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The Comprehensive Details of Can Ducks Eat Slugs A Perfect Pairing For Diet

Updated: 13 Mar 2024


Having returned home last week, I was greeted with a rather depressing sight in my garden. Each cob of corn was hosting a slug at its tip, and not just the corn, but the zucchini and rhubarb were under siege too. It had been a battle with slugs for weeks, compounded by the heavy rain.

The soil was overrun, making the garden almost a write-off. I recalled a friend’s advice about ducks, especially mixed breed ones, and their knack for eating slugs. Can ducks eat slugs and snails?

Domesticated ducks, particularly Muscovies, have a reputation as ravenous pest controllers. They’re known to devour flies and other creatures, but slugs? These terrestrial beings, thriving in shady areas, are a different ball game.

I’ve seen ducks happily snack on aquatic creatures like snails, but slugs come with their own set of challenges. Their sticky mucus is a protection mechanism, often making them bad tasting to animals.

However, ducks, being opportunistic, might try to eat them, although they might ignore them in the future if the experience is unpleasant.

Can Ducks Eat Slugs:

In the wilderness of my homestead, spanning several acres, I’ve always been fascinated by the foraging behavior of ducks.

My flock, consisting of Muscovy, Silver Appleyard, and Welsh Harlequin, has been an integral part of maintaining balance in my vegetable gardens.

They are more than just animals; they are natural controllers of the slug population. Their daily routine involves foraging through perennial plants, kale, and chard, while keeping the slug and insect numbers in check.

As a duck flock owner, I’ve observed that different breeds have varying inclinations towards eating slugs. While some, like the large-breed ducks found on the West Coast, actively hunt down banana slugs, others might be less enthusiastic.

Can Ducks Eat Snails

In my experience, ducks serve as effective agents of slug control, especially in areas where pests threaten crops and garden vegetables.

Carol Deppe, in her book “The Resilient Gardener”, dedicates a chapter to the importance of ducks in gardens. She emphasizes the role of Anconas, a dual-purpose breed known for their egg-laying prowess and effective foraging habits.

Unlike other breeds where drakes often lead and are distracted by mating activity, Anconas follow a female leader, focusing on their task of hunting pests at dawn.

This behavior highlights the diverse roles different breeds play, from Runners and Khaki Campbells to the more meat breeds like Pekin, Aylesbury, and Rouen.

On my homestead, nestled near the Cascade Mountains, I’ve experimented with various mixed-breed ducks. The lady from whom I acquired them, a neighbor with little knowledge about ducks, couldn’t differentiate between males and females.

My flock, possibly a mix of Khaki Campbell, Blue Swede, and Rouen, exhibits unique foraging behaviors. They are housed in chicken tractors, which restricts my ability to observe their natural foraging habits fully.

However, my plan is to hatch babies from these mixed-breeds and perhaps even involve the domestic Mallards in the group, particularly a broody female, to see if their offspring show a propensity for slug control as effectively as their parents.

In my experience, while young ducks or ducklings aren’t trained to specifically target slugs, they can start to develop a taste for them.

The old notion that ducks only eat what they are trained to might not hold true. They learn to handle different foods over time, much like how they learn to break down crushed eggshells in their diet.

With my garden at stake, introducing ducks seemed like a better option than the daily ordeal of drowning or salting slugs.

Can Ducklings Eat Slugs?

When it comes to ducklings, their dietary requirements differ significantly from adult ducks. While they indeed can consume slugs, these young birds are typically better off with smaller, more digestible food sources.

Ideal options include daphnia, worms, or specially formulated duckling starter feed. If ducklings do eat slugs, it’s advisable to ensure these are small and offered in moderation.

As omnivores and opportunists, it’s natural for them to show interest in a variety of foods, but caution is key. Unlike baby ducks that might struggle to break the shells of snails, their bills are more suited to softer fare.

For the backyard duck owner, understanding these nuances is crucial in ensuring the healthy development of their ducks. A balanced diet, rich in insects, invertebrates, and plants, is vital for their growth, steering clear from over-reliance on potentially challenging foods like slugs at such a tender age.

Are Snails Good For Ducks?

Are Snails Good For Ducks?

In the context of ducks and their diet, the question of whether snails are a beneficial inclusion often arises. Indeed, snails are considered safe for waterfowl like ducks, primarily because they do not contain toxic chemicals that could cause harm.

This aspect is particularly reassuring for farmers and gardeners who might use ducks as a natural method to lessen snail populations in their yards or on land. Not only does this practice provide dietary benefits to the ducks, but it also aids in pest control without the use of harmful chemicals.

Therefore, incorporating snails into a duck’s diet can be a win-win situation, contributing positively to both the health of the ducks and the maintenance of a balanced ecosystem in gardens and farms.

High Protein Intake:

You might be surprised to learn that both snails and slugs are nutritionally rich in proteins, comparable to pork or beef. This is particularly relevant for Pekin ducks, which require about 20-22% protein in their diet during the first few weeks of life.

According to the National Library of Medicine, this makes snails and slugs a viable option for supplementing the protein needs of ducks.

While the common perception may not align slugs and snails with conventional poultry feed, their protein content makes them a surprisingly nutritious choice for a duck’s diet.

Ducks Natural Foraging:

In the wild, ducks exhibit a strong love for foraging, a behavior deeply ingrained in their nature. When habituated to eating snails, this foraging behavior becomes even more visible.

It helps these birds adapt to consuming a variety of different foods available in their natural environment. Snails, in particular, offer a nutritious option, enriching the ducks’ diet beyond the usual aquatic and terrestrial fare.

This dietary diversity not only benefits the ducks’ health but also contributes to their ability to thrive in various nature settings, underscoring the adaptability and resilience of these fascinating birds.

Ecological Pest Control:

Ducks-eating snails serve as an eco-friendly pest control for garden plants and crops. This natural method controls snail growth, benefiting both the garden’s health and providing ducks with a nutritious food source.

Is Snails And Slungs Improved Overall Health:

Ducks benefit greatly from eating snails, as these creatures are packed with health-enhancing nutrients. Snails are a source of low fat, helping ducks maintain an ideal weight.

They are rich in calcium, crucial for egg production, robust bone health, and the maintenance of feathers and muscle condition.

Additionally, snails provide essential vitamins such as Vitamin A, which bolsters the immune system and improves eyesight, and Vitamin E, along with B vitamins crucial for overall health.

The presence of iron in snails aids in the formation of healthy red blood cells and ensures efficient oxygen transport in the blood.

Minerals like magnesium, known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and selenium, an antioxidant, along with beneficial Fatty Acids such as Omega-3 for healthy cell membranes, enrich the nutritional value of snails for ducks.

The protein derived from plants and fungi that snails consume also contributes to a balanced diet. However, caution is necessary as there are risks associated with ducks consuming snails.

These creatures can carry parasites, including flukes, tapeworms, and nematodes, which might lead to illness in ducks. The slime of snails can harbor bacteria such as salmonella, listeria, pseudomonas, and clostridia, posing health risks.

Additionally, snails feeding on decaying matter might ingest fungi and mold, making them dangerous if ingested by ducks.

Given that snails have high moisture content, ducks might need to consume more to fulfill their nutritional needs, including carbohydrates for energy.

Hence, while snails offer numerous nutritional benefits, it’s essential to manage their intake carefully and ensure they come from safe sources.

Are Slugs Poisonous or Harmful to Ducks?

Are Slugs Poisonous or Harmful to Ducks?

Yes, if you do not do proper care they will be harmful to ducks. Some reasons are as follows:


While slugs themselves are not inherently poisonous, they can be harmful to ducks due to the parasites they often ingest.

These parasites, including flukes (trematodes), tapeworms, and nematodes (roundworms), can accumulate in slugs as they feed on plants, animal feces, and carrion.

When ducks eat these slugs, the parasites can transfer to their intestines, potentially causing illness such as diarrhea, weakness, and a failure to thrive due to loss of vital nutrients and nourishment.

Moreover, the slime and mucus of slugs, which they come into contact with during feeding, can also carry pathogens harmful to ducks.


The slug slime, which helps these creatures glide, can harbor various bacteria, some of which are harmful species to ducks. For instance, Salmonella found in slug slime can lead to symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and even death in ducks.

Another bacterium, Listeria, can cause nervous system infections, manifesting as loss of balance and circling behavior.

Additionally, Pseudomonas bacteria present in slug slime are known to cause respiratory infections as well as eye and skin infections in ducks.

Thus, while slugs might seem like a harmless snack, the potential risks associated with their slime make them a risky dietary choice for ducks.

Fungi and Mold:

Slugs, which often feed on decaying vegetation high in mold and fungus spores, can pose a health risk to ducks.

When ducks consume these slugs, they are at risk of Aspergillosis, a respiratory illness caused by inhaling mold spores, and Candidiasis, a crop infection from the yeast or fungus Candida albicans.

The poisoning risk escalates particularly when ducks eat slugs in excess or those that are rotting or carry high parasite loads, making them dangerous.

Therefore, while slugs might appear as a natural food source for ducks, the potential health implications from the pathogens they carry should be carefully considered.

How Often Can I Feed My Ducks Slugs?

Feeding slugs to ducks, whether they’re wild or backyard ducks, should be approached with caution. As natural opportunists, ducks might eagerly feed on slugs, but it’s essential to limit slug intake.

Experts advice from poultry experts and veterinarians suggests that slugs should not be a staple in their diet due to potential health risks.

Slugs can carry pesticides, chemicals, and pet waste which, if ingested, can harm ducks. It’s advised to wash slugs thoroughly to remove any toxic soil residue or slime that could sicken ducks.

Additionally, chopping large slugs into smaller pieces can aid in swallowing and digestion, and help prevent choking.

When introducing slugs to ducklings, it’s recommended to wait until they are several weeks old to avoid any illness. Slugs should be offered sparingly, as part of a balanced diet that fulfills the protein cravings of ducks with healthier options like pellets and mealworms.

Consider slugs as an occasional delicacy rather than a regular meal. Exercising caution in feeding and ensuring proper preparation of slugs minimizes the risk of parasitic illness.

Also, always dispose of any uneaten slug carcasses to prevent them from rotting and growing mold in the ducks’ habitat. By following these guidelines, you can use slugs as a control tool for unwanted plants and crops while keeping your worker ducks healthy.

Other Food or Inset a Duck Can Eat:

Other Food or Inset a Duck Can Eat:

Sweet Feed

Best Practices When Feeding Ducks Slugs

Ducks are omnivorous birds that can eat a variety of foods, including slugs. However, it is important to follow some best practices when feeding ducks slugs to ensure their health and safety.

Before feeding slugs to ducks, it is important to inspect them for any signs of disease or rot. Discard any slugs that appear diseased or rotten.

Wash the slugs thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris. Collect the slugs and chop them into large, bite-sized pieces that are easy for ducks to eat.

If you are feeding slugs to ducklings or smaller duck breeds, it is important to introduce them slowly and monitor their reactions.

This will help prevent gorging, which can lead to health problems. If the ducks lose interest or stop eating the slugs, withdraw them and try again later.

While slugs can be a healthy addition to a duck’s core duck diet, it is important to avoid overreliance on them. Treats should be given in moderation and not as everyday meals.

A diverse diet that includes mealworms, crickets, and greens is recommended. Exercising common sense and providing occasional treats that are safe and enjoyed by the ducks can help ensure a nutritious and diverse diet.

It is important to avoid feeding ducks slugs that have been exposed to pesticides, chemicals, or waste products. Remove any uneaten parts of the slugs promptly to prevent decaying in the duck areas. Increasing the variety in the duck’s diet and rotating the types of food can help prevent overreliance on slugs.

FAQs Can Ducks eat Slungs:

Do Runner Ducks Eat Slungs?

Runner ducks, known for their unique upright posture and enthusiastic foraging behavior, are indeed capable of eating slugs. In fact, slugs can be a natural part of their diet, especially for those ducks that have access to a garden or outdoor space where slugs are present.

Can Indian Runner Ducks Eat Slugs?

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Can Indian Runner Ducks Eat Slugs?

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Do Pekin Ducks Eat Slugs?

Pekin ducks are the backyard ducks they can eat slugs happily and safe your bakyard from slugs. Their no doubt slugs can a natural diet for ducks.

Do Mallard Ducks Eat Slugs?

Yes, mallard ducks are a type of dabbling ducks they loves to eat slugs, insects, and worns. Through these souce they can complete their benefials fats and protein.

Will Ducks Eat Water Snails?

Ducks, both wild and domestic, are known to eat water snails they encounter in wetlands, ponds, and lakes. As voracious eaters, they rarely let go of an opportunity to include these snails in their diet, meeting their daily need for varied nourishment.


Slugs and snail are not so common food for ducks. Wild ducks eat them more as compare to other ducks. Domestic or homemade ducks did not eat them more. They just take them as a very secondary source of their food. All other types of ducks eat snail or slugs to get the nutriants benefits that are necessary for them.

Nouman Ali

Nouman Ali

I'm delighted to introduce myself as the voice behind the diverse array of insights and information you'll find here. With a passion for animals that spans over eight years, I've immersed myself in the fascinating world of pets, exploring their lifestyles, behaviors, and unique needs. Growing up surrounded by various animals, I developed an innate curiosity and deep connection with our furry, feathered, and scaly friends. This early fascination ignited a lifelong journey of learning and understanding the intricacies of pet care. Over the years, I've had the privilege of sharing my knowledge and experiences with fellow pet enthusiasts through various platforms. Whether it's offering tips on nutrition, behavior training, or health management, my goal has always been to empower pet owners to provide the best possible care for their beloved companions.

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