Can Ducks Eat Cheese? Exploring the Genuine Risks

Written By Jill Taylor

As a dedicated duck keeper, the question, can ducks eat cheese? has often crossed my mind. After all, who doesn’t love a slice of creamy brie or sharp cheddar? And while it’s tempting to share our favorite treats with our feathered friends, it’s crucial to know if it’s safe for them. 

Over the years, I’ve done my homework and discovered some surprising facts about ducks and cheese. So, if you’ve ever found yourself pondering this dairy dilemma, you’re in the right place. Let’s dive into the world of ducks and their dietary dos and don’ts.

can ducks eat cheese

Understanding a Duck’s Natural Diet

Ducks are fascinating creatures, aren’t they? When we think about their diet, images of them gobbling up bread at the park might come to mind. But let’s delve deeper into what these birds naturally munch on.

The Basics of a Duck’s Diet

Ducks in the wild have a varied diet, which primarily consists of aquatic plants, small fish, insects, and even crustaceans. They are adept at foraging, and their diet changes depending on the season and available food sources.

Digestive System of Ducks

To handle such a diverse diet, ducks have a pretty efficient digestive system. They gulp down their food, which then gets stored in their esophagus before moving on to the gizzard. Here, the food gets ground up, making it easier for the duck to digest.


Cheese: What is it Made Of?

So, let’s talk cheese. That delightful dairy product that many of us adore. But what’s in it, and how might it affect our feathery friends?

Ingredients in Cheese

At its core, cheese is made from milk, which can come from cows, goats, sheep, and even buffalo. The milk is curdled, often with the help of enzymes, and then pressed to remove the whey, resulting in cheese.

Types of Cheese

From soft brie to hard cheddar and everything in between, there are countless cheese varieties. Each type has its unique set of ingredients, texture, and flavor, which can impact its suitability for ducks.

Potential Benefits of Cheese for Ducks

different cheeses

Cheese isn’t just delicious; it’s also packed with nutrients. But can these benefits be extended to ducks?

Nutritional Value

Cheese is a source of calcium, protein, and essential fatty acids. These nutrients can be beneficial for ducks, especially if they are deficient in any of them.

Caloric Content

Being high in calories, cheese can provide ducks with the energy they need, especially during colder months when they burn more calories to stay warm.

Possible Risks of Feeding Cheese to Ducks

duck in grass

Before you rush to share your cheese platter with your duck buddies, there are some risks to be aware of.

Lactose Content and Ducks

Like many birds, ducks aren’t great at digesting lactose. Consuming high amounts of it could lead to digestive issues for them.

Salt and Additives in Cheese

Many cheeses, especially processed ones, contain high levels of salt and other additives. These can be harmful to ducks in large quantities.

Overfeeding and Obesity

Just as with humans, too much of a good thing can lead to weight issues in ducks. Obesity can lead to a range of health problems for them.

Safe Ways to Offer Cheese to Ducks

fresh block of cheese

If you’re still keen on treating your ducks to some cheese, here’s how to do it safely.

Choosing the Right Cheese

Opt for natural cheeses that are low in salt. Fresh cheeses like mozzarella or ricotta might be better choices than aged or processed varieties.

Serving Size and Frequency

Remember, cheese should be a treat, not a staple. Small amounts, given infrequently, are the way to go.

Monitoring Duck Behavior Post-Consumption

After giving cheese to your ducks, keep an eye on them. If they show any signs of distress or unusual behavior, it might be best to skip the cheese next time.

Alternatives to Cheese for Ducks

Not sure if cheese is the right treat? No worries! There are plenty of other goodies you can offer.

Healthy Treats for Ducks

Consider giving them leafy greens, peas, or even worms. These are more in line with their natural diet and are likely to be a hit.

Store-Bought Duck Feed

If you’re looking for a hassle-free option, commercial duck feeds are formulated to provide all the necessary nutrients, making them a great choice for your feathered pals.

What Other Foods Can Ducks Eat Apart from Cheese?

types of fresh bread

It’s not just cheese that tempts us to share with our feathered friends. There are many other foods we humans enjoy that might seem like a good treat for our ducks. But just how suitable are they? Let’s waddle through some common foods and see if they get the quack of approval.


While many of us have fond memories of feeding ducks bread at the local pond, it’s not the best choice for their diet. Bread, especially white bread, offers little nutritional value and can lead to malnutrition and obesity in ducks. It’s better to offer them more nutrient-rich foods.

Read More: Can Ducks Eat Bread? Surprising Dos & Don’ts Revealed


Raisins can be a sweet treat for ducks in moderation. They offer some nutrients and can be a source of energy. However, make sure they are unsweetened and not part of a mix that contains other potentially harmful ingredients.

Read More: Can Ducks Eat Raisins? Unveiling Duck Diet Myths


Avocado is a no-go for ducks. It contains a substance called persin, which can be toxic to many birds, including ducks. Even small amounts can be harmful, so it’s best to keep this creamy fruit away from your duck’s beak.

Read More: Can Ducks Eat Avocados? The Dangers And Risks


While the idea of ducks enjoying a pizza party is amusing, pizza isn’t ideal for them. Many of the toppings and ingredients, especially the high salt content and certain vegetables or meats, can be harmful. If you’re tempted to share, make sure it’s a plain piece without harmful toppings, and only in moderation.

Read More: Can Ducks Eat Pizza? 3 Reasons It’s A Bad Idea


Plain tortillas, especially those made from whole grains, can be okay for ducks in small amounts. However, like bread, they don’t offer much in terms of nutrition. If you decide to share, ensure they’re free from any added flavors or seasonings that might be harmful.

Read More: Can Ducks Eat Tortillas? 2 Reasons It’s Not A Good Idea

Can ducks eat cheese – final thoughts

Well, there you have it, fellow duck enthusiasts: the cheesy lowdown on whether our quacking companions can indulge in a dairy delight. In short, while cheese offers some nutritional benefits, it’s essential to tread carefully, considering the potential risks, especially with lactose and additives.

So, next time you’re snacking on a cheese platter and your ducks waddle over with those pleading eyes, remember our little exploration into the world of “can ducks eat cheese?”. Spoil them occasionally, but always in moderation, and perhaps lean more towards those natural, safer treats.