Can ducks eat bread? I mean is it going to kill them or what? The whole debacle surrounding whether or not ducks can eat bread is quite confusing!
The thing about bread is that it’s not necessarily toxic to adult ducks, so it’s not going to kill them outright. Bread is basically nutritionally deficient for both humans and ducks. Think about if you ate a whole heck ton a bread every single day, it wouldn’t be good for you right? I mean, talk about ruining your supper! That’s exactly what it’s like for the ducks!
If you fill your belly with bread, you get full and you don’t go out seeking the nutritionally dense food items that your body needs! Have you ever gone to a restaurant that serves bread? Oh yeah, you know exactly where I’m going with this! You totally eat the entire loaf of bread, smothered in butter, and then when your meal comes you eat two bites, and then you’re completely full! I know because that’s exactly what I do!
Can Ducks Eat Bread? | The Impact On Wild Ducks
The short answer is well sure…However, just like humans ducks should eat bread in moderation. Bread is basically just junk food for ducks. When it comes to feeding ducks in a park, it’s a fun pastime to let your kids give bread to ducks. However, if everyone feeds them bread, they may miss out on some key nutrients that are needed in their diet.
This is one reason why I believe local parks should set up coin-feeders. You know you put in a quarter and get a handful of nutritionally dense food to feed the ducks with? The quarter will offset the costs, and the ducks can be fed a regular diet.
Since there are not very many parks implementing this option, it’s would probably be a good idea that we think up a couple of other EASY ideas of food we can give to ducks that won’t ruin their appetite!
Can Ducks Eat Bread? | The Impact on Domestic Ducks
With your backyard ducks, it’s a little different. Your ducks don’t have hundreds of people feeding them bread every week. A little bit of bread won’t hurt them. However, too much bread can make them obese, and nutritionally deficient. A well-balanced diet is important for ducks. There are plenty of healthier treats to choose from. Read What Do Ducks Eat, to learn more about healthy snacks for ducks!
Other Reasons Why Bread Is Not A Great Choice
You know bread is a fattening food with all of that starch which turns to sugar. This even more important in ducks that can fly! When a duck is overweight they lose their ability to fly. Which can hurt them from being able to find new breeding grounds that are supple in vegetation and other natural food sources.
- Malnutrition in Ducklings – Baby ducks grow so rapidly. They need huge amounts of nutrition especially in the first few weeks. It’s extremely critical to their lifelong health. So don’t feed ducklings bread! It’s not good for them. New ducklings can eat duck or chicken starter crumbles. When they are at least 4 weeks old they can start eating other items such as peas. Peas provide niacin, which ducklings need in order to develop properly. Without enough niacin, ducklings may develop what’s called splayed legs. It’s a really sad issue that could lead to death. If you want to learn more about feeding baby ducks, check out the what do ducks eat post.
- Overcrowding – An area that has an easy food source is typically going to draw in more and more crowds of ducks and other waterfowl. Overpopulation of any animal, insect, or even human is not great for the Earth or for the inhabitants. Overcrowding may also bring in predators.
- Disease – Moldy bread can cause a fatal lung infection that can take out an entire flock of waterfowl including ducks. Also, ducks that eat a high carb-rich diet can lead to more pooping. More poop on the ground can lead to disease. Think about it, if you’re constantly stepping in poop, it would be a problem for basically most living animals. Overcrowding can also cause disease, the bigger the population the higher the risk one gets sick and spreads it to the rest of the flock. Overcrowding can also bring in predator which can also carry diseases.
- Pollution – Okay, you took a whole loaf of bread to the park, and the ducks have long had their fill and left some of the bread just lying around. Not only will this bread mold and breed dangerous bacteria, but it can also pollute the waters. Which could lead to algae growth that can suffocate natural vegetation. Consequently, this could also knock out other food sources for ducks, like fish, frogs, and lizards. The leftover bread might also attract annoying and dangerous pests that carry diseases. Such as raccoons, mice, and insects.
- Natural Instinct Lost – Wild ducks need to stay wild. They need that instinct to go and search for food. However, if we feed them too often they may lose this instinct and forget how to forage for food.
What To Feed Ducks Other Than Bread!
It’s probably best not to have wild ducks think of humans as their main food source. However, in many local parks, this has already happened. They may have lost their motivation for going and finding nutritionally dense foods. If the ducks are losing weight due to no one feeding them bread, and they are not seeking out other food sources, something should be done.
If you still want to feed ducks at your local park there are a few healthier things you can feed them!’
Healthy Duck Snacks
- Crickets – (live or dried) Pick up some crickets at the bait shop. It’s fun to watch them catch and eat them!
- Worms – Worms are obviously a delicious treat!
- Mealworms – Oh yes, just like chickens ducks will gobble down some mealworms!
- Cooked Eggs – Oh yes they love eggs! If you have some leftover scrambled eggs they will gobble them up! Eggs contain calcium and other nutrition that laying ducks need to make more eggs!
- Koi Food – This is a food you might feed Koi fish. It has plenty of vitamins and protein. Add it to the water, and it floats. The ducks love it!
- Homemade Chicken Pecking Block – The ducks love it too!
- Vegetable and Fruit Scraps from the kitchen. See this post on what ducks eat to see what they might like!
- Commercial Duck Feed – You could also buy a bag of Flock Raiser, which is just a feed designed to feed a mixed flock of birds like chickens and ducks. For some reason “duck feed” is hard to find. So the flock raiser works well.
What Not To Feed Ducks!
Avoid foods that are high in FAT, SUGAR, or SALT! Also avoid foods that are going bad, or moldy.
- Raw potatoes
- Moldy bread/too much bread
- Anything moldy
- Junk food – crackers, bread, pasta, chips, etc…
- Carbonated beverages
- Fatty foods
What Do Ducks Eat And What They Shouldn’t?
Learn more about a ducks diet. What should you feed your backyard ducks and what foods should you avoid giving to ducks?
In Summary, ducks can eat bread in moderation. A snack is just that. It should not be so much that it ruins your appetite for dinner!
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