Do Ducks Eat Grass (Is It OK & Do They Need It)

If you’ve been duck watching or have ducks of your own you’re bound to have seen them eating grass at least once.

Sure, it’s pretty normal for poultry to eat grass from time to time. But still, watching ducks eat grass, you can’t help but wonder why they’re doing it!

Whether you’re just curious or you’re concerned about a duck you’ve just seen wolfing down countless blades of grass, we’ve got you covered.

Here’s whether ducks eat grass and why they do it, what the potential risks or benefits are, and whether ducks need to be raised on grass.

Do Ducks Eat Grass?

If you’ve spent enough time around ducks you will have noticed that they absolutely love foraging. 

Just like chickens and other poultry, ducks will make their way around their yard eating pretty much everything in their path, from insects to plants, to pasture. But do they really, purposefully eat grass?

Well, in fact, they do!

Both ducks in the wild and domesticated ducks will eat grass regularly.

They are not too fussy about what kind of grass either, so long as it’s tender enough for them to break off with their beaks. It’s normal for ducks to chow down on most types of lawn grass, but they’ll generally avoid tougher longer pastures. Even ducklings in the wild will eat grass!

Why Do Ducks Eat Grass?

You may have heard that cats or dogs will eat grass when they’ve got an upset stomach. Could it be that ducks eat grass for the same reasons?

Unlikely, as ducks eat grass too frequently and far too routinely.

Instead, it’s more likely that ducks simply eat grass as part of their normal, balanced diet. So, there’s no reason to be concerned if your ducks are eating grass, as long as it’s in moderation of course.

You see, grass is highly nutritious for poultry, being a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. This makes it a great addition to their daily diet.

Even so, there’s no reason to offer grass to your ducks to eat as a meal. But, it’s completely safe for them to eat it straight out of the ground, so long as it’s in any normal amounts. It’s just their way of getting extra nutritional value in! 

Can Ducks Eat Too Much Grass?

Ducks eating a few bites of grass every now and then while they forage — completely harmless.

Ducks wolfing down a whole clump of grass — a little more concerning.

Just like with all foods, ducks should only eat grass when it’s in moderation, and never as a substitute or replacement for their normal feed.

If a duck eats too much grass it will mean they are forgoing eating as much of their normal feed. Inevitably, they may be missing out on other important vitamins, nutrients, and macro-nutritional needs.

Furthermore, since grass is very high in fiber, your ducks may experience digestive problems if they eat too much grass. 

Luckily ducks aren’t stupid. They will normally only consume a few blades of grass here and there rather than making a whole meal of it!

Can Ducks Eat Grass Clippings?

You may notice some ducks go crazy for freshly mowed lawn. Maybe it’s the smell, maybe it’s because they now have easier access to the newly visible ground below.

Some ducks may even try to eat some of the grass clippings, which can seem quite strange, and I totally feel your concern.

The same rule applies here: so long as it’s in moderation, it’s normally going to be OK.

Though, there are not too many benefits of your ducks eating grass clippings so it’s better to just collect them and use them for compost instead!

Just to add, ducks should never eat grass that’s been treated with pesticides or fertilizers. So take extra care to avoid using these substances on your lawn if you own ducks!

Do Ducks Need Grass?

So with all this talk of ducks eating grass and how beneficial it can be, do ducks actually NEED grass?

Well, it’s not 100% needed. But grass, lawn, or pastures normally provide ducks with some cover, comfort, and a place they can forage for insects, grubs, plants, and fruits. Free-ranging ducks on grass or pasture is certainly beneficial for their health and wellbeing.

In terms of their direct diet, ducks don’t NEED to eat grass. So long as they are receiving their adequate macro and micro-nutritional needs, they’ll be a healthy a happy duck!

Do You Need To Raise Ducks On Grass?

If you don’t have access to lawn or grass, is it even ethical to raise backyard ducks?

Well, it doesn’t need to be grass specifically, but it should be some kind of grassland, shrubbery, woodland, or wetland environment, and ideally access to a pond of some kind.

If you have an open space but lack greenery for your ducks to forage on you can always feed them more healthy plants and vegetables to compensate.

Ducks love fruits and vegetables like zucchini, berries, and most types of leafy greens.

You should avoid raising ducks or chickens on artificial grass too — it’s simply unsuitable.

Will Pet Ducks Ruin My Lawn?

Well, it depends on what you mean by ruin.

If ducks have a large enough environment, their normal behavior and activities can actually be beneficial for your lawn, eating slugs and snails, and other garden pests.

However, they do have the capability of ruining lawns too. If you only have a small space for your ducks to forage, they will likely go through it over and over, eating weeds, grass, and everything in their path.

They won’t absolutely devastate your backyard, but there’s a good chance they’ll end up feeding on some of it! 

Final Words

Ducks are creatures of habit and love to routinely forage and scavenge, making up a good portion of their diet.

Part of this activity inevitably means your ducks will end up eating some grass.

The good news?

Grass is completely healthy for ducks to consume, so long as it’s only in moderation and hasn’t been treated with fertilizers or nasty pesticides.

Still, there’s no need to offer it to them as a meal, they will simply have some as they forage to balance out their diet as required.

Although ducks don’t need grass, it’s highly beneficial for them in many ways!

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