Do Ducks Eat Meat? (Do They Get Sick)

A lot of duck owners are tempted to use their animals as a way to get rid of leftovers from the kitchen. It seems obvious that ducks, which you can witness nibbling at plants all day long, will happily consume vegetable scraps. But what about all the other things that are left over?  

For example, do ducks eat meat? Yes, they do. Ducks are omnivores, which means that they will eat basically anything. Just because they eat something does not mean that it is good for them, especially in large portions, though! They do not need a lot of animal protein. And while ducks will give anything a try, meats that have been processed for the consumption and taste of humans, like ham, salami, or bacon have a salt content (and other additives) that is far too high for them. 

Ducks like catching bugs and small fish, they dig up earthworms, and they enjoy snails, slugs, fish eggs, small crustaceans, and tadpoles. They even catch frogs, salamanders, or mice. For a balanced diet that leads to healthy growth, strong feathers, and good muscle development their meal plans need to include a variety of other things, like grains, nuts, seeds, berries, and other plants. 

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What Kinds of Food Do Wild Ducks Eat? 

Most of the day of a duck is spent sifting through mud and looking for worms, maggots, and small delicious bits of plant material. A patch of dirt is like a nice buffet to a duck

They also like a variety of plants. Because ducks like it when their food is soft and wet – you might have seen ducks dunking their food in water before eating it – they are especially fond of algae.  

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What to Feed Ducks? 

If you keep both ducks and chickens, you can use chicken feed for both. But be careful, a lot of chicken feed is medicated – when your chickens share theirs with ducks, make sure to get a sort that is not medicated. Medicated chicken feed is definitely not for ducks! Also, keep in mind to adjust the feed to the age and growth rate of your ducklings and adult ducks. If you are raising ducks for meat, there will be specific requirements for their diet. 

Any kind of feed you find at the pet store that is labeled duck feed or poultry feed is also a possibility. You can go for brand names, but the generic feed is usually fine. In either case, that it is non medicated is a must! 

In early spring, when you want to encourage hens to lay eggs, you can add crushed oyster shells to their food or buy layer mash from a pet store. 

You can also use your ducks to get rid of some kitchen scraps. Vegetable peels or other scraps of veggies are delicious and healthy for ducks.  

They like almost all vegetables, favorites are peas and corn. If you use the frozen variety, make sure to defrost it before you feed it to the ducks. When feeding them fruit, avoid citrus fruit. When it comes to stone fruit like cherries or peaches, remove the pit before you feed it! 

Whole grains are also good for ducks, like kernels of corn, whole oats, or the grains in bird feed. This regards only adult ducks, though – grains are mostly too big for ducklings to swallow. You will find special duckling food at the store. 

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What Should You Not Feed to Ducks? 

Most people know that they should not feed bread to ducks, but they often do not know why. The reason is that bread contains absolutely no valuable nutrients for ducks, but it fills up their stomach since it tends to expand. Therefore, a duck that has eaten bread will feel too full to eat things that are actually healthy for it! 

Human processed food contains salt, fat, and additives that are very unhealthy for ducks, and herbs and spices bother their stomach. So even if you feel it might be nice to share with them the leftovers of your latest takeout burger and fries, this is really not a good idea!  

When feeding them kitchen scraps you should always ask yourself, if a duck could come across this particular piece of leftover in nature. A bit of a vegetable or salad? Sure thing! A hot dog sausage? Not very likely! 

Do Ducks Eat Meat
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