Is Mulch Safe For Ducks? (And What Would You Need It For)

Generally, all types of mulch are to be considered safe for ducks, it is used to cover the soil in their coop and ponds. Mulch makes the soil more comfortable to walk on, improves the ability to drink from the ponds, and keeps the soil clean.

It also contributes to healthier soils by adding nitrogen, which is good for the plants.

What Is Mulch?

Mulch is a layer of loose material (usually organic) that is placed on top of the soil to help retain moisture, prevent weeds from growing, and keep the soil cool. Mulch can be compost or straw, shredded leaves or grass clippings.

There are many different types of mulch (see the image below), each with their own benefits and drawbacks. Choosing the best type for the application you have in mind is a critical step to be taken. The main factors to take into consideration are expected rainfall, amount of rain that is needed, and what types of plants will grow in it.

For example, a light colored mulch like shredded leaves or grass clippings will not retain water as well as a dark mulch made out of shredded bark or blackfood. However, it is important to note that depending on the type and thickness of your soil, a thick layer of thick mulch may actually start to dry out your soil, so choose wisely.

What Is Its Purpose?

Mulching serves a variety of purposes, primarily to help retain soil moisture and prevent weeds. It can also be an important component in getting the soil temperature where you need it to get growing. Mulch can also physically support plants as they grow, which helps them mound up their root structures and have better drainage.

In general, mulching is a very useful practice in gardening, but it all depends on what your purpose for mulching is.

In relation to ducks, the main reasons why I think mulching is not the best option for them are as follows:

Ducks prefer to walk in soft, squishy places where they can rest and bury themselves in the ground. Getting ducks used to eating their food straight from a bag or having it fed to them by hand, is difficult with their natural instinct of burying. Without them being able to dig a proper den for themselves, it will be difficult for them to eat (or poop) in peace.

Common Type Of Mulch Used For Beddings

The most common type of mulch are:

Wood Chips

It is best to use hardwood chips. These come from trees that have been cut down while they are still green, as opposed to softwood mulch, which comes from trees that have been cut down when they are dry. The ideal wood chips are made up of 75% deciduous material and 25% coniferous material. Both hardwood and softwood mulch offer the same type of benefits for your garden, the difference between the two is typically in how long the two types will last before needing a replacement.


Leaves are often just dropped in piles on the ground, but if you make a pile of them and cover it with an organic cover, you can have a great mulch. Leaves are best that have been raked up after they fall in Autumn. The leaf fall will also help to add potassium to your soil.

Grass Clippings

Mulching with grass clippings can provide some nitrogen fertilizer as well as keep down weeds and prevent erosion. However, these clippings do need to be cut with a mulching mower so that the grass blades don’t get too long and woody which could hinder the decomposition of the clippings.

Garden Scraps

Another way to mulch is to use your scraps to compost them into usable compost. You can then use this compost as an organic mulch.


Straw is an excellent and inexpensive mulch that can last for up to five years. Straw is available in square bales or bulk bags at many garden centers.

Is Rubber Mulch Safe For Ducks?

From what I’ve read from different sources, rubber mulch is perfectly fine to use around ducks and other waterfowl. Rubber mulch is made from a huge variety of recycled materials like tires, as well as new and recycled rubber.

The rubber from tires is a by-product of the manufacture of rubber products such as car tires and shop floor mats. Rubber mulch can be made from these discarded and reclaimed materials, but be sure to check the product label.

Is Cypress Mulch Safe For Ducks?

Cypress mulch is definitely an ok choice for ducks, it’s made from dead or cut cypress trees (they don’t actually mulch with cypress mulch per se but instead shred it and sell it as mulch).

Cypress is a natural wood product that doesn’t rot, stink and makes a great base layer. It’s a natural, renewable resource and is usually available in different sizes at home improvement stores.

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