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Will Ducks Eat Goldfish? Goldfish In a Duckpond

Ducks are scavengers, and as such, they will eat most things throughout the day. The bigger the duck is, the larger the objects will be that it will consume. Since a tame duck lives off of grain, it raises the question of what ducks eat. Will ducks eat goldfish?

Ducks will eat all the goldfish in the pond if they can catch them and get them into their beaks. A duck does not chew or rip its food, swallowing them whole instead. The common goldfish in a duck pond would not have a chance because if the duck can get it down its throat, it will become a meal.

Ducks are not picky about what they eat. If it fits down their throat and can be caught, the duck will chow it down into the stomach. With that being said, people can still put fish in their duck ponds and have them survive. Let’s look into this a little bit more together.

Can I Put a Goldfish in A Duck Pond?

Putting a goldfish into a duck pond may seem like a great idea, but before you do it, there are some things that you need to understand. A duck will eat the average, everyday goldfish you can buy at any pet store. What you may not know is that there are numerous types of goldfish.

  • Common Goldfish – Up to 8 inches long
  • Comet Goldfish – Up to 12 inches long
  • Shubunkin Goldfish – Up to 18 inches long
  • Fantail Goldfish – Up to 8 inches long
  • Ryukin Goldfish – Up to 8 inches long
  • Oranda Goldfish – Up to 12 inches long
  • Lionhead Goldfish – Up to 6 inches long
  • Ranchu Goldfish – Up to 8 inches long
  • Wakin Goldfish – up to 12 inches long

This is not even close to the number of species of goldfish available, but they are the ones that are the best suited to live outside in a duck pond. The larger varieties, such as the Comet, Shubunkin, Oranda, and Wakin Goldfish, would be good choices to help prevent your duck from chowing on them.

Here’s video proof that ducks will eat fish:

What Type of Fish Can Ducks Eat?

The type of fish that your duck will eat depends mainly upon the duck that you have. Some species of duck prefer live fish. Others prefer to forage off the plants and algae.

That is not to say that a duck will not eat fish, no matter what type. Ducks eat their food whole, with no chewing, so the golden rule is that if the duck can get the fish down its throat, it will.

The size of your duck and its beak will decide how big of fish they will eat. Ducks, whether wild or tame, are conditioned to eat the food in their habitats that they can get ahold of, which means that they will eat any type of fish in the pond. There are a few species of fish that they prefer, though.

  • Trout
  • Salmon
  • Shad
  • Sticklebacks
  • Suckers
  • Minnows
  • Chub
  • Sunfish
  • Eels

Some species of ducks are larger than others, like the Musgavi Duck (source). The males of this species can reach up to 15 pounds and be as long as 31 inches. A duck this size can eat almost any type of goldfish in the duck pond unless they are fast and more intelligent than the average fish.

Check out these Duck Feeders and Duck Pellets found on Amazon, along with a couple Toys for Ducks and you’ll have some very happy ducks. And happy ducks make for better tasting eggs.

What Do Ducks Eat in A Pond?

Ducks are creatures that are not picky when it comes to filling their bellies. A minnow that is not fast enough is a great snack, while the algae and water plants it was hiding in would be a great main course. A duck cannot break anything into smaller parts, so unless it fits in the beak, it will not need to worry about the duck eating it.

  • Small fish
  • Fish eggs
  • Aquatic plants
  • Algae
  • Seeds
  • Grain
  • Weeds
  • Grass
  • Salamanders
  • Frogs
  • Tadpoles
  • Insects
  • Larvae
  • Roots

The type of water critter is not as important to a duck as the size is. They will eat anything that will give them some nutrition and even things that will not. Ducks will often eat small pebbles to help them digest since nothing is broken down until it hits the belly.

The gravel sits in the gizzard to help the digestive system break things down, counteracting the fish that was swallowed whole.

How To Protect Your Goldfish from Ducks

Protecting your goldfish from the ducks may not be too important if you have more giant goldfish in the duckpond, but it is still something that should be considered. There are several ways to protect the fish while in the water.

  • Monofilament net – This is an excellent way to keep the fish and the ducks apart, but if the netting is not tiny enough, the ducks may get caught up in it. If it is placed down under the water’s surface, you can have the fish in the duck pond towards the bottom, and the ducks can have the top.
  • Shelter – When designing the duck pond, or after you have decided to add some fish to it, some good hiding spots need to be added. If the fish can hide from the ducks, they will not be in immediate danger unless they venture out without paying attention.

There are also some ways to keep the ducks from coming around (source) the pond, but that defeats the purpose if both are wanted in the pond. You can always expect that some of the ducks will get ahold of some of the goldfish and eat them, but that is an aspect of having them both that you will have to deal with.


Goldfish are an essential part of a pond ecosystem, as are the ducks. In the wild, they co-exist all the time. Granted, some ducks will eat the fish, and the larger fish will eat the smaller ones.

They have learned to accept the basic circle of life as part of living. That is something that you will need to understand and shrug your shoulders about if you want them both in your pond.

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