Traditionally, we didn't think twice before taking a bag of bread down to the local park to feed the ducks.

More recently, however, various campaigns from Canal and River Trust and Swan Lifeline have educated us on the array of healthy alternatives for our aquatic wildlife.

Whilst small amounts of bread are perfectly fine to feed, it might surprise you to learn that there are plenty of foods in your own kitchen that ducks and swans will gobble up just as heartily. In this post we'll explore a few common questions about feeding ducks as well as the best foods to offer.

Can ducks eat bird food?

There's no harm in feeding wild bird food to ducks, however, it's not ideal for feeding birds when they're on the water. Most of the seeds and grains in wild bird seed will simply sink, clogging up riverbeds, encourage bacteria growth and costing you lots of money!

On the ground, liberal handfuls of bird seed will be greatly appreciated by ducks, swans, geese and any other wild birds.

Can ducks eat suet pellets?

Suet, or animal fat, isn't a part of ducks natural diet and therefore suet pellets should not be fed to ducks.

Ducks are greedy creatures, and whilst they won't hesitate to chow down on some suet pellets, suet is not a food that ducks can digest easily.

Specialist bird food for Ducks and Swans

There are several varieties of duck and swan food on the market that have been developed specifically to meet their needs.

Look out for foods that contains fish, crustaceans and insect based ingredients which resemble a ducks natural diet. Many of these products also contain added vitamins and minerals providing extra nutritional value.

It's important to buy duck foods that floats, making it easier for the birds to reach them and preventing the pellets from sinking and going mouldy.

Duck food from your kitchen

Faced with a last minute trip to the park? Don't worry, there are plenty of healthy foods in your kitchen you can quickly grab on your way out of the house.

and if you're planning a trip, you'll be pleased to know that you can pick up all of these foods very cheap from supermarkets, corner shops, or your local farm shop.

1. Sweetcorn: Any kind of sweetcorn is fine for ducks. Fresh, tinned, or frozen (defrost first).

2. Lettuce: Some leftover lettuce at the bottom of your bag? Don't bin it! Simply rip it into pieces and treat your local ducks. Rocket, Kale and Iceberg are all great choices.

3. Frozen peas: Tip some frozen peas into a bag or pot and leave them for a couple of hours until they're soft. Then you're ready to grab and go.

4. Oats: Any old bag of oats will do for the ducks. They're not picky about brand!

5. Seeds: Wild bird seed mixes are suitable for ducks, but for a cheaper option you can pick up small bags of pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, and sunflower seeds from most food shops.

6. Rice: Uncooked rice,m boiled rice, leftover chinese rice - it's all fine for ducks.