If you have ducks hanging around, you already know they’re omnivores—meaning their diets consist of vegetation and meat. You also know that ducks will eat a lot of things handed off to them by humans (even if you don’t have ducks, you’ve likely fed bread to ducks at some point). But not all of our foods are good for ducks (though some do offer health benefits).
Fruit is sometimes given to ducks as part of their omnivore diets, including strawberries. But can ducks eat strawberries? They can, but they should only eat them occasionally. While strawberries provide ducks with a few health benefits, they aren’t the best for them. Want to learn more about these health benefits? Keep reading!
What Does a Duck’s Diet Consist Of?
As omnivores, a duck’s diet typically consists of foods such as aquatic plants, grass, seeds, fruit, insects, crustaceans, lizards, snakes, and small fish. At least, that’s what wild ducks eat. Ducks living on farms or around people might not eat exactly the same, depending on whether there’s a lake or pond nearby that offers fish and aquatic plants to munch on. Ducks living amongst people eat more fruits, veggies, wheatgrass, oats, duck feed pellets, and seeds than their wild counterparts, along with insects and small reptiles and amphibians they find.
Health Benefits of Strawberries
What health benefits do strawberries offer ducks? For starters, this fruit provides them with vitamin C, which boosts the immune system. That’s not all vitamin C can do for ducks, though. This vitamin has also been shown to be beneficial to ducks suffering from heat stress and may increase egg production.
But that’s not all strawberries contain to help out our feathered friends! Being a fruit high in vitamin C means there are also plenty of antioxidants that can help protect a duck’s cells and ward off free radicals. This delicious fruit also contains fiber that aids in keeping the digestive system healthy and working as it should.
Plus, strawberries contain a wealth of other vitamins and nutrients, such as potassium and magnesium, that ducks should have. However, strawberries also contain quite a bit of sugar, so you shouldn’t feed them to your ducks often. Sugar isn’t great for ducks to eat in excess for similar reasons to why it’s not great for humans to consume too much; mainly, too much can eventually lead to obesity and illnesses associated with being overweight.
How to Feed Strawberries to Your Ducks
If you’ve been a duck owner for a while now, you know that ducks don’t chew their food but simply swallow it. That means it’s a bad idea to just hand over a strawberry to a duck, as it could be a choking hazard. Instead, chop strawberries into tiny pieces (or just mush them up), then feed them to your ducks. This way, there’s no risk of your ducks choking on pieces that are too large.
Foods You Shouldn’t Feed Your Ducks
Now you know that strawberries are safe and healthy for your duck to snack on occasion, it’s time to learn what foods to avoid giving your feathered pals. You’d think all fruit would be safe to give them, but citrus fruits should not be given to ducks. Why? Because citrus fruits can cause your duck’s digestive system to become inflamed, leading to them becoming excessively thirsty, which can lead to death. Citrus fruits are a definite no-no!
You should also never give your ducks any onions. Onions can cause anemia in ducks and damage the lining of the stomach as these veggies are toxic to them. This toxicity mostly comes from the compound thiosulphate, which ducks have trouble breaking down in their systems.
Finally, don’t feed your ducks bread! It’s a common thing for people to feed ducks (at least at parks), but bread offers these birds no nutritional value, and too much of it can cause them to gain weight. Too much bread can also contribute to angel wing, a problem wherein a wing’s carpal joint grows incorrectly, causing the wings to stick up at an angle (looking like angel’s wings).
Giving your ducks the occasional bit of strawberry every now and again is totally safe and can even provide them with a handful of nutritional benefits. However, due to the sugar content, you don’t want to feed them too many strawberries. For the most part, a duck’s regular diet should consist of duck feed pellets, plant life, veggies, and things they catch on their own.
Featured Image Credit: on_france, Shutterstock