What do ducks eat in ponds?
Mama duck brings here babies to Cool Ponds for a visit.
In early spring, we start receiving calls about Mallard ducks. As they begin to find our ponds, many pond owners worry if they will harm their fish or pond.
First of all, at Cool Ponds, we are not duck experts. But we are pond experts and can relate our experience to you. Yes, if you do research on the internet you may find articles that tell you mallards will eat your fish. And if your fish are very, very small and happen to be swimming in some string algae, they just might pick them up with their next bite of algae. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (they are experts), a mallard's diet consists of "insects and larvae, aquatic invertebrates, seeds, aquatic vegetation, and grain."
We can't wait to see the mallards arrive each spring. There is a pair that visits Cool Ponds, and a pair that visits us at home. They are so fun to watch and do an excellent job at eating string algae. We have many, many baby koi anywhere from 1 1/2" to 3" long that swim all around the ducks when they're in the pond. I have never seen them pay any attention to them or eat them.
Another concern people have voiced with mallards is that they may carry parasites. Well, I don't know for sure, but probably they do. Actually, every bird that comes into your yard or stray cat or squirrel can and probably does carry a parasite. This is mother nature and parasites are a part of it too. Just because a bird has a parasite doesn't mean it will infect or can infect your fish. And by they way, most fish have parasites too. Even strong healthy fish likely have parasites. It doesn't mean they're sick, it's just the way things are.
If you have mallards, you've done a great job. You have re-created mother nature, invited her in, and she accepted. Enjoy it!