I’m glad you are asking can ducks eat bird seed because that means you won’t feed them bread.
Ducks can eat bird seeds, and even though full of nutrients, and proteins, bird seeds are full of fat and fiber that can be counterproductive if ducks overeat in a short time.
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So read more to find out how to feed them bird seeds properly.
Bird Seed – Common Ingredients
Depending on the manufacturer and the quality of bird seed you buy, you can expect some of these seeds mixed:
- sunflower seed (black oil, striped)
- safflower seeds
- white millet
- cracked corn
- peanut kernels (other nuts like almonds, pistachio)
- pumpkin seed
- nyjer seed
- chia seed
- sesame seed
- thistle seed
- flax seed
Now, in some bird seed packages, you will notice dried pieces of vegetables and fruits.
All the seeds above are beneficial for ducks if given in moderation.
Keep in mind that all the seeds are high-energy food that is usually not so high in protein. (even though some brands are selling high-protein bird seeds).
So, bird seeds should not be their primary diet. Ducks need a well-balanced diet with much more protein and less fiber.
Adult ducks only need 5% of the fiber in their daily diet. Now, you know seeds are rich in fiber, and ducks should only eat bird seeds as a supplement.
Don’t forget that the carbohydrates from bird seed provide a quick energy boost.
Bird seed is not high protein food. You will often find only 5% of protein on bird seed package labels.
Some more quality brands will have almost 15% of protein, but the fiber level is so high that you can’t rely on this food as the main diet for your ducks.
Or for the ones in the park as well. You probably won’t invest in high-quality duck pellets for local ducks from the local park.
In that case, whatever you give them will be better than bread. But your domestic ducks deserve high-quality and balanced feed.
If given in moderation, bird seed will positively stimulate the immune system of ducks. It will reduce potential inflammation, thanks to antioxidants.
Also, the cardiovascular system will benefit from all the nutrients duck will get from bird seed.
Don’t Forget – Some bird seed blends can have up to 30% fat. So remember that if you overfeed them, you can do more harm than good.
Is Bird Seed Safe for Ducks – Possible Choking Hazard
Again, depending on your chosen brand, there can be bigger sunflower or pumpkin seeds that are also pretty dry and sharp.
Seeds like this can be a choking hazard for smaller ducks (especially ducklings).
Even if a ducks swallow it, it may struggle with digesting these kinds of seeds.
So it is always good to give them a mix with tiny or bigger seeds that are crushed or cut in half.
Always look at it that way – it will help your ducks to swallow and digest food that is crushed or deshelled.
What Kind of Bird Seed Can Ducks Eat
You will find bird seed mixes on the market containing 5 or 10 different seeds.
For example, one of Wagner’s bird seed mixes contains:
- black oil sunflower seeds
- white millet
- nyjer seeds
- milo seed
- peanut kernels
- and cracked corn
You can find bird seeds containing only sunflower seeds with and without shells.
Plus, some mixes also have dried mealworms ducks will love. These types are slightly higher in protein.
All the combinations and blends are okay for ducks as long as you do not give them too much. If you have too much parrot food at home, your ducks could also use it as a snack.
On the market, you will find different mixed for wild birds, parrots, pigeons, and more.
And always, the same things, read the labels to see if the food is high in fiber and fat (and probably is), set the limits, and don’t allow your ducks to eat too much.
Can Baby Ducks Eat Bird Seed
Ducklings tend to struggle to digest some of the seeds that are dry or not crushed well.
Also, that amount of fiber is not what they need in that early stage.
Ducklings need around 20-22% of the protein in the first two weeks; in the third week, they need approximately 17% protein in their diet.
It means bird seed won’t meet these requirements. So, as a snack, you could give it to your ducks; it won’t hurt.
But it’s best practice to focus on their feed for ducklings that will make healthy with strong joints and bones.
Key Takeaway – If you are still wondering can 6 week old ducks eat cracked corn or bird seed, I suggest waiting until they are 4 weeks if you want to give them a treat or two.
How Much Is Enough
Most people are not even sure can ducks eat bird food, and they give it anyways.
But the problem is they give ducks too much, thinking that ducks are the birds and that bird seed is just right for them.
And that bird seed is all the ducks need. And they are wrong.
If you need a number, 0.7 – 1.4 oz per duck (20-40 grams) daily would be enough.
I hope you understand that if you give one duck in one day 3.5oz (100 grams) of sunflower seeds, they will get:
- 20% of protein (which is too much for adults duck)
- 51% fat (which is dangerously high)
- And 8.6% fiber (that is also too much)
It’s clear that if a duck eats all that, it won’t be hungry anymore, but will it meet all nutrient needs for your duck?
The answer is no.
Formulating a perfect diet for ducks that will make your ducks healthy is not easy.
That is why feeding ducks with commercial (already mixed food is the best way to go). Giving them too many snacks is not suitable for their health.
Only 10% of their diet could be a snack or two.
However, when we overdo it, we cannot track how much zinc, calcium, arginine, copper, manganese, and other minerals and vitamins got into your duck’s system.
If their diet is not balanced, it will result in:
- soft-shelled eggs
- low-quality meat
- and ducks will more easily catch some diseases (because of all the missing vitamins and minerals they need)
That’s why I always point out that if you give them too many snacks, your ducks won’t get all the nutrients they need.
Tips for Feeding Ducks Bird Seed (Parks Ducks & Domestic)
If you are feeding your ducks, limit the bird seeds to 10% of their daily diet.
Also, if sunflower or pumpkin seeds are too big, you can crush them a bit.
Make sure there is always fresh water around. Seeds are delicious but will make them pretty thirsty.
Local Ducks – If you are feeding ducks in the park, I’m glad you are considering bird seeds and not bringing bread like most people.
Now, if you already notice a few people feeding them, you can be sure that ducks won’t be hungry today, so don’t give them more.
If you throw more seeds, it will only mold or attract pests like rats and squirrels. Or maybe you are alone with park ducks.
Then give them only a handful of seeds that they can eat. Don’t throw too much seeds if they can’t eat them.
And again, after you estimate every duck consumed 20-40 gr 0.7 – 1.4 oz seeds, stop giving them.
Seeds are full of fat and fiber that are not easy to digest and not perfect for the health if they overeat.
I hope you got the answer to the age-old question can ducks eat bird seed.
Ducks can eat wild bird seeds and they will eat almost as much as you give them.
So, make sure you read all the tips above and set the limits if you want to improve the health of your flock.