fish hanging on hook against blurred background

Do Ducks Eat Fish? (Answered)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

If you keep ducks as pets or you rear them for their eggs, then you must have wondered what kind of food you can feed your ducks

Ducks enjoy playing in water, so it’s only ideal to find out if they can eat fish and even if the enjoy eating it

Do ducks eat fish? Ducks can eat fish both raw and cooked fish. Fish is a very delicious and nutritious food as it contains high amounts of proteins, vitamins and minerals. Ducks will regularly eat small fishes and fish eggs as their beaks allow them to swallow them whole.

What are the health benefits of fish to ducks?

Do Ducks Eat Fish
Photo by Meru Bi on

Before you feed your ducks fish, you need to know what are the health benefits your birds will get from consuming fish.

The simple truth is that fish is a highly nutritious food source filled with lots of vitamins and minerals that are very good for your birds.

Here are some of the nutrients your birds will get by eating fish

1. Fish is very rich in protein

Proteins are an essential nutrients for birds and poultry because they play a very significant role in your ducks growth, egg production, immune system, adaptation to their environment and lots of other biological functions.

In fact it has been mentioned by researchers and poultry specialists that proteins make up to 22% of the overall diet of your birds (depending on the size, age, breed and the weight).

Also it has been discovered that ducks will respond differently to proteins in their diet depending on the quality of the protein and the amino acids provided.

Using low quality protein to feed your birds will not have the same effect on their growth, feed efficiency and egg laying quality.

So as someone who cares about the health and growth of your birds you want to ensure that you feed them high quality proteins in their diet

This is where using fish as a part of the diet for feeding your birds come into play

Fish should be the main component of your bird’s feed so that they can get the right proteins in the right proportion.

2. Fish is high in important nutrients

Fish is packed with lots of minerals and nutrients that are essential to the healthy growth of your birds.

This includes high quality protein, iodine, vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids.

Fatty species are usually considered the healthiest and these include salmon, trout, sardines, tuna and mackerel.

They also contain omega 3 fatty acids which is crucial for optimal body and brain functions of your birds and also strongly linked to a reduced risk of many diseases

To meet the required omega 3 fatty acids that your birds need, make sure you add fish to their diets at least twice a week.

3. Fish contains nutrients that are crucial for development of ducks

Like I mentioned earlier, fish contains omega 3 fatty acids which are essential for the growth and development of your birds.

The omega 3 fat also called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is very important for the brain and eye development of your bird.

For this reason alone it is very important that you always feed your ducks with fish. Make sure that you make this a part of their diet so your birds can grow up to be healthy and in good condition.

4. Fish is a good dietary source of vitamin D for ducks

If you know anything about vitamin D, then you will know that it is a steroid hormone that helps boost the immune system of your birds.

Fish and fish products are some of the best dietary sources for vitamin D and fish like salmon and herring contain the highest amounts.

Also Some fish oils, such as cod liver oil, are also very high in vitamin D, providing more than 200% of the Daily Value (DV) in a single tablespoon (15 ml).

5.  Fish may reduce the risk of autoimmune diseases in your birds

Another very important benefit of fish diet in your birds is that it boosts their immune systems and reduces the risk of deadly diseases happening to your birds.

Here is a complete list I wrote of foods you can feed ducks with

What are the best types fish to offer ducks?

Now that we know that fish is very nutritious and essential for your birds, let’s look as some of the type of fishes that you can feed to your birds

  • Cod
  • Haddock
  • Pollock
  • Tuna
  • Halibut
  • Tilapia
  • Shellfish (Shrimps/Prawns)
  • Minnows
  • Feeder GoldFish
  • Catfish
  • Bluegill
  • Carp
  • Bass

You can see that there are lots of options that you can use when you want to feed your birds and most of these options are things that you eat regularly and can get from your local store.

So it is very easy to incorporate these in the diet you feed your birds because you can always buy more from the store or just gather the leftovers and feed your birds

Look to offer a variety to your birds. 

This will help to expand their nutrition and can also help you to see what they like and what they do not. 

From there you can get a better understanding of their preferences.

Be sure never to offer any spoiled fish, or fish that you suspect is going off.

Can ducks eat fish bones?

Ducks will eat fishes and the bones but one thing you need to be aware of is depending on the size and sharpness of the bone it may harm your birds.

Fish bones can also splinter and break and this can cause harm to your birds while swallowing or digesting the bones

So what you can do is to remove any sharp bones or grind them into smaller sizes before you feed your birds.

One part of fishes which ducks tend to enjoy is the shells of particular fishes such as shrimps and crayfish.

Bones in small fishes like sardines will usually not cause any issues for your birds.

Can ducks eat fish guts?

Yes ducks can eat fish guts but you want to make sure that they are cooked before feeding it to them.

This is because sometimes fish guts contain tapeworms which can cause more harm than good to your birds.

Do ducks eat fish eggs?

Yeah ducks can also eat fish eggs.

Fish eggs and fish oils contain very nutritious and important minerals and vitamins that are very important to the growth of your birds.

Fish eggs can also be used as duck treats for your ducks and trust me when I say that your birds will absolutely love them.

How to feed fish to your ducks

One good thing about ducks is that they can consume fish both raw and cooked and this makes it very easy to feed them.

But basically there are 2 ways that you can feed fish to your birds

The first way is to feed it to them raw

This works for smaller fishes like sardines and shrimps (with the shells)

So you can simply place them in their coop or feeders or mix them with other treats that you want to give them.

The other way is to offer it to them cooked

This is ideal when you are offering them leftovers from your family meals or you want to offer them a particular serving like salmon or cod.

When cooking fish for ducks, you want to ensure that it is boiled, poached, baked or grilled

Also make sure that it does not have any condiments or flavourings as this can be a cause of additional fat which can cause issues for the birds.

You may even want to cut up the fish prior to offering it. 

This helps with much larger fish, or fish that contains a lot of larger bones. 

You will be able to remove them and keep them away from your birds.

Can ducks eat fish food?

Ducks can also eat fish food and pellets that are floating in your pond.

As long as the ducks are over a week old, you can feed them fish pellets in your ponds and they will reach out and eat them.

In my opinion, I do not think you will have any issues feeding your ducks fish food.

They are healthy and most times will make great treats for feeding your birds


Ducks can eat fish and it is very safe for them to do so.

Fish is a great source of protein and contains very important minerals and vitamins that are ideal for the growth and wellbeing of your birds.

Photo of author

About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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