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Can Ducks Eat Tomatoes? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

June 30, 2021

When it comes to feeding animals, there are many myths out there, and many common practices aren’t so great for the animals that you’re trying to feed. For instance, offering milk to a cat is a poor choice since most cats are lactose intolerant. Another common one is offering bread to ducks, which you’ll often see people doing at parks and lakes. But bread isn’t good for a duck; it offers no nutritional value and can even make them sick!

Knowing this, you might be wondering about other foods you eat and whether or not they’re safe for ducks. Whether it’s the ducks at the local lake or ducks you’re raising in your backyard, it’s always good to double-check that what you’re feeding them is safe. When it comes to tomatoes, indeed, the flesh of the tomato is safe for ducks. That said, there are some things to be aware of if you’re going to feed tomatoes to a duck, as there could be some potential health risks involved if you’re not careful. Read on for a full explanation.

duck-divider

Are Tomatoes Safe for Ducks to Eat?

tomatoes_Couleur_Pixabay
Image Credit: Couleur, Pixabay

The flesh of the tomato is perfectly safe for ducks to eat. In fact, many ducks love tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes and grape tomatoes, in particular, are known favorites of many ducks, and many duck owners will offer these to their fowl as treats. But you should only feed the flesh of a tomato to your ducks, and only if the tomato is fully ripe.

Do Tomatoes Have Any Nutritional Benefits for Ducks?

Tomatoes are one treat ducks love that also offers them some nutritional benefits. For instance, tomatoes are rather high in both phosphorus and calcium. Both are necessary for proper bone health. Furthermore, calcium is needed for producing strong eggshells, as 96% of an eggshell is made up of calcium carbonate.

Another nutrient in tomatoes that can be beneficial for ducks is folic acid. If your duck doesn’t eat enough folic acid, experts recommend that you add some in supplementally because it’s so important. Folic acid helps maintain a proper growth rate, and ducks deficient in it experience reduced growth rates, enlarged livers, and even macrocytic anemia.

ducks eating_Denise E-Shutterstock
Image Credit: Denise E, Shutterstock

Can All Tomatoes Be Fed to Ducks?

All ripe, red tomatoes are safe for ducks, including different varieties of tomatoes like grape and cherry tomatoes. Don’t feed your duck a tomato that’s not ripe, though. When the fruit isn’t ripe, it could have elevated levels of tomatine, which is poisonous for your duck.

Can Ducks Eat Tomato Plants?

tomatoes_Lernestorod, Pixabay
Image Credit: Lernestorod, Pixabay

For the same reason unripe tomatoes should never be offered to a duck, no part of the tomato plant should either. Tomatoes are actually part of the nightshade family. The plants and unripe fruits contain high concentrations of dangerous alkaloids that can poison animals, and people as well.

Other plants from the nightshade family, such as potatoes and eggplants, are foods that should never be fed to a duck at all. Tomatoes are safe, but the plants, leaves, vines, and unripe fruits are not, as they contain these alkaloids, including tomatine, that can be harmful to your duck. Of course, it’s not just ducks that will have a bad reaction to eating a tomato plant. Dogs, cats, horses, and even people can be poisoned by the alkaloids of nightshade plants.


FAQ

Are tomatoes safe for baby ducks to eat?

ducklings_Kim Newberg, Pixabay
Image Credit: Kim Newberg, Pixabay

Yes, baby ducks can eat tomatoes without safety concerns, so long as they only eat the tomato fruit, not the leaves or vines of the plant. The fruit must also be ripe.

What other fruits can ducks eat?

Ducks can eat a wide range of different fruits, as well as many vegetables and even other proteins, including seafood. Fruits that ducks eat include berries, grapes, melons, bananas, watermelon, pears, and more. Just stay away from citrus, as it’s hard for ducks to absorb and can even lead to their eggs having thin shells.

Do ducks like tomatoes?

While every duck is different, for the most part, ducks seem to love tomatoes. Cherry and grape tomatoes are often offered to ducks as treats, and they take them happily, wolfing them down and asking for more!

duck-divider

Should You Feed Tomatoes to a Duck?

If you’re looking for a healthier treat to offer ducks than bread, tomatoes definitely qualify. These red fruits are delicious treats for a duck, and they’re perfectly safe. Ducks will even gain some nutritional benefits from eating tomatoes, including folic acid, phosphorus, and calcium. Just be sure you don’t feed an unripe tomato or any part of the tomato plant to a duck. Since tomatoes are from the nightshade family, unripe tomatoes and every part of the plant contain dangerous alkaloids such as tomatine that can poison ducks.


Featured Image Credit: Kim Loan Nguyen thi, 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.

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