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Treats your ducks will love!

Treats your ducks will love!
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Who here remembers going to the park to feed the ducks when they were a child?  I know I do!  It was something I always looked forward to.  I still vividly remember one day after preschool tossing bread to the ducks and leaning so far over the edge I fell into the pond!  I’m sure it scared my mom, but I was more upset I got my favorite Strawberry Shortcake dress all wet.  Falling in the pond didn’t deter my love of ducks!  Where was I going with this?  Oh right – feeding ducks!

The wild ducks might love all those bits of stale bread, but they are definitely not good for them.  It’s the equivalent of someone tossing potato chips at you – they might be tasty, but it’s all empty calories. What’s worse is, especially for ducks in the wild, all those empty calories make them fat, slowing them down when escaping predators.  It also fills them up so they won’t eat the things they need to, like greens & bugs.

So we shouldn’t feed ducks things like bread, pasta, and crackers (salted crackers like Ritz especially are bad because ducks should not have salt) – what can we give them for treats?  First remember that treats, are just that – treats.  Quality duck feed should make up the majority of your duck’s diet.  For tips on feeding your backyard ducks, click here.  If you already keep chickens, many of these healthy treats will be familiar to you because ducks & chickens have similar diets.

Mealworms & Bugs

My duck’s absolute favorite treat is meal worms – high in protein, most types of insects are excellent treat for ducks. They also enjoy other freeze dried bugs like fly larvae and crickets which can be found at most feed stores.  Another great source of protein your ducks will love is feeder goldfish or minnows. Add a few of these to their pond or water bowl and stand back because the water will be flying!  Other protein snacks to try include plain yogurt and scrambled eggs.

Romaine Lettuce

The other treat mine go crazy for is Romaine lettuce.  Most days I bring out a head of lettuce to feed the rabbits.  The ducks have caught onto this routine and will follow me around while I do my morning chores quacking non stop at me, letting me know that it’s not just the rabbits that love lettuce.  They are so cute, I always peel off a few leaves for them.  Most types of lettuce are great for them, but avoid Iceberg lettuce as it has limited nutritional value.

You can grow lots of healthy treats for your ducks right in your garden.  For information on gardening for your pets, click here

Greens, herbs & weeds

Tear up bits of wheat grass, dandelion greens, or fresh herbs like oregano, rosemary, basil, mint, calendula, or parsley and float them in their water dish or pool.  They will have a great time fishing their treats out.  The only thing to be aware of is if you are picking things like dandelion greens out of your yard, make sure they have not been treated with any kind of weed killer or pesticide.


There are lots of fruits that your ducks will enjoy like tomatoes, chopped grapes, berries, watermelon, cantaloupe, and bananas.  Almost all fruits are healthy for ducks, fruits that should be avoided include any citrus fruit (too much acid for their digestive system) and avocados (all parts are toxic to birds). Watermelon is my duck’s favorite treat on a hot summer day!


Fresh veggies can be fed to your ducks daily, some favorites include corn, peas, beans, cucumber, cabbage, and broccoli.  Almost all veggies are good for your ducks, but the ones that should be avoided include onions & spinach. Peas are a great natural source of niacin which is important especially when they are young.


Warm oatmeal makes a delicious treat on a cold winter morning.  It is ok to give your ducks a special treat of whole wheat bread, rice, or cooked pasta occasionally, just don’t make it an everyday treat

Treats your ducks will love

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Cheryl Detrick

Tuesday 16th of April 2024

We live on a salt water canal in Florida. Fora couple of years there have be a couple of white ducks seen going around in the canals. Some time ago the female made a nest in a flower bed in our yard right next to our private boat ramp that goes into the canal. A few weeks ago I found that the female layed about 15 eggs.. The neighbor’s dog discovered the nest and destroyed about 6 of the eggs. The remaining 9 or so eggs have hatched. Should I intervene or expect that the parents will be able to take care of their chicks. These ducks are wild and have lived on the canals in this neighborhood for a few years. They have never hatched babies that I am aware of before this. Should I try to help this large family or assume they can make it on their own. I really don’t want a flock of ducks taking up permanent residence at my house. Please advise.


Tuesday 16th of April 2024

If these are wild ducks it's best to leave momma to raise the babies. Unfortunately in the wild about 50% of the babies won't make it to adulthood, so don't be surprised if they family gets smaller. Sadly it is just a normal occurance. Unless you are ready to take on the babies as pets, they need the mom to teach them how to survive in the wild. Duck dads typically don't take an active role in raising babies.

Pepper Caselman

Tuesday 1st of March 2022

I never really wanted a duck due to the huge amount of waste they produce but my daughter was given just one Pekin duck.. He's 3 now his name is Paypay the Goose because he's so big. He actually lives in our home and goes in and out like a dog. Honestly, he's a huge pain in the butt but we love him anyway. My problem is I still have not found a way to keep him out of the cat food. How healthy is cat food for the duck? Maybe why he's so big but is it hurting him other than weight? Thank you 😊


Tuesday 1st of March 2022

Ducks are omnivorous, in the wild they eat plenty of bugs & fish so the high meat protein in cat food won't hurt him, but you are right it is probably what is making him overweight. While it won't hurt him, it isn't great either so definitely keep trying to keep him out of it!


Friday 4th of February 2022

Hi - our little ducks love dry garlic powder on their food! I also have one that loves asparagus, I have yet to get any asparagus out of our garden since we got our ducks.


Sunday 6th of February 2022

That is a great idea with the garlic powder!

Maui Muscovy Momma

Saturday 1st of January 2022

My muscovies LOVE tofu! I give them half a tub of firm tofu (right out of the package, no need add anything to the tofu!), which I dice up for them and sprinkle on top of their morning rations. They also love dog food! I sprinkle some kibble n bits for small breeds (as ducks don’t have molars to chew) along with the tofu for a fun treat for them.


Sunday 2nd of January 2022

That is awesome, I've never tried tofu with them, I'll have to add that to the rotation!


Tuesday 14th of September 2021

Hi I hope you can help. I help with my brothers ducks. The are all geratic or disablem in some way all rescue ducks. If I did not take them they would have lived out their life in small bird cage or been in someone's freezer or worse. Any ways one stopped walking one day so I took it home was feeding it but and minerals including nician. I was also doing duck rehab .one day I laid duck down for a minute or two and duck was stiff as a board, I swear it seemed like a could feel heart beat or it was hopefully thinking on my part. Any ways I wrapped ducky in her favorite towel and held her until long after I knew she passed on. But my question is what could cause duck to get stiff like that all of a sudden for no reason??? Any ideas


Tuesday 14th of September 2021

aww that is very sad. I wonder if it was seizure, it's hard to say. But I am glad you were there for her at her end

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