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Can Ducks Eat Peanuts? What You Need to Know!

Kristin Hitchcock

Whether you own ducks or are feeding ducks at a local pond, you should be careful feeding them certain foods. Things that are healthy for us are not always suitable for ducks. Luckily, peanuts are safe for ducks, as long as it’s just a few and they are properly chopped. They are a healthy source of both proteins and various vitamins. However, they can get stuck in the duck’s crop, which can be dangerous. Therefore, only very fine pieces should be fed to ducks at any one time.

Peanuts shouldn’t make up a large part of a duck’s diet either. They thrive most when they eat a wide variety of foods, which can include peanuts.duck-divider

Are Nuts Okay for Ducks?

Many ducks love nuts. They’re full of vitamins and protein, which make them a decent treat as well. However, ducks are not particularly good at digesting nuts. If they eat too many, they may develop digestion problems. Nuts make a good treat, but they should not be fed as part of their main diet or anything of that sort. Moderation is vital when it comes to feeding ducks peanuts.

At the same time, whole nuts are a choking hazard, especially since ducks cannot chew them up nicely. They will try to swallow them whole, which can lead to choking. You should only feed ducks ground nuts for this reason. Very small, chopped nuts may work as well.

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Credit: kazka, Shutterstock

What Kinds of Peanuts are Okay for Ducks?

The peanuts you feed your duck should be unsalted. Too much salt can cause severe problems for ducks, who aren’t designed to handle much salt anyway. Even lightly salted peanuts can cause problems, so be sure to choose completely unsalted varieties.

You can feed ducks peanut paste, which shouldn’t be confused with peanut butter. Peanut butter often has many additives. You want peanut paste that only contains peanuts. Again, be sure it is unsalted and has no added sodium.

As an alternative to peanut paste, you can also feed finely chopped nuts. These reduce the potential choking hazard substantially, as they are small enough to be swallowed whole. Of course, purchase unsalted peanuts only. Be sure to read the ingredient list thoroughly to ensure there aren’t any additives or added salt.

You shouldn’t feed your duck the shell of peanuts, as these can cause choking. The shells are enormous and often the perfect shape for choking. If you want to spend time grinding up the shells, then they would be suitable for feeding. However, they are generally less nutrient-dense than the nuts themselves, so many people decide to throw them out.

Shells only offer dietary fiber. Too much can interfere with your duck’s digestion system.duck-paw-divider

How Many Peanuts Can a Duck Eat?

Ducks should only be fed about two peanuts a day. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but nuts are very calorie-dense. You don’t want them to take away from the rest of the duck’s diet. They should only be given as a treat, not as a complete meal. Otherwise, your duck may develop deficiencies.

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Credit: Pexels

Are Peanuts Good for Ducks?

Peanuts are okay for ducks in moderation. They are high in protein, fats, and fiber. Over 22% of a peanut’s total calories come from protein. Ducks require protein, just like most other animals. They use this protein to repair their muscles and keep their feathers strong. Without protein, all sorts of problems can develop. A protein deficiency can make a duck prone to infections and stunt its growth. They may lose muscle mass and stop laying eggs.

Peanuts are also high in fats, which ducks do not need much of. This is one reason they should only be fed in moderation. Their high-fat content can put the bird at risk for obesity.

Peanuts contain quite a few vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, biotin, niacin, and magnesium. Your duck needs all of these vitamins and minerals to thrive. Peanuts are quite nutrient-dense, which is one reason they are a suitable treat for many ducks.

Biotin deficiency can cause skin problems, especially around the face. A mother that is deficient in biotin may lay eggs containing embryos with skeletal deformities and other problems. Niacin is another necessary mineral for ducks. Without it, a duck’s organs and skin can develop problems and stop working correctly. Usual symptoms include growth problems, loss of appetite, weakness, and diarrhea.

Thiamine is an essential nutrient for ducks. If your duck doesn’t eat enough thiamine, they can develop nervous system problems.

Luckily, nuts contain all of these vitamins and can be given to ducks to add a bit extra to their diet. However, their fat content makes them unsuitable to be given in high amounts.duck-divider

Dangers of Peanuts

While peanuts are pretty safe for ducks when appropriately fed, there are a few dangers of feeding ducks peanuts. Peanuts are prone to the growth of a particular mold that contains mycotoxins. If the peanuts are allowed to sit out and become moldy, they can potentially poison any duck that eats them. This is also true for corn and other grains.

Symptoms include lethargy, blindness, confusion, inability to fly, tremors, and wing flapping. Often, symptoms don’t appear, and the bird will simply die shortly after consuming the moldy nut.

For this reason, it is essential to remove any uneaten nuts. We recommend hand-feeding ducks instead of just throwing the peanuts on the ground, as it is easier to keep up with them in this manner. The toxins tend to be produced mostly in the colder months of the year, so birds may be particularly vulnerable in the winter months.

There are several large die-offs of wild birds recorded due to moldy peanuts and other grains. However, it can occur in captivity as well.

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Featured image credit: Capri23auto, Pixabay

Kristin Hitchcock

Kristin is passionate about helping pet parents create a fulfilling life with their pets by informing them on the latest scientific research and helping them choose the best products for their pets. She currently resides in Tennessee with four dogs, three cats, two fish, and a lizard, though she has dreams of owning chickens one-day!