feed or grains.

5. Fruits and Vegetables

Duck eating watermelon

Fruits and vegetables are natural sources of vitamins, fiber, and minerals for your ducks. Fruits are rich in sugars, so you should not give too many fruits to ducks.

Examples of fruits that your ducks can eat are:

  • Grapes
  • Berries
  • Watermelons
  • Apples
  • Bananas

Ducks can also eat peels or rinds of fruits. Awesome, right?

Examples of vegetables that ducks can eat are:

  • Lettuce
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Asparagus

You should give as many vegetables as you can to ducks. When your ducks are bored, they can peck on vegetables for fun and also get nutrition.

Cool Treats for Ducks

Here are cool treats for ducks:

1. Bird Mix

Bird mix is just a mixture of grains and other ingredients. Bird mix is completely safe for ducks. You should give bird mix to ducks to reward them during training.

2. Fruits Such as Blueberries and Grapes

Ducks love blueberries and grapes. Just make sure that you are not giving too many fruits to ducks because of the high sugar content of fruits.

3. Nuts

Even though nuts are types of fruits, we classify them separately because, unlike other fruits that are rich in sugars, nuts are rich in proteins. You should give your ducks a lot of nuts, such as peanuts.

Awesome treat ideas, right?

Related Questions and Answers

Feeding duck

Do you have any questions? Here are some popular question answers:

1. Can Ducks Eat Breadcrumbs?

Breadcrumbs have the same composition as bread, so you should treat breadcrumbs the same way you treat bread when feeding ducks.

2. Can Ducks Eat Moldy Bread?

Ducks should not eat moldy bread. Moldy bread contains a lot of bacteria, fungi, and other harmful microbes. Carefully dispose of moldy bread and do not feed it to ducks.

3. Can Ducks Eat Cake?

The sugar content of cakes is too much and can harm your ducks. You should not feed cake or any sugar-rich snack to your ducks.

Final Thoughts

Ducks will eat a lot of stuff when allowed to search for their food on free-range. Although ducks can search for their own feed, you should give them supplementary feed and treats.

Even though ducks can eat bread, you should only give them bread as treats occasionally.


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