What Do Ducks Eat?

Feeding ducks is a fun activity for those of all ages yet it can be confusing knowing what exactly to feed them. Ducks are omnivores meaning in the wild they eat both grass and plants as well as fish eggs, insects, and tadpoles. Despite feasting on natural food sources, it can still be beneficial to feed ducks as long as the right foods are used.

Photo by Anchor Lee on Unsplash

What to feed wild ducks

Duck Food

The best and safest food to feed ducks is specially crafted duck food. This eliminates any risk of harming the ducks, instead providing them with a tasty and nutritious snack.

Duck food can be found here: Duck Food


Can Ducks eat seeds? The answer is yes! Seeds are a nutritious food source for ducks, with sunflower seeds being particularly vitamin and mineral dense. Sunflower seeds contain iron, vitamin B, vitamin A and potassium.

Sunflower Seeds can be food here: Sunflower Heart Kernels


Mealworms are a great source of protein for ducks but should not be used exclusively. Instead they should be fed as part of a varied diet. Protein is important for ducks all year round and during every life stage, so can also be fed to ducklings.

Dried mealworms can be purchased here: Dried Mealworms


Any kind of plain oats will be enjoyed by our feathered friends but try to avoid flapjacks due to the added sugars. Oats also make the perfect alternative to feed ducks instead of bread.


Ducks will enjoy scraps of a variety of vegetables which may otherwise be thrown away. This includes lettuce, peas, cucumber, and broccoli.


Melon, halved grapes, and raisins are all tasty treats for ducks. Other fruits ducks like to eat include bananas and pomegranate seeds.

Can you feed ducks bread?

The short answer is no, bread should not be fed to ducks. Despite it being traditionally associated with feeding ducks, it can actually be very harmful for them.

Why is bread bad for ducks?

When ducks overconsume bread, this can lead to a whole host of issues including malnutrition, diseases, and in extreme cases death. Bread offers little to no nutritional value to ducks despite filling them up, which is dangerous for their health. Acting as a junk food, like humans it can lead to obesity in ducks.

Feeding bread can also lead to overcrowding, which can cause diseases to spread as well as potentially damaging the habitat.

Often when bread is used to feed ducks there are leftovers. If not removed, these leftovers help promote the growth of algae which can be toxic for the surrounding aquatic plants. If this pollution persists, it can lead to other species within the ecosystem such as fish and amphibians dying out.

Photo by Robert Gramner on Unsplash

What not to feed ducks

Alongside bread, there are many other foods that you should never feed to ducks.

Junk Food

Anything considered junk food for humans should not be fed to ducks. This is because it will lack nutrients and could be harmful to them. This includes foods such as popcorn, crisps, crackers, biscuits, and cereals.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits should be avoided as they can interfere with calcium absorption. Make sure to avoid oranges, lemons, limes, mangoes, and pineapples. The high acidity can also cause digestive issues within ducks.

Spinach, Onions, and Avocadoes

Despite enjoying vegetables ducks cannot consume them all. Be sure to avoid spinach, onions, and avocadoes as these can have dangerous effects on ducks. Instead stick to the duck food which ducks are guaranteed to love!

More like this

If you’d like to find out more about our feathered friends and how best to feed them, check out our Guide on how to feed wild birds.

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