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Can Ducks Eat Bird Seed?

There are many different species of birds around the world and one that always stands out to us the most are ducks. These aquatic birds are much smaller than swans and geese. They are found in both freshwater and seawater, and they can also often be found in backyards as pets.

Finding information about their care and feeding habits as domesticated pets can be challenging, and you may be there wondering whether it is possible to feed your duck regular birdseed. This is an interesting question and one we will explore further.

So, can duck’s eat birdseed? Yes, ducks can eat birdseed. Regular birdseed is not harmful to ducks in any way and it is a completely acceptable form of feed for them. Ducks actually really like seeds and grains and generous handfuls of birdseed fed to ducks can be a very nutritious meal.

Birdseed is generally greatly appreciated by ducks and therefore this can be a very healthy snack or meal for them. It can be easily bought from pet stores and online shops and is reasonably cheap to buy in bulk.

How much birdseed is safe for ducks to eat?

Consumption levels for ducks vary quite considerably depending on their weight and size. For instance, a fully grown adult duck can consume far more birdseed that a duckling or a duck that has not yet grown to full weight.

In very broad terms you should expect your average size duck to consume around 6–7 oz per day which translates to 170g–200g. This quantity can increase or decrease depending on the size of the duck in question.

More often than not you will find that the amount you feed your duck will depend largely on their size and also their purpose. By purpose we mean, the reason why they are being raised.

Ducks are not only raised as pets. They are also raised for other purposes such as food production and egg-laying. As an example, a duck that is raised for food production is like to have a higher quantity of feed to fatten them up ready for slaughter.

The feed guideline above is a very good starting point for an owner that is raising their duck as a pet. You can then increase and decrease the amount accordingly to suit their health needs.

Should I feed my domesticated duck birdseed?

Birdseed is a great option for feeding your domesticated duck. We must remember that ducks are unable to chew and all food sources must be small enough for them to swallow whole. Otherwise, feeding could easily lead to a choking disaster.

Birdseed is an ideal consistency and size for feeding ducks. There is not much risk of this type of feed becoming a choking hazard and if I’m completely truthful, ducks absolutely love birdseed. They can’t seem to get enough of it.

This does not however mean you should be feeding them more than they need, but it would be considered a good everyday all-round option that meets most of their nutritional needs.

Ducks need around 16% of their diet to contain protein, making birdseed a very healthy meal for them. Seeds and nuts both contain high levels of protein that will provide your duck all they need in that respect if fed to them regularly enough.

If you plan to feed your ducks treats throughout the day such as mixed corn, leafy vegetables, and grasses it is always best to provide birdseed as the first meal of the day. Otherwise, your duck is likely to overfeed on the tasty treats and not have enough room for the seeds which is considered the more nutritional meal.

Can wild ducks eat birdseed?

Wild ducks do not tend to come across birdseed very often due to its manmade properties. The only time a wild duck would likely come across birdseed is if it is fed this by us humans.

If you fancy feeding the ducks in the local park however, it is perfectly fine for them to consume birdseed. They are no different in this regard than domesticated ducks.

The only difference is that you are unaware of what they may have already consumed that day or how many others have been feeding them so it is always best to be cautious and not overfeed.

It is fair to say that wild ducks spend far more of their time in the water than domesticated ducks do and therefore this is something to consider when feeding feral ducks. Birdseed suits them quite well when they are feeding on the land however it is not ideal for them when they are on the water.

This may sound a bit obvious, but you will be surprised how many people will throw birdseed into the water for ducks to eat. Most of the birdseed will sink, clog up drains and in the long run end up costing you money! It also is a breeding ground for bacteria growth. If feeding birdseed or grains limit your feeding space on land only.

What are some common ingredients in birdseed for ducks?

Most bird seeds on the market today contain a whole mix of seeds giving ducks the ultimate taste explosion. Some plainer versions contain only a couple of types of different seeds whilst the fancier varieties can contain 8-10 different types of seeds or more.

You will find in general that birdseed is formulated to suit a particular type of bird. For instance seeds such as thistles are known to be highly attractive to finches therefore this type of bird feed is specifically targeted to that breed.

There is not necessarily a specific type of seed that predominantly attracts ducks however for the most part these guys do not need an awful lot of coaxing. They love their food and are not that fussy which can often result in them getting hold of foodstuff that is not good for them.

Often you will notice that specific duck food is sold as pellets or kibble. It still contains all the same goodness and ingredients as birdseed mixes but is formulated slightly differently. This can help eliminate waste as ducks will tend to wipe the plate clean as it were when eating pellets or kibble.

Here are some of the most common ingredients you can expect to find in lots of commercially available birdseed:

  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Thistle Seed
  • Safflower Seed
  • Millet
  • Corn
  • Milo
  • Nuts
  • Suet
  • Dried fruit

The Best Duck Food You Can Buy

Below are our top 3 favorite duck food options that you can purchase online.

1. Mr Johnsons Wild Life Swan Duck Food

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The Mr. Johnsons Wild Life Duck Food is a popular type of feed for ducks that is a complementary feed packed full of vitamins and minerals. It has been designed in bite-size pellets that are easy for ducks to eat and leaves very little waste.

The best part about this product is the floatable kibble which means these can be scattered in water and will not sink.


  • Bite size pellets that are easy for ducks to eat
  • Nutritious formula packed with vitamins and minerals
  • Floatable kibble for feeding on water meaning less wastage
  • Also suitable for Swans and Geese

Value for money

The Mr. Johnsons Wild Life Duck Food is a good value for money product. It is packed with quality ingredients and although the bag is on the smaller side compared to some of our other favorites there are much fewer wastage thanks to the floatable kibble. This one gets the thumbs up from us!

2. Manna Pro Duck Layer Pellets

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The Manna Pro Duck Layer Pellet is a popular brand that is well known for selling a whole range of animal-related feed products at reasonable prices. This is a great feed for ducks as it is formulated as a complete feed providing all the nutrition your duck will need.

Formulated with probiotics for digestive health and containing no antibiotics this premium feed is sure to be a winner in any duck household.


  • Simple ingredients and complete for daily use
  • No antibiotics or unnecessary ingredients
  • Large bag that is long lasting
  • Formulated with pro biotics for digestive health

Value for money

We couldn’t believe how cheap this feed was for such a big brand. The size of the bag is plentiful and will be sure to last a long time. Providing you have the storage for this we think this is a great value for money products that will cater to most budgets.

3. Manna Pro Duck Starter Grower Crumble

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Manna Pro Duck Starter Grower Crumble has been specifically designed for ducklings and goslings. It has a very similar formula to our number 2 spot since it is produced by the same brand.

This is also a non-medicated formula that has been designed with duckling’s tiny beaks in mind. The grit consistency is easy for them to eat and is high in protein which helps with proper growth.


  • High in protein to assist with growth
  • Non medicated and antibiotic free for safe feeding
  • Grit formula which are easy for ducklings to get their tiny beaks around
  • Large bag that is long lasting

Value for money

The Manna Pro Duck Starter Grower Crumble is a fantastic value for money and very much like its sister products comes in a large 25lb bag for ultimate convenience. We think this a great product that does what it says on the bag, at a very reasonable price.

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