Skip to Content

Can Ducks Eat Bread?

*This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclaimer for additional details.

People have been feeding bread to ducks in parks for years, but have you ever wondered if bread is okay for ducks to eat? Ducks eat a variety of foods, but when it comes to bread, things are not cut and dry.

Can ducks eat bread? Ducks can eat bread since it is not dangerous to them, but bread also isn’t a good healthy food source.

Bread should be considered a treat for ducks, whether at the park or on your farm. Bread should only be fed to ducks in moderation to make sure that it does not interfere with their normal diet.

Bread is a processed food that does not pack a lot of nutritional value for humans, and the same is true for ducks.

While bread will keep a starving duck alive, bread cannot be used as a replacement for a duck’s regular diet. A duck’s digestive system is simply not designed to handle processed foods, including bread, regularly. 

ducks eating piece of bread on the floor

How Safe Is Bread for Ducks?

Bread is safe for ducks to eat in small or regulated amounts. Bread is not innately harmful for ducks, and their digestive systems can process bread when needed.

Bread works best as a treat along with a duck’s normal diet. In moderation, bread is a great added treat for ducks and can help them stay well fed during the winter months when natural foods are scarce.

Is Bread Healthy for Ducks?

Bread is not extremely healthy for ducks because it does not have a lot of nutrients or antioxidants that benefit them.

Bread does have calories and carbohydrates, which means that it can help hungry ducks that need to gain or maintain their weight.

When food is hard to find, bread is better for ducks than absolutely nothing. (source)

Couple sitting on the boad feeding ducks with their bread

Can Bread Kill Ducks?

Bread does not specifically kill ducks, but overfeeding bread to ducks can lead to malnutrition. If a duck eats too much bread, they will not eat their normal food.

If this continues for a significant amount of time, their bodies can suffer from malnutrition due to a lack of needed vitamins and nutrients.

A severely malnourished duck can die if conditions do not improve immediately. Feeding a small amount of bread to healthy ducks will not lead to death.

Can You Feed Moldy Bread to Ducks?

You should never, never feed moldy bread to ducks. Moldy bread fed to ducks could contain a fungus called Aspergillus spp. which can infect ducks and cause severe upper respiratory issues. This fungus can even cause death in ducks.

Make sure you throw away any bread that is moldy and never let your ducks eat it or even get near it. (source)

Is Stale Bread Safe for Ducks?

Stale bread that recently went out of date is safe to feed to ducks, in small amounts. You can feed ducks stale bread as long as it has not become moldy, hot, or fermented.

Fermented bread will have an alcohol smell and should be immediately thrown away.

What Kind of Bread Is Best for Ducks?

Different types of bread include different levels of vitamins and nutrients, depending on ingredients and how it was processed. Plain white bread is often the least healthy type of bread since it has the lowest amount of fiber and nutrient content.

Grainy breads like wheat, seeded, or whole grain are healthier and considered the best bread option as a treat for ducks.

How Much Bread Can I Feed Ducks?

You should limit the amount of bread you feed to ducks. Bread is a treat for ducks and should only be fed in moderation. A couple small pieces fed to a healthy duck is more than enough for the day.

Make sure that your ducks are also being fed more healthy foods like cracked corn or specialty formulated duck food. Backyard ducks should be given their regular, healthy food to eat along with their bread treats.

What Household Foods Are Safe for Ducks?

Looking for a treat other than bread to gift to your ducks? You can safely feed some other household foods as duck treats. Cracked corn, watermelon, oats, sweet corn, broccoli, and frozen peas are all safe foods for domesticated and wild ducks.

Avoid feeding any noticeably old, rotten, or moldy foods to your ducks, even if the food comes from your house. Ducks need healthy, clean food to thrive, just like humans, so these foods should go into the compost instead of going to your ducks.

Blond woman sitting on river bank and feeding ducks bread

Things to Keep in Mind About Bread and Ducks

1. Bread can be fed to ducks in small amounts.
2. Bread should never replace a duck’s normal diet.
3. Ducks can be fed a little extra bread when food is scarce.
4. Monitor ducks for signs of malnutrition or weight loss.
5. Stop feeding bread if your ducks refuse to eat their regular food.

Final Thoughts

Ducks are adorable little waddling creatures that love to get treats from their owners or from parkgoers. If you are feeding them bread, that is okay! Just make sure that you are feeding it sparingly and only giving a few pieces a day to each duck. If ducks eat bread in moderation and continue to eat their regular diet, they should be absolutely fine!