One of the best things about spring and summer is going to the park and feeding the ducks, especially with little children. Prior to walking to the park, it is important to get food that the ducks are able to eat without harming them. Is popcorn a good food to give to the ducks?

Popcorn should not be fed to ducks. It has very little nutritional value and can cause negative effects to their health. Popcorn is a duck’s version of junk food, giving no health benefits. On top of the negative health side effects it causes in ducks, popcorn can also pose a choking hazard for them.

What negative effects does popcorn have on ducks when consumed? Continue reading to learn more about ducks and the effect that popcorn has on them.

How Does Popcorn Negatively Effect Ducks When Consumed?

Popcorn is a very popular snack in most households. The ease of making it combined with the tasty and intoxicating characteristics make it one of the best snacks. Depending on how it is prepared, popcorn can be a very healthy snack. With this being said, why does it cause so many negative effects for ducks, especially because ducks are omnivores?


Popcorn (depending on how it is prepared) is not only junk food for humans, but also for ducks. Even plain air-popped popcorn is junk food for ducks. This is due to the amount of nutrients available in the popcorn compared to the nutrients a duck needs to be healthy.

Eating popcorn is not giving the duck any (or very little) nutrients it needs to thrive and continue growing properly. A duck that continues to eat popcorn as the main source of food will begin to experience serious signs of malnutrition and negative health symptoms.

The malnutrition from popcorn is especially serious in young ducks. They are still growing and need all the proper nutrients they can get in order to grow properly.

Sense of Fullness

Popcorn gives the eater a sense of fullness because of the carbohydrates in the raw popcorn. This effect will also affect ducks. After consuming a large amount of popcorn, the duck will feel full and likely take a break for a while from eating food that is actually nutritious for ducks, such as algae found in the pound.

Now the popcorn has filled the belly of the duck with no nutrients but has done so in a way that prevents (for a time) the duck from consuming the nutrients it needs.

Oils, Salts, and Seasoning

The oils, salts, and seasonings found on popcorn are not particularly healthy even for humans, imagine the effect it has on ducks who are completely unaccustomed to consuming and food like this before.

Ducks who consume certain oils and fats can experience molting. This causes the ducks to lose and shed their feathers at an extremely high rate. As you can imagine, this is not good for ducks. Feathers on ducks are necessary for so many reasons and the losing of them at a high rate is detrimental to their survival.

The high sodium that is found on some types of popcorn is high for a human’s intake and extremely high for a duck’s diet. The high intake of sodium found on popcorn can seriously harm a duck’s health and cause problems for them. Ducks also easily fatten up and sodium is only adding to the speed of their fattening.

Stomach Aches

Between all of the different issues that popcorn causes for ducks that consume it, there should be no surprise that stomach aches would follow. Both the popcorn and the topping used to flavor the popcorn can hurt the duck’s stomach.

Why Is Popcorn A Choking Hazard for Ducks?

Popcorn is a huge choking hazard for ducks. Ducks were created with thin necks that were not designed to take in food the size and shape of popcorn. Ducks have a tendency to attack their food (especially when it is being tossed to them at the park) and eat it very quickly.

Any animal or human that is eating quickly has a heightened chance of choking on the food. Ducks are particularly susceptible to this when eating popcorn.

The parts of the kernel in the popcorn that has popped can get caught in the duck’s throat and cause the duck the be harmed or choke. Choking in a duck causes a long and painful death. To prevent choking in ducks, do not feed them any popcorn.

Can Ducks Eat Popcorn Kernels?

No, ducks cannot eat popcorn kernels. Ducks have an extremely hard time digesting kernels which causes them to just stay in the duck’s belly and begin to rot in the belly. As you can assume, this is not good for ducks.

The kernels will fester in the duck’s belly and putrefy. This causes infections in the duck that will eventually lead to death. In cases like this, surgery is often an option that would be useful if caught early. Unfortunately, in most cases, this is caught too late and surgery is no longer an option.

What Happens To the Popcorn Offered To the Ducks that Remains Uneaten?

Not only does popcorn harmfully affect ducks when it is eaten but it can also negatively affect them when it is left uneaten. When left uneaten, the popcorn can attract insects and other animals to the pond.

The popcorn can also rot in the pond and cause problems for the ducks. Mold found on the molded popcorn is toxic for the ducks. If the ducks eat the molded popcorn, it causes serious health problems and even death.

Molded food in the pond can infect the pond and harm all the ducks and animals that are in it.

When feeding the ducks, it is very important to ensure that the ducks see the food and eat it. Food should also not be thrown in the water, as this is where it will most likely be left and will eventually rot and mold. Obviously, do not feed ducks popcorn.

Additional Information On Animals Eating Popcorn

Are you curious about what animals can eat popcorn? Click here for an animal overview or click on an animal below to find out specific details:

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