27 Safe and Delicious Duck Treats

As a child, I used to love feeding the ducks at the park. We would toss them slugs and earthworms and watch in delight as they chased their snacks around the lake.

Of course, we also fed those ducks a great deal of snacks we had in our bags – things like bread, crackers, and even cookies. I’m talking about carbs with very little nutritional value!

four Pekin ducks
four Pekin ducks

A few months back, though, I read an article that mentioned how you really shouldn’t be feeding ducks bread. Their bodies can’t process it properly, so it could make them very sick. Whoops.

Along with bread, you should also avoid feeding ducks other foods with minimal nutrition in large amounts, such as white bread, sugar, and pasta. Dried beans are another no-no as part of a duck’s daily diet – they can be toxic.

As you can see, not everything you feed a duck is good for it, so with that in mind, let’s look at 12 treats that can be safely enjoyed by your ducks!

1. Grapes

Grapes are a popular snack; I know our horses used to love them – especially when they were frozen.

Ducks love grapes (who doesn’t?) and if you cut them in half, it makes it easier for them to swallow. They love both red and white (green) grapes so you can pick and choose which one you want to feed them.

2. Apples and Pears

Apples and pears are great for birds in general, but ducks tend to have quite a fondness for them. The core and seeds are removed, and the fruit is cut into small pieces which are easy for the ducks to munch on.

3. Bugs and Grubs

It should come as no surprise that ducks enjoy a few types of bugs and they’re not very picky about which bugs they eat.

They’ll typically eat mealworms but will also go for mosquitoes, wasps, and spiders. When it comes to bugs, if your duck can grab it, it’s food.

4. Cherries

Cherries are another sweet treat for ducks BUT they must be seedless and should be halved so that they’re easier to eat.

The seeds contain traces of cyanide (the same with apples and pears) which can be lethal in trace amounts. You should also never feed ducks maraschino cherries (the cherries you’d find on cakes).

The reason for this is that maraschino cherries often have high sugar content – thanks to the syrup/sugar in which they’re packed – which can be bad for your feathered friends.

5. Oatmeal

If you’ve got plain oats in your pantry, that’s another favorite treat for ducks. It’s a simple matter of cooking the oatmeal and serving it plain. The ducks love it! It’s a great snack for the winter when the temperatures drop.

6. Watermelon

Okay, seriously, who doesn’t like watermelon? I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like this fruit, and ducks are no exception.

They go moggy over the stuff and would probably eat it every day if they got the chance. They even eat the rinds – assuming they’ve been chopped up.

7. Strawberries and Other Berries

Apart from being a sweet-tasting treat, strawberries are packed with vitamin C as well as a host of other minerals. You can give your ducks fresh strawberries or, if you’d like, you can freeze them and give your ducks a crunchy sweet treat.

8. Flowers (Dandelions, Clovers, Violets)

Marigolds have a few medicinal benefits for ducks, as they work as antibiotics, and may prevent a variety of diseases. However, ducks aren’t always too keen on them.

On the other hand, they are rather keen on dandelions and clovers – which are great for improving egg laying, improved digestion, and contain antioxidants.

Pekin ducks near pond

9. Fish

Ducks eat fish in the wild, so it makes sense to bring them into your domestic duck’s diet as well. They’ll also eat newts and frogs.

A healthy supply of fish in your ducks’ pond can provide them with ample protein, and give you a bit of entertainment watching them eat!

Unfortunately, fish are a tad pricey so your bank account may not be too fond of them, even if your ducks are.

10. Algae

I know what you’re thinking: “That slimy stuff from the bottom of my pool is a treat?”

Well, not from the bottom of your swimming pool but yeah, algae is another snack which makes ducks moggy.

They love the stuff and it’s packed with proteins, vitamins, nutrients, and amino acids, making it a healthy treat as well as a tasty one!

11. Crickets

This is something I’ve actually seen and it’s hysterical! You drop a few crickets into your flock and wait.

The fun starts when the ducks spot and start chasing the crickets around trying to eat them – they get a workout before the treat!

12. Corn

Corn is a popular snack for ducks, and they can eat it as an everyday snack (in comparison to most of the others on this list which should be given in moderation).

Ducks love veggies in general, but this is a favorite of theirs. It can be given off the cob either cooked or uncooked (they’ll love it either way).

13. Peas

Ducks love nibbling on peas! These vegetables are loaded with healthy ingredients like fiber and protein. If you free-range ducks, you can allow them to eat the entire pea plant when you’re done in the garden for an extra boost of nutrition.

14. Cucumbers

Cucumbers are great veggie treats for your ducks. Not only are they full of nutrients, but cucumbers are also loaded with water – great for keeping your ducks hydrated on those super hot summer days.

15. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are fine to feed ducks, but do so in moderation – these fruits can be somewhat acidic and upset a duck’s stomach. Be mindful about feeding ducks tomato plant parts – the same goes for eggplant, rhubarb, peppers, and green tomatoes. These are toxic.

16. Spinach

You can feed spinach in very small quantities to your ducks, but be careful about giving them too much – a nibble here or there is ideal.

The reason why you need to avoid giving too much spinach to your ducks is that it can interfere with calcium absorption and lead to egg binding, thin-shelled eggs, or soft-shelled eggs.

17. Bananas

As is the case with many other types of fruits, bananas are an excellent choice for your ducks. Take the peel off, since this doesn’t provide a lot of nutritional value.

18. Cabbage

Cabbage is a good treat for ducks. It’s loaded with fiber and many other beneficial ingredients, like crucial vitamins and minerals.

19. Broccoli

Broccoli is another good option for ducks. You can feed them broccoli fresh, raw, cooked, or even sprouted (or broccoli microgreens).

20. Leafy Greens (Iceberg Lettuce, Kale, Chard)

Iceberg lettuce is a leafy green that, like spinach, I’d advise feeding in moderation. It provides a lot of fiber, but doesn’t have a super high nutritional value. Too much of it can lead to stomach pain and diarrhea.

Kale, cabbage, bok choy, and romaine are more nutritious options.

21. Quinoa

Quinoa is a great grain to give your ducks. Unlike white bread, which is a grain with very limited nutritional value and often, lots of sugar, quinoa is whole grain and can be fed sprouted as well.

22. Citrus Fruits

You can feed your ducks citrus fruits, but make sure you do this in moderation. Too much citrus can cause some digestive upset and acid reflux. Stay away from more acidic options, like limes and lemons, and stick to fruits like oranges and grapefruit instead.

Some people say that citrus fruits also interfere with calcium absorption and cause ducks to lay thin-shelled eggs, but I’ve fed citrus fruits to both ducks and chickens and haven’t had any issues.

I think the key here is definitely moderation, but if you’re concerned, you can leave citrus fruits off the list. After all, there are plenty of other treats to consider!

23. Cantaloupe

Like watermelon, cantaloupe is another great treat to feed your birds. It has essential vitamins and minerals as well as lots of water during the summer months. You may want to crack it open first to make it easier for your ducks to get at the flesh inside.

24. Mangoes

Mangoes are usually safe for ducks, but be careful and observant the first few times you feed it to them. It can make some ducks’ throats itchy, just like it does in humans.

This isn’t something that all ducks will experience, so keep an eye out if they seem to be uncomfortable after eating mango. If they’re fine, you can go ahead and use mango as a treat moving forward.

25. Brown Rice

Brown rice is another one of those whole grains that you can feel good about feeding your ducks. Feed only in moderation – large quantities don’t offer a ton of nutrition, but a little bit here or there is fine.

26. Whole Grain Breads

You can also feed whole grains like whole wheat bread to your ducks – again, just make sure this is done sparingly.

27. Grit

Some people might argue with me on this one – grit isn’t necessarily a treat. However, I’ve included it on this list because for some ducks it’s necessary, and for others it’s not. Grit is really only needed if you aren’t free ranging your ducks. If you’re free-ranging, they’ll get the grit they need from sand, rocks, and other particles they pick up on the ground.

That said, you won’t hurt anything by offering up some grit to your flock. It helps them digest their food and will ultimately make it easier for them to enjoy all the other treats listed above!

Pamper your Ducky Friends!

Caring for ducks, in general, is hard work – the same is true for all animals. That said, it’s also an incredibly rewarding experience when you get it right. All animals deserve to be at least a little bit spoiled; don’t you agree?

We have a joke in our home that we’re the Seebregts Hotel for animals because basically, any animal that comes in either a stray or a rescue used to find their way to us. This led to another joke that we’re the worst foster families ever because we tend to keep our ‘fosters’ permanently.

In closing, I’d like to say thanks for reading. I hope you found the article informative and enjoyable. Now go forth and pamper your ducky friends and I’ll see you for the next one. Take care!

duck treats Pinterest image

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