Can Ducks Eat Bread? 4 Risks | Full Guide

Can Ducks Eat Bread

Bread is easy-to-go food but high in carbohydrates and low in nutrition. But can ducks eat bread? Is bread a healthy option for ducks? 

Ducks are a species of waterfowl and belong to the same family as swans and geese. Keeping ducks can be challenging, requiring much more attention and maintenance, unlike chickens.  

The low nutritional value of bread makes it a poor choice when it comes to ducks’ health, as it can lead to malnutrition-related illness.

Can Ducks Eat Bread?

While they can digest bread, it is not recommended to feed them bread every day. Its low nutritional value makes bread a bad choice for ducks. You may have seen in movies that people in the park are throwing small pieces of bread for ducks in the pond and happily lapping it up. But no, this is wrong. Bread is not good food to feed ducks. Also, feeding them crackers, biscuits, cereal, and popcorn is not advised. Such foods are considered junk food for ducks, and all these foods are unhealthy for them. 

Why is Bread Bad for Ducks?

Bread can cause ducks to become overweight and further make it difficult for them to fly, and also, ducks won’t be able to meet their nutritional requirements. Bread and other foods in this category have very little nutritional value, and it is relatively high in carbohydrates, fats, and sugars, which means it is just calories. Eating foods with large amounts of calories can be fattening. 

Bread has baking soda and other artificial flavoring, and rising agents that are not good for ducks and animals. Ducks cannot metabolize these kinds of processed foods, which could lead to serious gut issues and health problems for ducks. 

When you are feeding ducks bread, they will eat it all and fill themselves up with bread. Once the ducks are full, they will not want to eat anything else; this will further make them miss out on eating foods that are a part of their regular diet. Foods that are rich in nutrients are healthy and beneficial for them. 

Instead of bread, ducks can eat healthy foods such as :

  • Vegetable peel and scrapes
  • Koi fish feed
  • Raw grains (rice, oats, wheat, and barley)
  • Insects (crickets, mealworms)
  • Lettuce and other salad greens
  • Fruits (grapes)
  • Cracked corn
  • Commercial duck feed

4 Risks of Feeding Bread to Ducks

1: Bread Can Cause Deformities

Feeding them bread will make them poorly nourished because they are not getting the essential nutrients required by the body for growth and development. Malnutrition can cause young ducks to form angel wings or airplane wings—a common wing deformity associated with a high carbohydrate diet.

Angle wing is a condition that causes the last joint of the wing to become distorted. In this case, the last feathers stick out sideways instead of lying flat against the bird’s body. It can make flying difficult or impossible for them in adulthood.

2: Bread Can Make Ducks Prone to Lung Infection

The low nutritional value and high carbohydrate content lead to a good amount of excretion, which can carry bacteria and cause diseases like botulism and fatal lung infection.

3: Can Damage the Environment 

Feeding bread to ducks is also bad for the environment. All the leftover bread that is not eaten sinks and starts to rot in the water. The rotting bread will start to become food for the microscopic plants and algae and begin to grow—a lot more than necessary. 

All this algae overgrowth will now form a thick green covering on the lake, preventing the oxygen from penetrating the lake and resulting in all the fish inside the water dying. It will damage water bodies because the lake is now useless and dead. 

4: Can Stimulate Behavioural Changes

Eating bread every day can cause the ducks to become addicted to it. It will make them dependent on humans feeding them and lose their instinct to hunt and forage for food. It can lead to them abandoning their ducklings, and they will end up not teaching them basic survival instincts. The babies will grow up slow and insecure, and the more vital ducks and animals will pick on them in the area.

What to Do If Your Duck Has Eaten Bread?

If a duck ate some bread, it is ok as it will not kill them unless they consume it long-term. Just let them be. Their body will do what it can to break it down, and it will end up pooping it out later.


So, the answer to can ducks eat bread is no. Bread is not healthy for them to eat it. You should not feed bread to ducks. Bread is a processed food that contains a lot of synthetic ingredients. All such foods are bad for the duck’s gut because the body cannot break down these unnatural products. 

Bread also contains only carbs, fats, and sugars. All this makes it very high in calories. It is not good because overeating high-calorie foods can lead to ducks developing obesity and other health issues related to a poor diet. Bread is also burdensome on the environment as it can cause pollution and threaten and harm the ecosystem. Stick to feeding ducks grains, veggies, and fruits. A healthy diet is good for them in the long run. 


Can ducks die from eating bread?

No, ducks will not die from eating bread.

Can ducklings eat bread?

No, you should not feed ducklings bread. They should be fed foods rich in nutrients like worms, vegetable peels, and grains.

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Dedicated to the understanding and appreciation of the natural world, Andrew Daniel brings content for birds that are authentic and researched through reputable sources. Andrew Daniel combines all his experience, knowledge, and passion for updating the audience regarding the different habits of birds.