Feeding ducks with a loaf of bread is a common sight, but bread is actually not a very suitable food for a duck.
It fills them up, but offers little in the way of nutrition. Could oats be a better alternative to feed to both wild and domestic ducks?
Let’s take a look at whether ducks can eat oats, what kind of oats they can eat, and whether oats will float if we feed them to ducks on water.
Oats are a great choice of food to give to ducks and they can eat them. Oats provide good nutritional value and are easy for a duck to digest, oats are great for feeding both wild and domesticated ducks.
That’s the summary, ducks can eat oats.
Now let’s take a closer look into some of the most frequently asked questions about feeding oats to ducks.
What kind of oats can ducks eat
Ducks will eat pretty much any kind of oats.
Oats will generally come in three variations:
- Quick-cooking oats
- Steel-cut oats
- Rolled oats
- Instant oats
These are all perfectly safe for ducks to eat; however, I have found that the large and flat shape of rolled oats means that they float better.
Smaller oats can quickly soak up the water and sink, which isn’t much good if you’re feeding ducks on a pond.
Instant oats in particular are made to cook quickly and so are very absorbent, they don’t usually last too long on the water’s surface before sinking down.
But in terms of whether a duck will eat any kind of oats, they certainly will if they can get to them!
Health benefits of oats for ducks
Oats are an incredibly nutrient rich food source. Here are just some of the main benefits ducks can get from eating oats.
Antioxidants are believed to reduce the risk of a wide range of diseases, including heart disease and cancers.
Antioxidants do this by reducing the number of free radicals in the body.
Free radicals are atoms that attach themselves to cells in the body.
These cells are then identified as an invader and damaged or destroyed, hence leading to serious diseases.
So the fewer free radicals, the lower the chance of one of these diseases occurring.
Manganese helps to form antioxidants. These, in turn, can help to rid the body of harmful ‘free radicals’.
Free radicals are isolated atoms that bind themselves to cells in the body. The body then treats this cell as an invader and it is damaged or destroyed.
That can lead to a whale host of health issues and even cancer.
Manganese also helps to support good bone health, working with nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D.
This mineral works alongside calcium to help maintain strong bones.
Magnesium is an essential macro-mineral.
It helps to maintain good nerve and muscle function, supporting the immune system, keeping bones nice and strong and maintaining a steady heartbeat.
This mineral is vital for the formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin.
Those, in turn, are responsible for carrying oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.
Zinc is used in enzymes, proteins and hormones and also helps to maintain a healthy immune system and thyroid function.
This vitamin helps to maintain the correct function of the nervous system, brain, muscles, heart, stomach, and intestines.
This is a vital vitamin that helps to produce red blood cells as well as converting food into energy.
How to feed ducks oats
Ducks aren’t picky when it comes to eating oats.
They can eat oats that have been cooked into a porridge or they can eat oat based bars like flapjacks.
Ducks should not be fed oats that have been coated in other unhealthy ingredients, like sugar.
The best way to feed oats to ducks is to use uncooked oats.
These can be mixed into your ducks usual food if they are pets, or if they are wild ducks you can simply throw a handful on land or water for them to enjoy.
Do oats float
Dry oats do tend to float quite well, making them ideal for feeding ducks on a lake.
The wider, thinner oats perform the best. The larger the surface area of the oats the better they will float.
Rolled oats are ideal due to their wide flat shape.
Eventually, any type of oats will absorb so much water that they will sink, so be sure not to feed ducks overwhelming amounts of oats.
Throw them a handful at a time and wait until they have finished off most of the oats currently floating before throwing any more.