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Do ducks eat fruit?
Ducks are omnivorous birds that eat a wide range of vegetables, fruits, and small fish as part of their diet. They love eating fruit and since they require a very nutritious diet that is high in both proteins and calories, fruits are ideal.
Almost all fruits are healthy for ducks, except citrus fruits and avocados. Citrus fruit can cause too much acid in the digestive system and lead to digestive issues, and avocados are entirely toxic to birds.
Among the duck’s favorite fruits are tomatoes, grapes, strawberries, watermelon, bananas, and cantaloupe.
Let’s take a more detailed look at these fruits.
Fruits For Ducks
Ducks eat watermelons and find them very delicious. Watermelons are known to make ducks react with glee and joy. Interestingly, ducks eat the whole watermelon package from the flesh right down to the rind and even the seeds. The watermelon gives them a lot of health benefits.
Let’s have a detailed look at these benefits.
Watermelons are highly nutritious and packed with lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all of which are vital for the duck’s daily health. Let’s look at their significance to the duck.
- Vitamin C – This vitamin boosts the rate of egg production, and the quality of eggs produced. It also boosts the duck’s immunity, ability to handle stress, especially heat stress, and helps in wound healing too.
- Vitamin A – This vitamin is essential for the duck’s normal growth and eye health. Frequent feeding of watermelons reduces your duck’s risk of having a vitamin A deficiency.
- Water – Watermelon is a sweet treat with lots of water, which makes up 92% of the whole fruit. For ducks, water helps with easing digestion and absorption of nutrients and is vitally important in combatting heat stress. This makes them ideal for hot weather.
- Magnesium – This mineral is essential for the duck’s neural growth and function, as well as the duck’s general growth. Its deficiency leads to stunted growth, convulsions, and even death.
- Potassium – This mineral is essential for electrolyte balance in ducks. During dehydration, a duck with low potassium levels is more likely to suffer than the one with optimal levels.
- Iron – This mineral improves the duck’s immune system, and is equally important and plays a crucial role in the formation of blood.
- Antioxidants – They fight free radicals that may be reactive and potentially harm the body cells causing illnesses. They, therefore, improve general immunity and health, as well as ensure the production of quality eggs and meat.
Precautions when feeding watermelons to ducks
Though generally healthy, you should avoid overfeeding your ducks with watermelons because it leads to an accumulation of seeds in the stomach which may turn out to be problematic.
Watermelons are low in proteins and calories and do not meet a duck’s optimal requirements, so should therefore not be used as a replacement for their main forage.
Lastly, always feed the melons clean and fresh to avoid knowingly or unknowingly introducing toxins to the duck’s body.
Ducks love tomatoes. Although tomatoes have no negative effects on them, they should only be fed as treats once in a while. For ducks, cherry and grape tomatoes are specifically their delicacy.
You should not feed your ducks the tomato plant leaves and vines, or green/unripe tomatoes because they are potentially toxic to your ducks.
Tomatoes are rich in the following nutrients as required by ducks;
- Calories – Calories are important sources of energy for ducks. This energy is essential in the generation and maintenance of heat in the body.
- Calcium and Phosphorus – Calcium is essential in making good eggshells for ducks, basically comprising 96% of the shell. These minerals are also converted into hydroxyapatite in the duck’s body, which makes up a larger portion of bone weight in ducks.
- Folic Acid – This acid is essential for the production of better quality eggs and ensures normal growth rates among ducks.
Precautions when feeding tomatoes to ducks
The tomato fruits are harmless to the ducks, but the problem is with the leaves, vines, and unripe fruits.
The tomato plant, being a member of the nightshade family, among others eggplants, potatoes, and nightshade, may have elements within the plant that may be toxic to the ducks.
Ducks love eating grapes and they are fantastic for their health. Grapes are packed with lots of nutrients that are essentially important to your ducks.
Notwithstanding their healthy nature, grapes are, however, loaded with lots of natural sugars and it is very important to avoid the risks associated with overfeeding.
To feed grapes to ducks, it is best to leave the grape(s) till fully ripen, to boost the concentration of vitamin C.
Just as in humans, grapes are equally good and healthy for ducks. Let’s take a closer look at their nutritional composition.
- Antioxidants – Grapes are packed with antioxidants that will help keep your ducks from being ill. They fight free radicals in the body that may be responsible for adverse reactions that may cause serious illnesses like cancer.
- Vitamins and Minerals – Grapes are vitamin and mineral-rich. These nutrients are generally needed for the ducks’ optimal health, growth, and development of body tissues.
- Fiber – For ducks, fiber is essential in maintaining the digestive system health, and also keeps the ducks regular.
Precautions when feeding grapes to ducks
Proper preparation of grapes for ducks is always necessary, especially when feeding them in groups that include ducklings. The problem is that ducks swallow their foods very quickly without properly chewing, and considering the size of grapes, ducklings and even adult ducks may choke to death if a grape gets stuck in the throat.
You should therefore never feed them whole to ducks, but rather, chop them into the desired sizes to avoid choking.
Grapes are also full of natural sugar, and should therefore be moderately and sparingly fed, most preferably as treats to avoid adverse health conditions like diabetes and obesity that may be as a result of too much sugar consumption.
It is also advisable to let your grapes fully ripen before feeding them to ducks. Unripe grapes may cause stomach upsets and diarrhea to your ducks.
Ducks love strawberries, and they are safe for them too. Strawberries are highly nutritious as they are loaded with plenty of vitamins, minerals, and high levels of antioxidants.
Strawberries are perfectly safe for your duck as long as they are fed as occasional treats to avoid the adverse effects of overfeeding.
Strawberries are highly nutritious fruits rich in potassium, fiber, manganese, calories, vitamins, carbohydrates, and antioxidants, all of which are important to ducks.
However, you should not offer them strawberries as a regular meal, as this will lead to an imbalance in diet, which may consequently lead to other health issues. Even the tiniest imbalance in diet may have a significant influence on their health.
The best way to feed ducks is to replicate their diet in the wild, and finding fruits like strawberries is a luxury that entirely depends on the duck’s luck.
Strawberries and other treats should only make up 10-20% of the duck’s diet, and overfeeding may cause imbalances.
Precautions when feeding strawberries to ducks
As mentioned before strawberries and other treats should ideally make up 10 – 20% of the duck’s diet. Contrary dietary compositions may cause imbalances in the diet which may cause digestive disorders and other health conditions.
Strawberries are significantly high in natural sugars and overfeeding them might lead to an excess in sugar concentration in the duck’s body, which may lead to obesity and diabetes.
Ducks love bananas, regardless of the ripening stage. They are incredibly nutritious and easy to eat and are relatively cheap and available, making them the perfect treat for your ducks.
Since they love bananas, hand-feeding them the treat will help you bond and build trust with the duck.
Bananas have essential nutrients to both humans and livestock, including birds. They are rich in phosphorus, vitamins C, and B6, fiber, potassium, and many antioxidants. Let’s take a detailed look into the nutrients and their significance.
- Phosphorus – This mineral is good and essential for the duck’s heart health. It also plays a vital role in the regulation of blood pressure.
- Potassium – This is essential for the growth and maintenance of the bones, neural and muscular cells. It is also essential for maintaining the osmotic pressure and the pH balance in the body.
- Fiber – Maintains good digestive health, and ensures microbial fermentation. It is also essential for the synthesis of lactic acid by the lactobacillus bacteria found in the duck’s body.
Precautions when feeding bananas to ducks
If you choose to feed your ducks unripe bananas or their peels, always consider chopping them into smaller pieces to avoid choking or gagging.
Since bananas are full of natural sugars, you should not overfeed them to your ducks to avoid adverse effects on the duck’s health, such as diabetes.
Fruits are generally good and healthy for ducks because of their enormous nutritious benefits for ducks.
Since most have high sugar levels, it is generally advisable to feed them to ducks only as treats to avoid the adverse effects of overfeeding.
You should avoid avocados and citrus fruits because avocados are toxic and too much acid is not good for ducks.
Among other fruits good for ducks are cantaloupe, peaches, and plums.