Ducks are aquatic birds and are categorized under waterfowl. In the past, we have often seen that most people feed ducks their leftovers, bread, or other junk foods. So, are these types of foods healthy for waterfowl? The answer is no.
According to the researchers, bread, fries, and other junk foods are incredibly dangerous for ducks, swans, geese, and other waterfowl. It degrades their health and pollutes the environment, leading to other diseases.
Hence, after reading all these researches, people question, “What to feed ducks at the park or in the wild?“
Raw vegetable peels, grains, worms, and insects are the best, healthy, and environmentally friendly foods that ducks love to feed. Also, the food should be in small or bite-sized pieces. Ducks don’t have teeth. They direct swallow the food. Hence, they will struggle to consume if the food is considerably larger.
Here are examples of some waterfowl foods: birdseed, corn, rice (cooked or uncooked), grapes, worms, vegetable peels, and many more.
Later in this post, we have explained more about feeding ducks and the science behind which food is best and worse for them. So, let’s discuss.
What to feed Ducks at the Park?
Cracker corns, grains (wheat, barley), uncooked oats, bird seeds, fruits (bite-sized pieces), vegetable peels, earthworms, peas, berries, duck feed pellets, and many more are the best foods to feed ducks at the park.
Ducks are omnivores means they love to eat different types of insects or small fish too. Not only ducks, but you can also feed the foods mentioned above to wild ducks, swans, geese, and other waterfowl.
Remember- Don’t feed waterfowl bread or any junk food.
Bread, fries, crackers, donuts, popcorns, chips, and other junk food have no nutritional value to ducks and can cause malnutrition, weight gain, painful deformities, and other diseases to them.
As justified by many scientists, bread has yeast that causes a deformity in birds’ wings called angel wing syndrome by consuming too much. And it reduces their ability to fly and dulls their senses, making them easy prey for many natural predators.
Also, if you notice that ducks are uninterested or many people are already feeding them, there is no need to waste your food. The leftover or uneaten remnants quickly rot and attract many rodents and unwanted pests.
It leads to pollution that can destroy habitats, harm waterfowl, and other birds, create unpleasant odors, and spread various diseases.
The issue of feeding waterfowl is a topic of controversy between bird enthusiasts, conservationists, and park officials. Many people believe that wild ducks and other waterfowl do not have excess natural food in the wild or park. But that’s not true.
According to various park officials, waterfowl are capable of searching for their food naturally in the wild. They do not need help from humans in order to survive in any season.
They often beg for treats because they do not want to find their food naturally. The continuous process of feeding wild ducks will intercept their migration and degrade their natural hunting senses. In brief, they come to rely on us.
Also, feeding wild ducklings is even worse because it will lessen their growth of surviving and hunting instincts. Therefore, many experts and park authorities agree that people should not feed healthy or unhealthy foods to birds, animals, and other wildlife.
In a nutshell, if the park authorities allow, you can feed ducks and other waterfowl healthy foods in small quantities and once at a time interval. So that they do not become dependent on you for food.
What do Ducks eat in the wild? (What to feed wild ducks)
Ducks in the wild primarily eat earthworms, small fishes, aquatic plants, slugs, grasses, insects, mealworms, and many other similar foods. Also, wild ducks love to feed raw grains in an unprocessed state.
Below is the list of food items that you can feed wild ducks and other waterfowl.
- Raw Grains
- Oats (uncooked)
- Milo seed
- Fruit peels
- Vegetable scraps
- Chopped fruits and salads
- Green tops of fruits
- Chopped Peanuts
- Fresh peas
Things not to feed wild ducks and other waterfowl:
- Citrus fruits (like mangoes, oranges, limes, lemons, and many others)
- Junk Foods (like fries, crackers, donuts, popcorns, chips, and many others)
- Cooked vegetables
- Species food items
- Oily foods
- Large size fruits like unchopped grapes
Above is the list of unhealthy food items that you should avoid feeding ducks, swans, geese, and other waterfowl. It will degrade their health and lead to many painful diseases and deformities.
Also, it is witnessed that some wild ducks that are fed repeatedly can become aggressive toward other ducks in a small, overpopulated area.
Therefore, never feed wild waterfowl or any bird too often; otherwise, they will start to lose their instinct to search for food and become dependent on you.
What to feed Ducklings?
The best foods to feed ducklings are chopped grass, worms, chemically untreated plants, peas, moistened oatmeal, insects, algae, small fish, bird seeds, and many more. They are the baby duck and need nutritious foods to develop into well-grown ducks.
However, their food items and schedule are totally dependent on their habitat. Wild ducklings eat differently from a pet baby duck. Hence, we have listed various edibles for pet and wild ducklings.
Food items to feed Pet Duckling-
- Moistened Oatmeal
- Mixed greens
- Cracked corn
Food items to feed wild Duckling-
- Small Fish
- Cracked Corns
Note- Don’t feed wild ducklings too often; otherwise, they will rely on you and never learn to find food in the wild.
Also, to read more on how Ducks see or find their food. Visit the article mentioned below.
Must Read- Are Ducks Colorblind? Duck Vision vs. Human Vision
Top 5 Good Food for Ducks that you can purchase from Amazon (based on reviews)
1) Cracked Corn
Cracked Corn is one of the best bird foods for ducks, swans, geese, and other birds. It comprises crude protein, crude fat, and crude fiber, giving birds the necessary nutrients for healthy development.
It is also suitable for ducklings. Before purchasing cracked corns, ensure that it does not have any preservatives.
2) Duck Feed Pellets
Duck Feed Pellets are excellent food items for aquatic birds like ducks, swans, geese, and other waterfowl. It comprises rich crude protein, crude fat, phosphorous, lysine, calcium, and other nutrients that gives birds a perfectly balanced diet.
Pellets do not float on water, and ducks need no water to swallow these items. Before purchasing duck feed pellets, ensure that it does not contain any additional antibiotics and hormones.
Birdseed is good food for all kinds of birds, including ducks. It comprises the mixture of wheat middling, dried grains, hominy feed, and lysine that gives birds crude protein, crude fiber, calcium, phosphorous, and many other nutrients.
4) Dried Cherries and Nuts
Dried Cherries, berries, and other nuts are some of the favorite foods for ducks and other waterfowl. The product has a combination of many small and large nuts for different birds. Not only for ducks, but the small cracked nuts can also be used to feed other flying birds.
5) Floating Pellets for Duck
Floating Pellets for ducks are the best food items for waterfowl that comprise all the essential nutrients. Also, the pellets will float on water for over an hour.
It gives ducks high crude protein, crude fat, lysine, calcium, phosphorous and other components for good development. Before purchasing floating pellets, be sure that it does not contain any additional antibiotics and hormones.
Here, we conclude our article on “What to feed ducks at the park or in the wild,” along with the duck feeding product list that you can buy from Amazon. We will be back with another helpful article. Till then, stay tuned with us and read the posts below.
Frequently Asked Questions-
Q1. What do Mallard Ducks eat?
Ans. Mallard Ducks love to eat small insects, fishes, algae, and other aquatic plants.
Q2. What do Runner Ducks eat?
Ans. Runner Ducks love to eat grains, fruit and vegetable peels, small insects, plants, and many other items.
Monty is a founder of How It See. Being a life science student in a reputed university, he always wonders about an eclectic correlation between science and nature. After engaging in various college projects, Monty determined to share all his knowledge with you as a writer. In the meantime, he loves to research and study about the various types of colorful animals.