You see a duck in the wild by a pond at a local park, what is the first thing you think of to feed them? I was today years old when I learned that the most common answer to this question is something that could really harm them.

Why You Should Never Feed Bread to Ducks

Bread, especially processed white bread is considered a "junk food" for ducks. There is basically no nutritional value for them. Ducks love any kind of snack you may have available to share with them, but the danger is that they would fill up on bread and not have room for healthy food.  It's also important for ducklings to learn how to forage for themselves and not rely on humans to feed them.

Angel Wing is Anything But Sweet

According to National Geographic, "A high-carbohydrate, high-protein diet is associated with a wing deformity known as “angel wing” or “airplane wing”. Angel wing is a condition where the last joint on the wing is distorted and causes the end feathers to stick out laterally—sideways—instead of lying flat against the body. This prevents the bird from flying."

Crumbs and Mold Attract Predators

Any uneaten bread or crumbs can attract hungry or curious predators. If the bread isn't cleaned up by them, it is left to mold and rot in or near the water. This can grow a very dangerous cyanobacteria and algae blooms that make the water unhealthy for all creatures in the area.

What Should You Feed Ducks Instead of Bread?

Ducks are omnivores and these are some things ducks like to eat that are also good for them.

  • lettuce
  • cabbage
  • pea shoots
  • kale
  • cucumber
  • corn
  • peas
  • beans
  • broccoli
  • beets
  • squash
  • flowers
  • alfalfa
  • tomatoes
  • eggplant
  • bananas (no peel)
  • pineapple
  • pomegranate seeds
  • scrambled eggs
  • dry cat food or dog food
  • rice

So the next time you're going on a picnic, you may want to toss something from that list into your basket so you can treat any ducks you encounter with a healthy snack.


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Gallery Credit: Meagan Drillinger

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