What Ducklings Eat In The Wild (& What You Can Feed Them)

I could watch ducklings for hours and hours. I’m convinced these beautiful creatures are the cutest baby animals there are.

If you’ve come across some wild ducklings in your local park or pond, you might be tempted to feed them. This begs the question: what do wild ducklings even eat?

Well, to tackle the question, here’s what ducklings eat in the wild, what you can feed them that’s considered safe and healthy, and what you should avoid feeding ducklings.

What Do Ducklings Eat In The Wild?

It’s not uncommon to come across ducklings at the local park, especially if it’s spring! 

But, although you might see them frequently and have even fed them before, have you ever thought to yourself, what do ducklings even eat in the wild?

Well, much like their parents, ducklings aren’t picky eaters and are natural scavengers! 

Ducks and ducklings are omnivores, meaning they can consume both plants and meat. Thus, a small ducky with this omnivorous instinct won’t care what it comes across – it’ll try and eat it. 

Here’s just a handful of things a duckling will eat in the wild:

Should You Feed Wild Ducklings?

Although you know what’s considered safe and healthy for wild ducklings to eat, should you really go out of your way to feed them?

Well, there’s a bit of a debate about this. Because the more you feed wild ducklings the more they will rely on humans to provide them food, instead of relying on natural food sources. 

Not only that, but it’s possible they will fill up on non-essential foods, and not consume enough of all their food groups to meet their macro nutritional needs.

Normally ducklings will follow their mother’s lead, and learn to find food in their natural environment.

So, the rule of thumb for feeding wild ducklings is: don’t make it a habit and only feed them what’s considered healthy and safe foods for ducklings.

What Should You Feed Wild Ducklings? 

So, if you’ve come across some wild ducklings, whether they’re lost or just at the local park, you should be sure to only feed them safe and healthy foods.

Remember, don’t feed them too much or too often as you want their main source of food to always be what they find in the wild.

With that in mind, here is a list of household or easy-to-source foods that are considered healthy and safe for ducklings to eat:

For an extensive list, take a look at 25 common foods you can feed ducklings as snacks.

But, it is just as important to know HOW to feed them as it is to know WHAT to feed them.

How To Feed Wild Ducklings

Remember, the rule of thumb when feeding wild ducklings is only to feed them in extreme moderation, and only things that will actually be considered healthy for them!

The best way to feed wild ducklings is to simply chop or break your food up into tiny bite-sized pieces and scatter it around the ducklings. This encourages foraging behavior, just like they do in the wild!

Avoid feeding the ducks by hand, unless they have already imprinted on humans and are used to it!

If you’re fostering some wild ducklings yourself then it’s OK to feed them small bite-sized foods. In this case, you should place the small pieces of food in a bucket of room temperature water, so that it softens the food for the ducklings!

What Should You Avoid Feeding Wild Ducklings?

As tempting as it is, to feed a wild duckling, you shouldn’t feed them just anything from the pantry. Although ducklings eat all sorts of things in the wild, they are all-natural and far from being processed.

Whether you’re feeding wild ducklings or domesticated ones, you should always avoid feeding them:

  • Bread
  • Popcorn
  • Sugary Cereal
  • Chips
  • Crackers
  • Chocolate
  • Avocados
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Nightshade Vegetables

To Summarize 

So, to quench your curiosity, ducklings will eat pretty much anything they can in the wild. Although it’s somewhat directed by their mother duck,  wild ducklings eat anything from grass, shrubs, greenery, insects, and grubs.

If you’ve come across some ducklings and you’re thinking about feeding them, just remember: only in moderation, and only foods considered healthy and safe.

You can feed ducklings foods like birdseed, non-citrus fruits, basic grains and oats, and soft vegetables.

Just avoid feeding ducklings bread, anything sugary, or anything processed!

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