Growing up, I always loved going to the park with my family. Our neighborhood park had a picturesque lake surrounded by tall grass and flowers that were perfect for ducks. There always seemed to be ducks there, scrounging around in the grass for insects or swimming effortlessly on the water.
One of my favorite things to do was grab a loaf of bread and toss small pieces of bread their way. Lately, though, there has been a lot of information indicating that feeding ducks bread, crackers, and other carbs are bad for them.
Learning about what ducks can and can’t eat can be hard. A lot of people wonder, “Can ducks eat bread?” Ducks can eat bread without too much worry.
The only real issue is that bread doesn’t have a lot of nutritional value, so it’s not going to give them the vitamins and minerals they need to grow.
Instead of feeding ducks bread, whether you’re at a lake or raising your own ducks, we’ve put together a list of 13 healthy snacks you can feed ducks without worry. These snacks will give them plenty of nutritional value and they’re easy to come by. Take a look.
Ducks and Their Diet
Ducks are foragers and, generally speaking, aren’t particularly picky eaters. Odds are, toss something at a duck and they’ll give it a nibble. Nature has taught ducks to eat what comes their way, and they have big appetites.
However, ducks need amino acids to feed their muscles and keep their feathers shiny. Additionally, ducks that are fed too much bread and other carbs can quickly become overweight and face associated health problems.
That’s why it’s so important to limit the snacks people feed ducks and only stick to healthy foods. Then, the ducks can hunt for algae, bugs, frogs, snails, and other foods that round out their diets.
Healthy Foods for Ducks
Luckily, it’s fairly easy to find healthy snacks for your ducks or to feed the ducks at the park. Your neighborhood grocery store will have most of what you need, and you can find the rest at a pet shop or online.
Here are some healthy snacks for ducks.
Strawberries – Ducks will gobble up these delicious berries with glee. You can chop them up or feed them whole.
Of course, cutting them into smaller pieces will make it easier for the ducks to swallow and it will make the berries go further so they don’t disappear in two seconds.
Dandelions – Dandelions may be a pest for people who love a manicured lawn, but don’t just mow them down next time. Instead, go through your lawn and snatch up the dandelions and keep them for your next duck feeding excursion.
They are good for bone growth and promote a healthy liver.
Mealworms – So, hopefully, there aren’t mealworms for sale at your grocery store, but you can find them online or in pet food stores. Ducks love to eat mealworms, and they are an incredibly healthy source of food for ducks.
You’ll notice that ducks will get demonstrably more excited about eating mealworms than many other snacks because this is a real treat for them. They like eating them alive more than dried.
Watermelon – Watermelon is a great snack for ducks because it’s healthy, affordable, and it keeps the ducks busy for longer.
Rather than toss a few berries their way, chop up a watermelon and set chunks down on the grass, and watch the ducks go to town. They’ll eat every hint of red off the rind and still want more.
Crickets – Without getting too sinister, feeding ducks crickets is always fun because there is a bit of a chase involved. Pet stores will often sell crickets and other insects for feeding reptiles, so they shouldn’t be too hard to find if you want to feed them to ducks.
They may not notice them at first, but once they catch the hint, the ducks will go into a frenzy hunting down those healthy treats.
Worms – Ok, you are probably getting a bit of a theme here. Ducks like eating bugs.
Worms are typically available at fishing supply stores and pet supply shops, so check for them there. They have a lot of minerals in them that ducks love to eat.
Raspberries and Blueberries – Ducks will pretty much eat any berry you toss at them. You can often find ducks gathered around wild blackberry bushes when no one is around.
Berries can be expensive though, so watch for them to go on sale if you want to treat your ducks to something nice.
Toss a few their way and they will be eternally grateful. That, or they’ll just follow you around for some more.
Kale – Kale can be terrific for ducks’ digestion and it’s rich in vitamins. It will clear out any constipation and is a healthy, filling treat with good nutritional value.
And, as opposed to humans, you don’t have to drown it in dressing. Ducks will gobble it up happily.
Other Leafy Greens – In addition to kale, ducks will eat leafy greens with iron, vitamins, magnesium, and other good stuff inside them. They’ll chomp on lettuce or cabbage like it’s a bag of chips and, the best part is that it improves bone health and metabolism.
Oats – If you bought whole or rolled oats that one time you thought about making stuff from scratch and it’s still sitting in your cabinets, think about feeding it to the ducks.
It’s a fun way to feed them something healthy because you can spread the outs out and watch as the ducks work their way from spot to spot.
Vegetable Trimmings – Instead of tossing those carrot peels or the ends of your cucumbers, stick them in a bag and save them for the ducks.
Remember, ducks aren’t picky eaters. They don’t get weird about which part of the vegetable they are eating as kids do.
Stick them in a bag and take them to the ducks.
Grapes – Grapes are another fun fruit to feed ducks because they are easy to toss and are a sweet treat that ducks love to eat.
If you are dealing with very large grapes, you need to cut them down to size to avoid any sort of choking hazard for the ducks. The shape of a grape means it could easily get caught in a duck’s throat and it’s very hard for them to get something like that out.
Birdseed – You can find affordable birdseed online that’s designed specifically for birds, ducks included. This seed mixture is often fortified with extra vitamins and minerals to keep ducks healthy and happy.
You can spread the bird feed around the ground or put it in small bowls. Either way, the ducks will come running and eat until there is nothing left.
Feeding ducks in your backyard or at the park is a ton of fun. Just make sure that whatever you are feeding them is healthy for the ducks and won’t give them any long-term health concerns.