Can Ducks Eat Goldfish? Simple Answer & Feeding Tips

Written By Jill Taylor

Can ducks eat goldfish? Yes, most ducks love goldfish and will eat any variety. There are a couple of things to remember when preparing goldfish and feeding it to your ducks.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about feeding goldfish to your ducks.

can ducks eat goldfish

What are Goldfish?

Goldfish aren’t really fish. Goldfish are actually members of the carp family and not at all related to other types of fish such as trout, salmon, or bass. There are over 15,500 known types of carp.

Only a few hundred of these types are suitable as pets and only the goldfish are commonly kept by humans as aquarium fish. Goldfish can come in many different colors such as orange, black, or calico.


Can Ducks Eat Goldfish?

Ducks can eat goldfish yes, however, it’s best to feed goldfish that have been previously frozen for 24 hours and then thawed again before feeding them to your ducks. Why is this?

Freezing kills any parasites and worms that may be in the goldfish and thawing it again afterward will kill any bacteria that may have grown after being defrosted. This is also why you should never feed raw or under-cooked meat (or uncooked seafood) to your ducks either as there could still be parasites that are living in the meat or fish.

Read More: Do Ducks Eat Frogs? Simple Answer & Health Benefits

Are Goldfish Safe for Ducks?

Goldfish are perfectly safe for ducks to eat and the majority of wild or farm-raised ducks will eat goldfish given the chance. There’s no need to worry about fish bones when feeding goldfish to your ducks as they provide next to nothing in terms of nutrition.

You may not like the idea of feeding your pet goldfish that were once someone else’s pet but you must remember that it’s much better than feeding your duck regular bread!

You should never feed regular bread to your duck because it could lead to a number of health problems such as obesity, malnutrition, and even behavior problems.

Health Benefits of Goldfish for Ducks

There are many health benefits of goldfish for ducks. Ducks that are fed a diet that’s high in protein, fat, and fiber will have fewer medical issues throughout their lives.

Goldfish are much higher in protein than regular bread which is another reason why you should feed them to your ducks instead of bread or other snacks.

Can Ducks Eat Goldfish Bones?

Ducks can eat goldfish bones yes, however it’s best to remove the heads first as this leaves behind fewer sharp objects for your duck to ingest accidentally.

As mentioned above, goldfish aren’t really fish so the majority of their bones are soft enough for even small ducks or ducklings to ingest safely without any problems whatsoever.

You should only ever feed whole, uncooked fish to your ducks as cooked fish bones can splinter and puncture your duck’s digestive system.

Read More: Can Ducks Eat Mealworms? 6 Awesome Benefits

Are there any Risks in Feeding Goldfish to Ducks?


There aren’t any risks as such when feeding goldfish to ducks, however, there are a couple of things you should be aware of.

First, never feed your duck fish that have been left out in the sun for too long or fish that looks discolored or has an unpleasant odor. This could signify that something is wrong with the fish and it’s best not to risk feeding them to your ducks either as a precautionary measure.

Secondly, make sure that all uneaten portions of fish are removed quickly from the water after your ducks have finished eating it. Even if you only feed your ducks once every week or two this may still attract other wild birds such as seagulls and crows which will then start dropping bits of fish into your pond.

This could then attract all sorts of other pests which you may not want in or around your duck’s home.

How to Prepare Goldfish for Ducks?

You can feed goldfish to ducks as they are and the majority of them will eat it straight from your hand however you must remember that goldfish need to be defrosted first.

Goldfish which have been kept in water all through the freezing process don’t taste as good as those which have been allowed to thaw out before being fed to your duck so try and plan ahead.

Make sure that no uneaten portions of fish are left behind after feeding time has expired as even though you may not want other birds such as seagulls or crows eating what’s left, there could still be bits of fish floating around for a day or two after feeding time is finished and this could lead to more serious problems with pests that you don’t want in or around your duck’s home.

What if my Goldfish is already Frozen?

If your goldfish is already frozen then you should thaw it first before feeding it to your ducks. How do I thaw my goldfish?

Well, there’s no need to worry about finding a microwave or stove to heat up your frozen goldfish as the fastest and easiest way is to place it in a bowl of cold water and let it sit until you see some of the ice starts melting (usually around 5 minutes).

When half of the ice has melted, pour out the water and wait for more ice to melt before replacing the bowl back into the cold water once again. Continue this process until all of the ice has melted and then drain any excess water after that.

What if my Goldfish isn’t Frozen?

If your goldfish isn’t frozen then you can feed it whole to your ducks however remember that goldfish do need to be defrosted before being fed to them.

You could try running the fish under a very cold tap for a minute or two in order to get rid of any unwanted ice crystals after which time you can wait until the water has warmed up somewhat so your duck doesn’t become ill from eating a cold meal.

Read More: Can Ducks Eat Eggs? 3 Surprising Benefits

How Often Should I Feed my Ducks Goldfish?

duck in grass

As goldfish aren’t actually fish then they can’t give your ducklings any diseases or parasites that could be passed on through normal feeding channels however, if you feed your ducks’ goldfish too frequently then this can lead to all sorts of other problems.

Firstly, there’s the risk that the water will become polluted with all sorts of things which aren’t particularly great for wild birds such as seagulls and crows who may also be attracted to your pond by the smell of leftover fish.

Secondly, you run the risk of polluting other areas around your home if you have a stream running nearby so it’s best not to feed them more than once every couple of weeks at most.

Also, remember that goldfish are carnivores so they will eat other fish in your pond if you feed them too frequently.

What Size Goldfish Can Ducks Eat?

Ducks can eat adult-sized goldfish with no problem at all as long as you prepare them prior to giving them to your ducks, which means freezing and then thawing them before feeding them to your birds.

You may also choose to break up pieces of goldfish for smaller breeds, however, this isn’t necessary if the goldfish is already small enough for their beaks.

Can Ducks Eat Goldfish – Final Thoughts

Goldfish are a popular food for ducks and can be fed to them in a variety of ways. When feeding goldfish to your ducks, remember to keep the following in mind:

  • Goldfish should make up only part of the duck’s diet – they should not be the only thing your ducks eat.
  • Feeding live goldfish may introduce parasites into your flock so it is best to freeze them first.
  • Ducks love crunchy foods so try freezing the goldfish before giving them to your ducks. This will give them a different texture and make them more enjoyable for your ducks to eat.

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