The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.
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When people feed ducks, they tend to bring along a loaf of bread or a handful of uncooked rice. The truth is, both bread and uncooked rice are actually really bad for ducks and not something they should be eating.
Ducks can choke on uncooked rice, while feeding ducks too much bread will leave them feeling full without having received any of the nutrients they need.
Instead, people should opt out for feeding ducks vegetables and fruit. So, what types of fruits do ducks love? Keep reading to find out!
What Can I Feed Ducks?
For the most part, ducks can eat just about any type of fruit. Their favorites are watermelon, berries, bananas, and peaches. The only fruit that isn’t recommended for ducks is any type of citrus such as lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit.
Citrus fruits are known to cause acid reflux in ducks as well as interfering with their calcium absorption. This in turn, leads them to lay very thin-shelled eggs. Avocados are also toxic to ducks, so be sure to never feed them those.
If you are feeding your ducks fruits that have a pit in them, try to remove the pit first, not only so that they don’t choke on it, but also because stone fruit pits contain trace amounts of cyanide in them that can affect the ducks.
In terms of vegetables, ducks enjoy peas, cucumbers, sweet potato, kale, lettuce, and more. If you do feed them lettuce, be sure not to feed them iceberg lettuce as this has absolutely no nutritional value for ducks. In fact, iceberg lettuce can even give ducks diarrhea.
Spinach is another vegetable that should be avoided. Like with citrus fruits, spinach is known to cause an interference in the calcium absorption for ducks. Potatoes, rhubarb, green tomatoes, and eggplant are also toxic for ducks.
If you are going to feed your ducks rice, be sure to cook it first. Otherwise, ducks could easily choke on uncooked rice. Refrain from feeding ducks junk food such as potato chips and sweets as this can cause ducks to gain weight, which in turn puts a strain on their legs and can make swimming difficult for them.
Ducks can die from a salt overdose, so be sure to refrain from feeding ducks food with too much salt in it. Contrary to popular belief, bread is also bad for ducks because it contains empty carbs and has no nutritional value for ducks.
Bread is particularly bad for ducklings because not only do they need as much nutrition as possible as they grow, but they will learn to rely on handouts from humans instead of learning to forage on their own.
If you really want to treat your ducks, feeding them scrambled eggs is the way to go. Ducks enjoy this and it’s a great source of protein for them as well. You can also feed them insects, fish, shrimp, and other types of cooked meat, so long as there is no seasoning on it.
How to Feed Ducks Safely
When feeding ducks, be sure to scatter food for them on the water as opposed to on land. This is because while they are on land, they tend to be at risk to other predators or even dogs.
Be sure to avoid feeding ducks when there are too many of them because this can encourage aggression between ducks as they fight over food.
Make sure that you are also only feeding ducks in areas where it’s permitted. Most of the time there are signs posted in public places that will say whether or not you can feed the ducks.
How to Care for Wild Baby Ducks
Unfortunately, there are times when a mother duck can be separated from her ducklings. Without her around, her baby ducks don’t have much of a chance of survival. You can help care for them so long as you know what you’re doing.
First, make sure to keep the wild ducklings inside if you can and under a heat source so they can stay warm. Be sure there’s grass in their cages that they can use for warmth. Once the ducklings start getting older, you can start taking the heat source away.
Be sure to feed the ducklings and provide water for them at all times. However, make sure the bowl is shallow enough that the ducklings won’t be able to accidentally drown.
After about 10 days, the ducks should be able to start swimming. Provide them with a kiddie pool but make sure to keep an eye on them as they practice.
Make sure that the area in which the ducks are kept in stays clean, otherwise bacteria could start to form and the ducks could get seriously ill. Their water should also be changed out frequently as ducks will often use it as a bathroom.
Keeping Ducks as Pets
If you’ve adopted ducks as pets of your own, you’ll find that they are rather easy to take care of and not as demanding as other pets. Ducks can live for up to 20 years, so keep that in mind when you consider adopting one as they will likely be with you for a long time.
Ducks need to live outdoors and don’t do well inside of your home. This means you’ll have to create a pen or enclosed area for them outside. Be sure to provide them with a safe shelter when they are outside so that you can keep them safe from potential predators.
They are also social creatures, which means they either need lots of attention from you, or need to be kept with other ducks.
Believe it or not, ducks can be trained just like any other animal. You simply need to be patient with them and interact with them often.
When feeding them, be sure to use unmedicated food and, as mentioned earlier, keep them away from bread and other junk food that isn’t healthy for them. Ducks are fans of vegetables so include this in their diets as well.
The one thing that many people fail to consider about ducks is that they poop a lot. As a result, you should be prepared to deal with that. If you have a garden, this could prove very beneficial for you as manure is great for your soil.
Before adopting a duck as a pet, make sure you have all the right materials necessary to care for a duck. This includes a cage or an enclosure for them to live in, a pool or pond for them to swim, the right food, and fresh water.
Different Types of Ducks
There are dozens of types of ducks out there, with mallards being the most common. Ducks can be identified by their colors, feathers, and differing sizes. Different types of ducks also have different behaviors and even feeding habits.
Dabblers, for example, are a type of duck known for tipping up when looking for food underwater. They do this because they are using their beaks to dig through the mud to find plants and insects that may be living underground.
Diving ducks also hunt underwater and dive under the surface to look for food. They are oftentimes a bit awkward on land because this type of duck prefers to be in the water.
Merganser ducks are born with narrow and hooked bills that have serrated edges. This helps them to be good hunters that show no mercy toward their prey. Perching ducks are named due to the fact that they can oftentimes be found perching on tree branches.
Perching ducks are able to stand on branches using their long talons and webbed feet, which gives them more balance and grip.
Another type of duck is the sea duck. These birds live on the coast and have special glands that help them tolerate ocean water. They also have thick feathers that help insulate them and keep them warm in colder climates.
Teal ducks are another type of duck that are known for their brightly colored feathers. Unlike ducks that like to dive for their food, teal ducks prefer to feed on the edge of the water. Whistling ducks are most often found in tropical climates and have long legs and necks, which isn’t a typical characteristic in ducks.
Their names come from the fact that they give off shrill whistling sounds that can be heard from a distance. Stifftail ducks are another species of duck that are also very obviously named for their features. They have stiff tails that they use to help them when swimming.
Stifftail ducks also use their tails to mark their territory or as a way to attract female ducks. Their bills are typically very colorful while their bodies are very compact.
Scoter ducks are another type of duck that are bulky and have brightly colored bills. They typically live in Northern regions near marine areas. They also prefer living in rocky areas that may not be suitable for other types of ducks.