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Can Ducks Eat Sunflower Seeds? What You Need to Know

Nicole Cosgrove

May 5, 2021

Seeds are an important part of the diet of waterfowl, including ducks. This means that you should add seeds to your ducks’ diet to ensure they’re in perfect health. If you’re wondering if it’s OK to feed sunflower seeds to your ducks, the answer is yes, ducks can eat sunflower seeds.

Sunflower seeds are very nutritious. Among other things, sunflower seeds contain a high amount of thiamine, vitamin B1 and vitamin E. All these nutrients assist in keeping your ducks’ immune and digestive systems strong.

duck-divider

Advantages of Feeding Sunflower Seeds to Your Ducks

mallard duck and ducklings
Image Credit: Annette Meyer, Pixabay

Sunflower seeds are high in vitamin A which is a vitamin ducks need to support the production of antibodies in their bodies. Vitamin A also has a positive impact on their egg quality and production.

The vitamin B3 in sunflower seeds helps promote joint muscle health in ducks. If this vitamin is lacking in a duck’s diet, it could affect the aquatic bird’s ability to walk & swim properly.

Sunflower seeds are a good source of vitamin B6. This vitamin helps balance the red blood cells in a duck’s body and keeps the nervous system functioning well. Vitamin B6 also ensures that a duck can lay a good number of large and heavy eggs.

The vitamin B5 present in sunflower seeds is important for helping ducks metabolize carbohydrates, proteins, and fats properly. Vitamin E which is also in sunflower seeds helps boost the immune system of ducks and protects against a muscular disorder called Wry Neck Disease.

The calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium present in sunflower seeds all promote good health in ducks. Sunflower seeds are high in fat which means you need to practice moderation when feeding them to your ducks.

If ducks are fed too much fat, they can become overweight which can lead to leg problems and even a fatty liver. A good rule of thumb is to feed your ducks a couple of handfuls of sunflower seeds per week.

Types of Sunflower Seeds to Feed Ducks

peeled sunflower seeds
Image Credit: Pixabay

You may be wondering if you should feed your ducks a particular type of sunflower seeds or if it’s OK to feed ducks shelled seeds. The good news is that ducks can eat any type of roasted or unroasted sunflower seeds including black oil and striped sunflower seeds and it doesn’t matter if they have their shells or not.

The important thing to remember when buying sunflower seeds for your ducks is to get those that don’t have any salt added to them. The reason why you should only feed unsalted sunflower seeds to your ducks is simply that they don’t need much salt in their diets.

Other Seeds That Ducks Eat

In addition to sunflower seeds, ducks enjoy eating a variety of edible seeds including:

  • Safflower
  • Squash
  • Cucumber
  • Sesame
  • Pumpkin
  • Chia
  • Hemp
  • Squash
  • Milo
  • Watermelon
  • Birdseed
  • Rice

When feeding sunflower seeds and other types of seeds to ducks, you have a few options. You can mix the seeds into your ducks’ feed or mix the seeds into wet treats like chopped fruits or yogurt. You can also toss the seeds on the ground for your ducks to eat.

seeds
Image Credit: Pixabay

duck-paw-divider

A Word of Caution About Feeding Sunflower Seeds to Ducks

Savvy duck owners save money by purchasing sunflower seeds in bulk but duck appetites can vary and the seeds aren’t always eaten quickly. Over time, sunflower seeds can become less appealing to ducks.

Sunflower seeds can spoil wherein they become contaminated with mold, feces, fungus, and other substances that can be harmful and even fatal to ducks. This is why you need to say no to spoiled sunflower seeds.

To check for bad sunflower seeds that shouldn’t be fed to your ducks, watch for:

  • Clumps: Sunflower seeds that have gotten wet or otherwise spoiled may start to clump together. You don’t need to be concerned about clumps that break apart with little effort. However, you do need to worry if the clumps have to be forced apart.
  • Insects: Insects like flies, worms, moths, and spiders can infest sunflower seeds. While a few insects aren’t a problem, several insects or large swarms may mean the seeds are spoiled and should be discarded. Keep an eye out for living or dead insects, cocoons, webs, and other indications of insect activity.
  • Mold: Mycotoxins produced by mold can be fatal to ducks. Discolored sunflower seeds that feel soft or slimy and smell musty should be thrown out as they may be developing mold.

To avoid spoiled sunflower seeds, keep them away from moisture and store them in a cool, dry location. Remember that your ducks count on you to provide them with a clean, safe habitat and high-quality feed that’s safe to eat!


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.