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Can Ducks Eat Apples? What You Need to Know!

Oliver Jones

You no longer need to think twice when you throw your backyard ducks your child’s (or your) leftover apple pieces. Ducks are in the clear to eat apples, as long as they are cut up, and possibly remove the core and seeds first. Because of an apple’s sugar content, they should only be fed to ducks once in a while.

Now that you’ve got your answer, maybe you’re more curious about what a duck should and shouldn’t eat. Ducks are known for eating anything and everything, so it could be worth it to refresh your memory about what their dietary needs are.

duck-paw-divider

Apples Are Okay in Most Cases

This delicious food can be fed to your duck as long as they are cut up small enough for consumption, including thin apple slices. Apples are rich in antioxidants. They also contain carbs, sodium, fiber, and a fair amount of water. The apple peel is especially great at aiding in healthy duck digestion.

The only thing you need to pay attention to is the middle components of the apple. The seeds contain a substance called amygdalin. Amygdalin, when chewed and digested, turns into cyanide in the gut. It’s such a small amount to typically not be harmful to humans, however, ducks are much smaller than humans and it could be worse for them.

Some sources claim that the whole core itself is too hard for your duck to properly digest, so it may be best to avoid feeding it to your duck.

Apples in large pieces could get stuck and lodged in your duck’s throat, depending on how zealously he eats. Usually, ducks will just peck at the apple pieces until it’s small enough to swallow whole, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

With all this in mind, apples and other sugary fruits should definitely be the minority of your duck’s diet. Stick to fruity treats as 10% of the duck’s diet per day to keep him happy and healthy.

three ducks on snow
Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

Fruits and Vegetables That Ducks Can Eat

The fruits that are best for ducks are soft fruits. These include berries, melon, grapes, bananas, plums, seed and pit fruits (with the pits and seeds removed), watermelon, peaches, and pears.

Veggies that ducks love and are nutritious for them are peas, cucumbers, broccoli, zucchini, corn, kale, collards, cabbage, chard, and lettuce. These veggies can all be served raw. Root vegetables are also great for ducks, but you probably want to cook or grate them first. These include carrots, sweet potatoes, turnips, beets, and radishes.

Foods Ducks Shouldn’t Eat

The Open Sanctuary Project has a running list of plants and foods that are toxic to ducks. If you would like to see all possible toxic plants and foods for any farm animal, including ducks, check that list. Since we are talking about foods, here is a quick list of foods that ducks shouldn’t eat.

  • Avocado
  • White potato
  • Green potato and tomato
  • Stone fruit seeds and pits
  • Dried beans, raw, and bean plants
  • Eggplant and pepper leaves
  • Raw nuts
  • Dry rice
  • Onions
  • Rhubarb

Additionally, ducks should not have these foods made more for human consumption: chocolate, coffee or tea, alcohol, or any processed human foods, especially foods that are salty, sweet, or greasy.

Do not give ducks anything that looks moldy or rotten. If you are a family that stays away from pesticides or herbicides for yourselves, also avoid giving your ducks non-organic foods.

duck eating bread
Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

Foods That Are Not Ideal for Ducks

While the following list of foods are not completely off-limits to ducks, they should be only fed to ducks in limited quantities:

  • Spinach: interferes with calcium absorption
  • Citrus: can interfere with calcium absorption
  • Iceberg lettuce: not very nutritious and can cause diarrhea

duck-divider

In Summary

Usually, ducks instinctively know what’s good and bad for them. Most of the time, they will avoid the things that are bad for them. However, if all of their food is lumped together in one pile, they may not differentiate and just eat it all. This is especially true if food is scarce. So, to be on the safe side, make sure you know what foods your duck should not eat. That way, your duck will have a healthy and long life.


Featured Image Credit: pasja1000, Pixabay

Oliver Jones

Oliver (Ollie) Jones - A zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia with his partner Alex, their dog Pepper, and their cat Steve (who declined to be pictured). Ollie, originally from the USA, holds his master's degree in wildlife biology and moved to Australia to pursue his career and passion but has found a new love for working online and writing about animals of all types.