So, you’re looking to supplement your ducks with the fittest. Without a doubt, this notion may have given rise to the most fundamental question of every other duck owner – can ducks eat seeds?
It’s obvious that we want the best for our little duck friends. But, as far as seeds are concerned, their digestion isn’t any longer the only factor to consider. With the proper food habits, the most beneficial foods will nourish the ducks, provide them with adequate nutrition, energy, and, most importantly, maintain a hefty appetite and health.
Therefore, if you’ve been on the search of knowing all the ins and outs of feeding sunflower seeds to ducks, this article will reveal all the details. Let’s keep browsing to learn more!
The Nutritional Composition Of Sunflower Seeds:
We all know that sunflower seeds are beneficial to humans. Despite their composition, pet owners must comprehend the nutritional values of sunflower seeds for a better understanding of how much and how often ducks can consume them. Let’s take a gander at the chart below.
|Serving Size: 100 grams.|
|Copper, Cu||1.8 mg|
|Sodium, Na||9 mg|
|Selenium, Se||53 mcg|
|Manganese, Mn||1.95 mg|
|Potassium, K||645 mg|
|Zinc, Zn||5 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||660 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||325 mg|
|Iron, Fe||5.25 mg|
|Calcium, Ca||78 mg|
|Vitamin E||35.17 mg|
|Vitamin C||1.4 mg|
|Vitamin B9, Folates||227 mcg|
|Vitamin B6, Pyridoxine||1.345 mg|
|Vitamin B5, Pantothenic Acid||1.13 mg|
|Vitamin B3, Niacin||8.335 mg|
|Vitamin B2, Riboflavin||0.355 mg|
|Vitamin B1, Thiamin||1.48 mg|
|Vitamin A||50 IU|
The chart speaks highly of sunflower seeds. However, you can’t expect ducks to obtain the same nutritional values as humans. According to their diet and needs, the gain from these sunflower seeds will differ too. Let’s look at a few profits of feeding ducks’ sunflower seeds.
➢ Carbohydrates –
As sunflower seeds are rich in carbohydrates, they provide ducks with immense energy.
➢ Fiber –
Count on sunflower seeds for possessing an abundance of fiber, providing irreplaceable health benefits to all animals and birds, ducks included.
➢ Selenium –
Selenium is vital for keeping thyroid glands healthful in ducklings.
➢ Manganese –
It supports ducks’ backbone developments, regulates blood clotting systems, encourages metabolism, and maintains the reproductive system.
➢ Magnesium –
Promotes and enhances steady heartbeat, muscle functions and keeps the nervous system in check.
➢ Iron –
Averts the risks of anemia in ducks.
➢ Potassium –
Improves cognitive functioning.
➢ Calcium –
Like in humans, calcium’s worth knows no bounds when strengthening the ducks’ muscles and bones.
➢ Vitamin E –
If you’re aiming for the pristine health of your ducks, Vitamin E supplements via sunflower seeds are the way to go. Vitamin E is rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidants, which can boost the ducks’ immune system providing them protection against the notorious Wry Neck disease.
➢ Vitamin B9, Folates –
Vitamin B9 deficiency in ducks can lead to health issues like macrocytic anemia and enlarged liver.
➢ Vitamin B6, Pyridoxine –
Vitamin B6’s most organic sources are sunflower seeds. In order to balance your ducks’ nervous system functionality and red blood cells, pyridoxine is a must. The smooth functioning of these two can also lead to heavier eggs and an increase in egg production.
➢ Vitamin B5, Pantothenic Acid –
As your duck consumes proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, they need proper metabolism to break them down. Vitamin B5 is an acid that promotes a more rhythmic metabolism for ducks.
➢ Vitamin B3, Niacin –
Niacin is crucial for keeping bones intact. If this vitamin is deficient in ducks, it can give birth to leg joint issues and imperil their walking capacities by weakening the muscles in the long run.
➢ Vitamin A –
The overall healthy growth of ducks is promoted via Vitamin A supplements. It also generates antibodies in ducks, eventually impacting the production and quality of their eggs.
Risks Involving Feeding Sunflower Seeds To Ducks:
Ever heard of the phrase, “too much of anything isn’t good?”
That’s right. The rule applies to feeding too much sunflower or any other seeds to your feathery pets too. Mainly, three significant issues could arise when ducks are overfed seeds.
- High Calorific Count –
When approximately measured, a portion of 100 grams of sunflower contains around 584 calories. And to be fair, it is precisely as hefty as it sounds. 584 calorie count can be overpowering for ducks. And as we all know, when any creature, in this case, ducks, are fed increased amounts of calorie, it will be eventually be turned into fats, if not entirely used throughout the day.
And as much as ducks are active during the day, spending the entirety of 584 calories is quite impossible. Hence, this leads to obesity and overweight.
- Cadmium –
Cadmium is a heavy metal that can be present in soils. As sunflowers grow in these soils, they take up some of this cadmium. Eventually, the cadmium and its effects also get installed within the sunflower seeds. Cadmium can be harmless if taken in small portions. However, an overwhelming amount of intake of cadmium can cause kidney damage.
- High Fiber –
Overfeeding ducks with sunflower seeds will deposit high fiber contents in their digestive system. Indeed, fiber is beneficial for ducks, although its portion needs reasonable control as well. Consuming elevated fiber contents can lead to severe and ongoing issues of constipation or diarrhea.
How To Avoid Over Feeding?
As far as we all can tell by now, planning to feed your feathery pets sunflower seeds every day is not the best strategy. Which all boils down to this one question – how often can they be provided sunflower seeds?
We recommend giving ducks a handful of sunflower seeds only once a week. Keeping in mind that moderation is vital, by grabbing onto this tactic, you can serve those ducks with their much-needed protein and energy boost while remaining on the safest side regarding their health. After all, it’s better to keep things supervised and in check rather than doing greater harm unknowingly.
Can Ducks Eat Shelled Sunflower Seeds?
We’re all in limbo when it comes to choosing between shelled and unshelled sunflower seeds. Which one is better? Good question.
Fortunately, both shelled, and unshelled sunflower seeds are welcoming options for ducks. Therefore, whichever you can get your hands on in the market, it should be enough. If your local store stacks them both, you can also switch them up from time to time, just for that element of surprise and to progressively hint at the ducks’ appetite.
Just like humans, pets get bored of having the same meals every day.
On the contrary, you must note that the shelled seeds contain more fiber contents. The shells are practically made of fiber, enhancing the overall fiber count. As we’ve already established that high fiber contents in your duck’s diet are a big-no, we would recommend pet owners only to feed them sunflower seeds once every two weeks.
However, if you’re utilizing unshelled sunflower seeds, the practice of feeding them once a week is perfect.
Is It Okay To Feed Salted Sunflower Seeds To Ducks?
Humans love salted sunflower seeds as it brings out the most flavor. But, can ducks tell the difference just like us? And most importantly, can duck eat salted sunflower seeds too? Unfortunately, no. Salted seeds of any kind are an absolute no for ducks.
The truth is, ducks absorb enough salt from their generic diet. Hence, adding even more salt to their ration would only expose their health to tremendous risks. Similarly, there were multiple previous cases where pet owners lost their beloved duck pets due to salt overdose.
In retrospect, if you have already invested in salted sunflower seeds for your little feathery pet, don’t panic yet. Do not toss them in the garbage furthermore. Store-bought salted sunflower seeds are coated with salt. Luckily, the salt elements aren’t deep-seated within the seeds. Thus, you can get rid of them promptly with a quick wash. Rinse the seeds and turn them into delicious treats for your ducks.
Other Safe Seed Options for Ducks:
Now that we have a definitive picture of sunflower seeds and their effects on ducks let’s discuss a few other supplement options that are safe and equally beneficial for them. You can feed them besides commercial duck foods as well.
Pumpkin Seeds –
Raw pumpkin and their seeds are packed with nutrients like Vitamin B, magnesium, calcium, and many other antioxidants. The best part of it all is that ducks enjoy these treats considerably. Pumpkin seeds can also help in regulating a balanced diet for ducklings.
Sesame Seeds –
Sesame seeds can contain large amounts of fats. Thus they must be given to ducks in precise portions and in addition to a more balanced diet. They’re also pretty oily. Hence, some prefer to serve them after roasting them. Sesame seeds can enhance the ducks’ fiber and calcium percentages, aiding them with a more functional digestive system.
These are top-notch in maintaining hard shells in reproductive ducks. However, keep a strong watch while feeding these as ducks can gobble up more than administered in a blink which could have adverse effects.
Bird Seeds –
Generally, bird seeds have been the fittest best-sellers for songbirds. Favorably, they can also be fed to ducks as treats or in small amounts. Bird seeds are a mixture of an array of seeds combining safflower, sunflower, and milo. These are incredibly healthy and safe for ducks, but they need to be controlled and given as parts of a balanced diet, just like any other food habit.
Chia Seeds –
To be honest, chia seeds might not be as hyped as the rest due to their high prices. Nevertheless, their nutritional values are incredibly high for ducks. Chia seeds are excellent options and alternatives if you’re opting for a mixed feed.
As they are petite, they can be mixed with a variety of other seeds. Make sure to soak the chia seeds before feeding them, as they can absorb up to 12 times their weight when mixed with water. This will avoid the risks of dehydration in ducks and allow them to drink water additionally.
Peanuts are safe for ducks. However, they need to be ground before feeding them to ducks. Whole nuts ingestion can cause digestive issues in ducks. Their size is an issue in the digestive tracks, but they can also obstruct the duck’s food pipe as they have a habit of swallowing whole foods.
Frequently Asked Questions
a) What to not feed ducks?
The list can go on forever. But, bread-kind processed foods and scraps like popcorn, cereal, donuts, crackers, and chips should never be a part of ducks’ diets. Even though it’s pretty standard, bread can harm ducks, attract pests and rodents and pollute waterways. Despite the hype, bread has minimum nutritional value and jeopardizes ducks’ growth.
b) What foods can kill ducks?
Unfortunately, when particular food contains high levels of toxins, it could kill ducklings. Avocados are at the top of this list as they have toxic persin, which can lead to myocardial necrosis. Believe it or not, only 5% of avocado portions could kill a tiny bird within 48 hours.
Another food to stray clear of are white potatoes. Any form of cooked or raw white potatoes contains toxin solanine which is dangerous for ducks.
c) What are some safe food options for ducks?
First off, with seeds, you can use various mixes like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, birdseed, chia seeds, and flax seeds to feed your ducks. You can also provide them nuts such as peanuts. Other safe options to feed ducks are sweet corns, lettuce, peas, oats, and rice.
Therefore, can ducks eat seeds? Have we answered your question?
To sum it all up, yes! Ducks can be fed sunflower and a few other recommended seeds. Their nutritional values are top-tier. However, just like most things, you need to bestow them with sunflower seeds in moderation.
Luckily, with sunflower seeds, there is an option of providing these safely and in supervised proportions. These seeds happen to be a vital part of ducks’ diets even in the wild. If you can keep the calorie and fiber count in check, sunflower seeds’ benefits and health merits for ducks are unparalleled.