Do ducks eat plants

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PHOTO: 2-Dog-Farm/Flickr by Kirsten Lie-Nielsen May 27, 2019

In addition to large, rich eggs, charming personalities and gamey meat, there’s another great reason to add ducks to your small farm. They can be hugely beneficial in the garden. Unlike geese that will happily chew down fresh greens or chickens that can dig up a plant looking for grubs, ducks are less harmful to the plants in your garden while remaining steadfast devourers of slugs and other nuisance bugs.

If you’ve ever battled slugs or tomato hornworms in your garden plot, you know it’s a test of vigilance trying to get rid of these pests and save your plants. Even though chickens will snap up beetles and earthworms, they turn their noses up at the gooey mess of a slug. Some chickens won’t even touch a Japanese beetle because of its size and hard outer shell, but nothing is too messy or too tough for a duck. With enthusiasm, they’ll chase down any creepy crawly and chow it down, and they are tenacious in their desire for fresh bugs.

Keeping Your Plants Safe

Gardening with ducks presents fewer challenges than other birds. They have little taste for fresh vegetables or vines. The only plants that need to be protected from duck’s appetites are lettuce greens and strawberries. Some ducks will chew on other plants, especially if it is a variety you regularly feed them as a treat.

Duck’ large, webbed feet means you do have to be careful about your ducks trampling young seedlings. Keep areas with tender greens fenced off until the plants are tall enough to withstand a passing duck.

Getting a Taste for Bugs

To give your ducks an appetite for nuisance bugs, or just to offer them a special treat, you can start plucking out slugs and other creatures from your garden live and introducing them to your young ducks while they’re still in the brooder. This will give them some entertainment and teach them how tasty these insects are.

Ducks love grasshoppers and flies, too, which other fowl can’t keep up with. A duckling will chase down a fly with determination, and they also enjoy the larvae.

Happy Ducks for a Happy Garden

Ducks are easy keepers, so adding them to the home garden is not a chore. They need a safe shelter to spend their nights locked away from predators, and they love having access to a pond or water trough to swim in. With plenty of fresh water for drinking and a bowl of food, your ducks will only require attention when their shelter needs cleaning or their food and water needs refreshing. But that doesn’t mean you won’t find yourself spending your time near the ducks. With some of the most affable personalities in the feathered kingdom, duck watching is sure to become a pastime of any small-scale farmer.

The garden is a wonderful place for a duck to spend its summer days, with growing plants offering them shelter and shade. What would be a task for the gardener—picking off bugs and squashing them—is a pleasure for ducks, leaving you with time to relax and enjoy their antics.

The low down on the khaki campbell breed

Back in December, I was admiring 30 ducklings at a friend’s place and was quite taken by their fluff and squeak, so I took 4 of them home. Ducks were not in our short, or medium term, plan – but it’s funny how quickly you can justify something, ‘just because’. I was told they were khaki campbells, however they turned out to be ‘bitzas’, as in a bit of this and a bit of that.

Unfortunately (for them) they ended up being mostly boys so two were eaten, then one was taken by the local grey goshawk and the last one (who we thought was a girl) turned out to be a boy. But we kept him, named him Song and got him a mate called Bruny, named so as she’s brown and ‘browny’ was a tad too obvious as a name. She’s a beautiful pure bred khaki campbell from down the road. We’re hoping they have babies so we can eventually just have two girls for eggs and company.

Our two ducks, Song and Bruny… Running away from me

Khaki campbells were our desired breed as they’re known to be homebodies (so don’t try and escape), are prolific egg layers (yum) and most importantly, don’t trash the vegie garden so can free range permanently – snuffling for bugs and slugs and depositing their poo across the garden.

Khakis were originally bred in England and are a combination of mallards, rouens and runner ducks. They generally come in three colour varieties – khaki, dark and white. The drake (the boy) is usually mostly khaki colored with a darker olive green head lacking the white ring of its Mallard ancestors. The duck (the girl) has the usual underwhelming colour scheme and is khaki (brown) all over. I think our drake must be more mallard than anything else as he has the white ring around his neck.


Their Character

One of the key reasons we wanted khaki campbells was because we were told they were very gentle, wouldn’t destroy the garden, are great with kids and are pretty chilled out. While ours are all of these things, they REALLY don’t like people. This is because they weren’t hand raised, instead they roamed free in their exclusive duck gang. The fist time they encountered a human closely was when they were around 4 weeks old and I picked them up and took them home. In complete contrast, if you hand raise them they’ll ‘imprint’ themselves onto you and in some cases think that you’re their mother/father or mate and want leave your side.

Eggs Galore!

The egg production of the khakis is awesome with the breed laying an average of 320 eggs a year, so having a couple of ducks laying over winter (when the chickens stop) is a wonderful thing and something we’re aiming for. Apparently they’re not the most desired meat bird as they’re not as ‘fat’ as others, but Anton swears they’re pretty tasty.

Fertigation

Fertigation is where irrigation meets fertilisation – think poo in water all mixed up. As ducks need water to be happy, we gave them a pond, i.e. an old bath in the ground. Being ducks they LOVE to poo in the water so it quickly turns dark brown and will stink if you don’t empty it regularly. We empty ours weekly and have it placed high on our slope so we can use gravity to direct the flow onto our young edible forest garden and other perennial crops. As it’s a strong mix of poo and water I wouldn’t go splashing it on your lettuce leaves, unless you remember to wash them thoroughly.

Song and Bruny hanging in one of the favourite places, you can see the water is ready to be drained onto our garden

Do they fly?

Theoretically, no. However Song (the drake) likes to take daily flights across the valley, just like a ‘proper bird’. We were shocked at first, but he comes back every time as I think he’s got the hots for Bruny big time. In contrast, Bruny doesn’t budge, I assume this is because she’s a pure bred khaki campbell so lives up to her breed description.

Ducklings

If you want baby ducklings then you may have a problem. While they lay heaps of eggs (usually 1 a day), they don’t actually like to sit on them. Generally, mechanical incubators or broody chickens are used to hatch eggs instead, this takes around 23 to 28 days.

In the vegie garden

Our ducks free range around our vegie garden and young orchard which we love. However, we’ve had to protect our young seeds/seedlings from them (and the garlic patch) as the ducks just want to snuffle right at the base of the plants or areas we’ve just cultivated, presumably because there’s increased bug/slug activity. Happily, a really short fence (around 40cm and only 10cm for the garlic) which we can still easily step over (or individual seedling protection) has stopped this. Overall, compared to other breeds (I’m told the muscovy duck is ruthless and leaves no survivors in the vegie patch), the khaki campbell is an angel and we’re stoked we can pretty much let them roam free and express their “duckness”.

Unlike our chickens (seen in the background) our ducks get to roam free amongst the garden

We love our ducks and often find ourselves pausing and watching them waddle around, snuffling and quaking. Slowly, ever so slowly, they’re learning to like us, or at least tolerate us, which is exciting. They’re a fantastic multi-purposed animal to have in your food system with numerous benefits and a huge amount of character to keep you smiling. So yup, we’re on team khaki campbell!

Successfully managing ducks in the garden

How to successfully manage ducks in the vegetable garden.
I have been very successful in keeping ducks in my garden while many tried and failed. In my opinion one reason is I practice a permaculture non till garden method. So my garden has a deep straw and leave mulch. I do not think ducks could be near as successfully kept in a bare dirt plowed garden. Ducks love to play in the mud and will drill little holes looking for food where water is standing on mud and destroy roots. This is not a problem in a heavy mulched garden since there is no mud to play in. Unlike chickens the ducks do not scratch away the mulch.
Another reason I feel I was successful lays in my background. I was a professional dog trainer and was involved in training and showing horses as well. As a trainer I knew you must take into consideration the animals instinctual behaviors and work with them not against them.
That’s what I feel I have done managing my ducks in the garden. I researched the reasons given as to why many failed when they attempted to keep ducks in their garden. Their failures became my learning experience. I researched ducks and their instinctual behavior as well as what they prefer in their diet. Plus what makes them happy? That is the most important thing they must be happy. I took all these into consideration in my design.
What do YOU want from your ducks? Do you want only pest control, how about eggs, do you want a calm pet duck? The answer to those questions will help you choose the right breed of duck for YOU.
There are many breeds of different sizes and temperament and egg production. I chose Indian Runners they are hilarious very active ducks, fantastic foragers, great layers,and flightless. While they are considered a little nervous always on the look out for danger. As a rule they are not good pets for children that wish to hold and pet them. If you have kids or want a pet for yourself that will allow petting I would suggest welsh harlequin, khaki Campbell or Pekings. They are considered to be very calm which makes good pet ducks. There are different size ducks light, medium and heavy breeds so I chose a light breed reasoning that they would put less stress on the younger plants and produce more manageable amounts of waste. I reasoned that an 8 pound duck will produce twice the waste as a 4 pound duck. So 2 Pekings (heavy breed) would be like having 3 to 4 of my light breed ducks. This is why I chose the light breed. I wanted low fences so I chose a naturally flightless breed. Not all light breed ducks are flightless. Do you want a duck who produces a lot of eggs? The light breed ducks I considered were Indian Runners, Khaki, and Welsh harlequin. All are excellent egg producers. Of those 3 only the WH is a dual purpose bird used for meat and egg production. It is the best for setting its own eggs as well.
Once you choose your breed you must decide on the sex. So what’s important to you eggs or noise level? Male ducks do not actually quack loudly they make a lower whisper quack like sound. If a silent duck is needed you may want to consider the Muscovy. Two male ducks can live happily raised together. While if you chose to have 3 ducks you can’t keep 2 males with only 1 female. She can not survive sexual advances from both. So you must chose either 3 hens or 1 drake and 2 hens.
Keeping ducks in the garden takes a little management. The first rule is keep the flock small. This was the most common problem. Keeping our flock small is difficult for us duck lovers. My garden is 53 by 28 feet which supports only 2 adult ducks.( My garden design can be seen at https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/ducks-in-the-garden ) They just produce too much waste and would over graze if your flocks too big. But you must have at least 2 a lone duck will not be happy.
Ducks must have drinking water deep enough to submerge their bill in past their eyes to physically keep them clean. So they can’t just drink from a shallow chicken water bowl. They wash down their food. So if they are eating pests in a part of the garden that has no water near they must leave the area to get water. They tend to work the area more thoroughly when water is near. So I scatter water stations to encourage complete coverage of the garden. If you begin to have an area where the insects begin to multiply then remove all stations but the one in that area and they will spend most of their time working that area. I just use empty coffee cans as water stations.
Small seedlings being stomped was a problem some had. So when I plant new seeds I put a little fence around that area with a vinyl netting fence using step in fence post removing it as soon as the plants develop some size. If the plant is a leafy green the duck particularly enjoy I wait until they are above 6 inches high. Until that plant has enough roots to anchor the plant if the duck picks at a leave. I do not grow really tender leafy greens like lettuce in the my garden since they love them. As an example you wouldn’t allow a child free choice at a buffet filled with decadent desserts and candy expecting them not to eat them. Its the same scenario placing a duck among tender greens expecting them not to eat them. Special steps must be taken with lettuce type of plants to protect them from the ducks. A small light fence or netting can be a barrier to protect them. Or you can plant them somewhere else or plant them in a raised bed where the ducks can’t reach them. In the spring when I plant the whole garden with new seedlings I will not allow the ducks in the garden until the seedlings are not so vulnerable.
They love to chew on plants while they swim. So I leave a buffer space between the plants they like and their pool. I once put a kiddie pool right next to a pepper plant. While the ducks swam and floated they would munch at the same time. I lost a lot of leafs but the plant recovered quickly. So I changed MY behavior I did not try to change the ducks natural urge to graze while swimming. I did begin to throw small bite size pieces of Swiss chard in their pool a few times a week. That made them very excited and happy.
The ducks prefer insects and slugs over plants. They do not eat plants until the bugs are scarce. Once fall and cool weather arrived they began to munch on old bean leafs since the insect population had declined. I just had to increase their feed to solve that Issue. I grew swish chard, beans, strawberries, sweet potatoes , potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi, and beets this year in my duck patrolled garden. I did not lose any whole plants. Ducks do enjoy their greens so I increase the amount of swiss card I planted. It is tougher than lettuce standing up to their grazing. I consider it as growing my own duck food. They munched on them as they pleased but if I had planted only a few of these I am sure I would have lost plants. I also let one cherry tomato grow across the ground so the ducks could just help themselves. Since small duck size tomatoes were available they didn’t bother my more difficult to reach large tomatoes. To be successful with ducks in your garden you must manage them taking into account what they like and provide them with it. Since ducks eat greens and tomatoes I planted it for them. If I hadn’t they would have chewed on plants I didn’t want them to. The people that weren’t successful just planted their garden in the manner they always had without taking the ducks needs into account. There are also poisonous plants to ducks like potatoes and tomato leaves. So if these are the only plants available to them there would be trouble. But since my garden was diverse they had lots of healthy choices.
The only part of my system now I am not satisfied with is their pool. But it is correct for a future duckponics project that I will be adding. I started out with a large stock tank pool and switched to a smaller IBC tote cut down to 100 gallon size. I do enjoy watching their joy while they dive and swim in their pool. But the truth is they can exist without a large pool. Your options can be the small tubs sold at Lowes used to mix concrete in. You could put 2 or more in the garden moving them around daily dumping the water in a new section each day. This would be an efficient method to provide their bathing water. If you want to give them more a kiddie pool works fine. The draw backs to this method is it is heavy to pick up and dump and its a lot of water to dump in the same area at one time. You can move it around the garden daily. The reason my permanent pool is causing me a problem is they have flat bottoms where sediment settles. I have used (stock tank and IBC tote) I want an easier pool to clean.
Once I have drained the pool I must rinse and rinse to get the sentiment out. I have come to the conclusion that a bath tub would be the best option since it has a slopped bottom designed to drain more efficiently. Since I use all salvage materials I have already began to keep my eye open for a used deep bath tub maybe a claw footed tub.
I hope you find the record of my success and failure helpful. Learn from my experience as I did from others who published their experiences their success and failures in their attempts to keep ducks in the garden.
I started with ducklings In the garden. Below is their first day in the garden they were 10 days old.
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I purchased 6 ducklings allowing them to grow up until they were 6 weeks old. At that time I chose 2 females to keep and shared the other 4 with others. The ducklings are 3 days old in the photo below.

by Jodi Helmer July 8, 2018

Your free-range flock loves roaming into the garden and treating the marigolds, squash blossoms and dandelions like an all-you-can-eat salad bar. An abundant supply of fresh fruits, vegetables and garden greens is part of a balanced diet, but not all the plants in your garden are good for your chickens. In fact, some are toxic.

Below is a list of 14 common farmstead plants toxic to your flock. Don’t feed them these plants or confine them in an area of the garden where these toxic plants are growing, as their appetites might get the better of them. Remember, this is far from a complete list; there are hundreds of plants that can be harmful to your chickens. Before opening the coop doors to let your flock forage, do your research to keep your chickens out of harm’s way.

1. Apricots

Many fruits are safe for chickens, but the leaves and pits of an apricot contain cyanogenic glycosides that are highly toxic, triggering symptoms such as seizures, breathing problems and low blood pressure. When leaves are stressed from frost, drought or disease, the toxicity levels increase. If you want to grow apricot trees, prevent chickens from foraging near the orchard via fencing or other means.

2. Azalea

These deciduous shrubs are popular in landscapes across the U.S. thanks to their waxy green leaves and colorful flowers. Although azaleas are beautiful, all parts of the plants are also highly toxic and can cause digestive upset, weakness, loss of coordination and cardiac damage. To keep flocks safe, house them away from azaleas or dig up the shrubs and relocate them out of the birds’ reach.

3. Beans

Uncooked beans contain hemagglutinin, which is toxic to chickens. You don’t have to banish beans from the garden—just be sure to keep the flock from foraging in beds where beans are growing, and never feed them raw or undercooked beans.

4. Bulbs

Daffodils, iris, narcissus, tulips and other bulbs are among the first signs of spring in the garden and might tempt chickens with their fresh green leaves and flowers. However, many bulb varieties contain alkaloids that can cause low blood pressure, tremors and diarrhea. Dig up the bulbs and compost them or replant them in areas of the garden the flock can’t access.

5. Ferns

A specific variety of fern called the bracken fern can cause bracken fern poisoning in chickens, which leads to anemia, weight loss and muscle tremors. Although significant amounts of the plant must be consumed to be toxic, the perennial ferns with their large triangular-shaped fronds are native to most U.S. states, growing in pastures, forests and rangelands, giving chickens in rural areas ample access. The best way to identify bracken ferns is to use a wildlife guide. Because they grow aggressively, you’ll need to be vigilant about removing them.

6. Foxglove

This perennial or biennial is common in the Northeast and along the West Coast. The spires can grow to 8 feet and produce bright tubular-shaped flowers with speckled interiors that blossom in the summer. All parts of the plant—seeds, flowers, stems and leaves—are toxic. Foxgloves reseed prolifically, so getting the population under control can be challenging. It’s best to remove the entire plant, including the roots, from the garden.

7. Holly

The glossy green foliage and red berries make this festive evergreen popular for Christmas decorations. Varieties of holly grow across the U.S., but it’s is especially abundant in the Southeast. While holly has a low toxicity level, the leaves contain saponins, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and drooling in your chickens. Because holly can grow up to 4 feet per year, keeping chickens away from the bushes is easier than digging them up. To ensure that chickens can’t access the plant, keep it trimmed and house the flock at least 5 feet away.

8. Lobelia

The pretty blue, purple, white or red blooms on this annual make it popular for containers, butterfly gardens and medicinal herb gardens. Some lobelia varieties trail while others can grow up to 3 feet tall. The plant contains toxins called pyridine alkaloids, which can cause tremors, weakness, increased breathing rate and lack of coordination in poultry. Remove annual plants from the garden if you plan to allow your chickens to forage.

9. Lupine

This herbaceous perennial grows 12 to 26 inches tall and produces bonnet-shaped flowers that grow on a spike. The flowers come in a range of colors from deep blue and purple to pink and white. All parts of lupine plants, which are more common in mountainous areas, contain a toxin called quinolizidine alkaloids that cause nervousness, depression,aimless wandering, muscle twitching and convulsions in chickens. Because it’s difficult to control wild lupines, keep chickens from accessing areas of the farm where lupines grow.

10. Nightshades

There are 70 varieties of nightshade plants, including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, bittersweet and Jerusalem cherry, many of which can be harmful to your flock. Nightshades contain alkaloids, which cause appetite loss, increased salivation, weakened heart rate and trouble breathing. While it’s OK to throw your flock the occasional tomato, be weary of plants in this family. Raw potato peels, for example, should never be considered a chicken treat. You should also take particular care to keep your flock away from deadly nightshade, found across the U.S. and identified by their five-lobed white-and-purple flowers and green fruits or berries that turn yellow or black at maturity. Because nightshade plants often grow wild in pastures, orchards and along roadsides, removal can be a challenge. Prevent chickens from foraging near the plants.

11. Oak Trees

Mature oak trees can grow up to 80 feet tall with canopies spanning more than 100 feet wide. Even on saplings, the elliptical-shaped leaves are too high off the ground for chickens to reach, but the both the leaves and the acorns that drop in the fall contain tannic acid, which can cause lack of appetite, frequent urination, excessive thirst and diarrhea. Instead of cutting down trees, confine chickens to acorn-free areas.

12. Periwinkle

Also known as creeping myrtle, periwinkle is a groundcover with dark-green foliage, oblong leaves, and blue, purple or white flowers that appear in early spring. The plants contain cardiac glycosides that are highly toxic and can cause tremors, seizures and death. The fast-growing, shade-loving perennial can be hard to control, so your best bet is to keep chickens confined to a periwinkle-free section of the farm or garden.

13. Rhubarb

It might make the perfect pie, but rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid or oxalates that are toxic to chickens, causing jaundice, tremors and increased salivation. It’s OK to continue growing rhubarb, just restrict the flock’s access to the garden.

14. Yew

This ornamental evergreen, known as the “Tree of Death,” is highly toxic. There are several varieties of yew, including the Japanese yew, which is the most common ornamental shrub in the U.S. All parts of the plant are toxic and contain cardiotoxic taxine alkaloids that can cause cardiac arrhythmia and death. The toxins are fast-acting, and a small amount can have a lethal impact. To be safe, remove all yews from the landscape if you free-range your flock.

While plenty of vegetation is safe for your chickens, it’s important to understand which plants could pose a danger to their health. Remember, this is not an exhaustive list: To keep your chickens safe, do your research. The payoff is a healthy and productive flock.

Get more chicken-keeping help from HobbyFarms.com:

  • Infographic: What Chicken Treats Are Safe?
  • 7 Chicken Treats for Better-Quality Eggs
  • How to Enrich Your Chickens’ Diet This Winter
  • 4 Steps to Prevent Chicken Obesity
  • 5 Herbs Your Chickens Will Love

Plants That Are Poisonous to Chickens

By Bonnie Jo Manion, Robert T. Ludlow

When you’re free-ranging chickens, acquaint yourself with the more common ornamentals and edibles that are mildly toxic to poisonous to chickens. You’ll find a variety of plants that have toxic or poisonous qualities for chickens.

Always err on the side of caution; if you suspect a plant is poisonous to your chickens, rid it from your garden. Many plants have toxic properties that act as a type of innate defense to help the plants to survive.

Poisonous ornamental plants

Even though many ornamental plants are mildly toxic or poisonous to chickens, they’re highly unlikely to eat these plants while free-ranging. While sheep, goats, and other livestock animals will eat toxic plants, chickens rarely do.

When chickens eat something poisonous, it’s usually because someone unintentionally fed them something poisonous or underfed them while they were confined and exposed to something poisonous.

The following are some of the more common ornamental plants potentially toxic, yet unlikely that chickens would freely eat these.

  • Azalea: Rhododendron spp.

  • Boxwood: Buxus spp.

  • Buttercup family: Ranunculaceae. This family includes anemone, clematis, delphinium, and ranunculus.

  • Cherry laurel: Prunus laurocerasus.

  • Daffodil: Narcissus spp.

  • Daphne: Daphne spp.

  • Foxglove: Digitalis spp.

  • Honeysuckle: Lonicera spp.

  • Hydrangea: Hydrangea spp.

  • Ivy: Hedera spp.

  • Jasmine: Jasminum spp.

  • Lantana: Lantana spp.

  • Lily of the valley: Convallaria majalis.

  • Mexican poppy: Argemone mexicana

  • Monkshood: Aconitum napellus.

  • Mountain laurel: Kalmia latifolia.

  • Oleander: Nerium oleander.

  • Rhododendron: Rhododendron spp.

  • Sweet pea: Lathyrus spp.

  • Tobacco: Nicotiana spp.

  • Tulip: Tulipa

  • Wisteria: Wisteria spp.

  • Yew: Taxus spp.

Poisonous edible plants

The following list contains suggestions for edibles to avoid with hand-feeding and free-ranging chickens:

  • Avocado skin and pits contain persin, which is toxic to chickens.

  • Avoid citrus juice and skins.

  • Don’t give chickens any edible containing salt, sugar, coffee, or liquor.

  • Uncooked raw or dried beans contain hemaglutin, which is poisonous to chickens.

  • Raw green potato skins contain solanine, which is poisonous to chickens.

  • Onions are a poor food to give to chickens because onions flavor eggs. Large quantities of onions can be harmful to chickens, affecting their red blood cells, causing hemolytic anemia or Heinz anemia.

  • Avoid feeding or free-ranging chickens specific unshelled nuts of walnuts (Juglans spp.), black walnuts (Juglans nigrs), hazelnuts (Corylus), and pecans (Carya illinoinensis).

  • Don’t give your chickens leaves of rhubarb, potato, or tomato plants.

Deadly poisonous plants found in pastures

These plants are not only extremely poisonous to poultry, but also to many other types of livestock and humans. This is not an inclusive list, and be aware that these plants can be found in other areas besides pastures, such as meadows, wilderness areas, and sometimes in gardens as volunteers. These are the types of plants you absolutely should never expose your chickens to:

  • Black locust: Robinia pseudoacacia.

  • Bladderpod: Glottidium vasicarium.

  • Death Camas: Zigadenus spp.

  • Castor bean: Ricinus communis.

  • European black nightshade: Solanum nigrum.

  • Corn cockle: Agrostemma githago.

  • Horsenettle: Datura stramonium.

  • Milkweed: Asclepias tuberosa. And other varieties.

  • Mushrooms: Amanita spp. Death Cap, Destroying Angel, Panther Cap. Extremely deadly and poisonous if ingested.

  • Jimsonweed: Datura stramonium.

  • Poison hemlock: Conium maculatum.

  • Pokeberry: Phytolacca americana.

  • Rosary pea: Arbus precatorius.

  • Water Hemlock: Cicuta spp.

  • White snakeroot: Ageratina altissima.

Oak Trees, Acorns, & Chickens…

“First of all I would like to say how much I like the newsletter. I look forward to receiving it. I have about eight chickens in my garden, the coop will have a covered run of eighteen feet long by six feet wide and six foot six high.

The problem I have is that near to my garden is a massive oak tree which drops a lot of acorns. I know the coop and run will be covered, but have I got to make sure no acorns get into the run? I hope to hear from you soon.” ~ Graham in Essex England.

Hi Graham,

I’m glad you wrote and you are right to be concerned about the oak tree.

You would absolutely need to make sure your chickens do not eat any dropped acorns.

Oak leaves as well as acorns can be toxic to chickens and as chickens are very curious eaters, you can’t assume that they will know to keep away from them.

Chickens will eat most anything!

This would include screws, Styrofoam, most anything so everyone LISTEN – make sure your chickens have an area that is completely free from anything they should not ingest.

When it comes to plants though, I know that personally I tend to not be quite as vigilant.

Especially if it is a plant that I’ve planted in my garden.

For this reason, I think it would be a good idea to re-post a list of plants that are toxic to poultry. We posted this list quite some time ago but because we have so many new readers each week and because we could all use a reminder, check out this list for the safety of your flock.

  • ARUM LILY
  • AMARYLLIS
  • ARALIA
  • ARROWHEAD VINE
  • AUTUMN CROCUS
  • AUSTRALIAN FLAMETREE
  • AUSTRALIAN UMBRELLA TREE
  • AVOCADO
  • AZALEA
  • BANEBERRY
  • BEANS: (CASTOR, HORSE, FAVA, BROAD, GLORY, SCARLET RUNNER, MESCAL, NAVY, PREGATORY)
  • BIRD OF PARADISE
  • BISHOP’S WEED
  • BLACK LAUREL
  • BLACK LOCUST
  • BLEEDING HEART OR DUTCHMAN’S BREECHES
  • BLOODROOT
  • BLUEBONNET
  • BLUEGREEN ALGAE
  • BOXWOOD
  • BRACKEN FERN
  • BUCKTHORN
  • BULB FLOWERS: (AMARYLLIS, DAFFODIL, NARCISSUS, HYACINTH & IRIS)
  • BURDOCK
  • BUTTERCUP
  • CACAO
  • CAMEL BUSH
  • CASTOR BEAN
  • CALADIUM
  • CANA LILY
  • CARDINAL FLOWER
  • CHALICE (TRUMPET VINE)
  • CHERRY TREE
  • CHINA BERRY TREE
  • CHRISTMAS CANDLE
  • CLEMATIS (VIRGINIA BOWER)
  • CLIVIA
  • COCKLEBUR
  • COFFEE (SENNA)
  • COFFEE BEAN (RATTLEBUSH, RATTLE BOX & COFFEEWEED)
  • CORAL PLANT
  • CORIANDER
  • CORNCOCKLE
  • COYOTILLO
  • COWSLIP
  • CUTLEAF PHILODENDRON
  • DAFFODIL
  • DAPHNE
  • DATURA STRAMONIUM (ANGEL’S TRUMPET)
  • DEATH CAMUS
  • DELPHINIUM
  • DEVIL’S IVY
  • DIEFFENBACHIA (DUMB CANE)
  • ELDERBERRY
  • ELEPHANT EAR (TARO)
  • ENGLISH IVY
  • ERGOT
  • EUCALYPTUS (DRIED, DYED OR TREATED IN FLORAL ARRANGEMENTS)
  • EUONYMUS (SPINDLE TREE)
  • EUPHORBIA CACTUS
  • FALSE HELLEBORE
  • FLAME TREE
  • FELT PLANT (MATERNITY, AIR & PANDA PLANTS)
  • FIG (WEEPING)
  • FIRE THORN
  • FLAMINGO FLOWER
  • FOUR O’CLOCK
  • FOXGLOVE
  • GLOTTIDIUM
  • GOLDEN CHAIN
  • GRASS: (JOHNSON, SORGHUM, SUDAN & BROOM CORN)
  • GROUND CHERRY
  • HEATHS: (KALMIA, LEUCOTHO, PEIRES, RHODODENDRON, MTN. LAUREL, BLACK LAUREL, ANDROMEDA & AZALEA)
  • HELIOTROPE
  • HEMLOCK: (POISON & WATER)
  • HENBANE
  • HOLLY
  • HONEYSUCKLE
  • HORSE CHESTNUT
  • HORSE TAIL
  • HOYA
  • HYACINTH
  • HYDRANGEA
  • IRIS
  • IVY: (ENGLISH & OTHERS)
  • JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT
  • JASMINE (JESSAMINE)
  • JERUSALEM CHERRY
  • JIMSONWEED
  • JUNIPER
  • KY. COFFEE TREE
  • LANTANA (RED SAGE)
  • LARKSPUR
  • LILY OF THE VALLEY
  • LILY, ARUM
  • LOBELIA
  • LOCOWEED (MILK VETCH)
  • LOCUSTS, BLACK / HONEY
  • LORDS & LADIES (CUCKOOPINT)
  • LUPINE
  • MALANGA
  • MARIJUANA (HEMP)
  • MAYAPPLE (MANDRAKE)
  • MEXICAN BREADFRUIT
  • MEXICAN POPPY
  • MILKWEED, COTTON BUSH
  • MISTLETOE
  • MOCK ORANGE
  • MONKSHOOD
  • MOONSEED
  • MORNING GLORY
  • MTN. LAUREL
  • MUSHROOMS, AMANITA
  • MYRTLE
  • NARCISSUS
  • NETTLES
  • NIGHTSHADES: (DEADLY, BLACK, GARDEN, WOODY, BITTERSWEET, EGGPLANT, JERUSALEM CHERRY)
  • OAK
  • OLEANDER
  • OXALIS
  • PARSLEY
  • PEACE LILY
  • PERIWINKLE
  • PHILODENDRONS: (SPLIT LEAF, SWISS CHEESE, HEART-LEAF)
  • PIGWEED
  • POINCIANA
  • POINSETTIA
  • POISON IVY
  • POISON HEMLOCK
  • POISON OAK: (WESTERN & EASTERN)
  • POKEWEED
  • POTATO SHOOTS
  • POTHOS
  • PRIVET
  • PYRACANTHA
  • RAIN TREE
  • RANUNCULUS, BUTTERCUP
  • RAPE
  • RATTLEBOX, CROTALARIA
  • RED MAPLE
  • RED SAGE (LANTANA)
  • RHUBARB LEAVES
  • RHODODENDRONS
  • ROSARY PEA SEEDS
  • SAND BOX TREE
  • SKUNK CABBAGE
  • SORREL (DOCK)
  • SNOW DROP
  • SPURGES: (PENCIL TREE, SNOW-ON-MTN, CANDELABRA, CROWN OF THORNS)
  • STAR OF BETHLEHEM
  • SWEET PEA
  • SWISS CHEESE PLANT (MONSTERA)
  • TANSY RAGWORT
  • TOBACCO
  • UMBRELLA PLANT
  • VETCH: HAIRY/COMMON
  • VIRGINIA CREEPER
  • WATTLE
  • WEEPING FIG
  • WHITE CEDAR, CHINA BERRY
  • WISTERIA
  • YEWS
  • YELLOW JASMINE
  • …I hope you’re still here and read through the list.

    I know that as I typed it, I was reminded of many very common plants that I had forgotten were unsafe for my flock.

    Again for Graham, I applaud you for being concerned about the safety of your flock and hope you can come up with a workable solution for your chickens.

    See Also…

    How To Grow A More Productive Veggie Garden… How To Turn The Food I Grow Into Healthy Hearty Meals… How To Keep Chickens, Rabbits & Other Livestock… How To Turn Herbs Into Natural Health & Wellness… How To Become More Self Sufficient In General…

    Top 10 Garden Plants For Chickens and Ducks

    Tyrant Farms is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more 367shares

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    Do you have chickens or ducks? If so and you love your flock as much as we do, your birds are likely spoiled rotten. And completely ungrateful…

    Even wild #freerange #ducks need a good head scratch and massage from time to time. Not saying our ducks are spoiled but… 🙂 #welshharlequins #DucksOfInstagram #HeritageBreedDucks #duck #GrowJourney

    A video posted by Tyrant Farms (@tyrantfarms) on Sep 12, 2015 at 10:32am PDT

    Video: Svetlana enjoying a good head massage from The Tyrant, her favorite human slave.

    It’s important for your flock’s health, longevity, and egg production to make sure they have optimal nutrition. In addition to their primary food, we like to give our ducks plenty of fresh garden goodies throughout the year, which is one of many reasons that we maintain a large organic garden/edible landscape.

    Over the years, we’ve learned what garden treats our ducks do and don’t like. Now, we’re always sure to grow their favorite varieties to keep them spoiled with fresh organic produce every season of the year. These fruits and veggies are also some of our favorites as well – so when our ducks aren’t looking, we’ll steal food from “their” garden. (Shh, don’t tell them.)

    We use temporary fencing to set up “duck gardens” in our back yard for our ducks. Our ducks can reach their heads in just far enough to “trim” the outer leaves as the plants mature. This gives them a fun activity and fresh foraged greens without allowing them to completely destroy the plants – which is what they’d do with unfettered access.

    If you’re a gardener (or aspiring gardener) with spoiled fowl, you might want to grow the 10 seed varieties we mention below and even consider getting all of them in a single 10-pack bundle straight from our USDA certified organic heirloom seed company (GrowJourney) – PayPal purchase link here and at the bottom of the article.

    Depending on where you live, the dates/months that you’ll grow and harvest these varieties will vary, but you can just follow the instructions on our seed packets to get great results.

    Based on the preferences of our Welsh Harlequin ducks combined with feedback from other gardeners we know who raise ducks and chickens, here are the Top 10 garden plants for chickens and ducks (in no particular order):

    *note: growing info below is based on our temperate climate region, Zone 7B

    1. Mild Asian Greens

    If you think you can’t have an edible garden because of shade, think again. There are probably as many edible plants that will grow in shade as will grow in full sun and some edible plants can tolerate both. This is a spot that gets at most 4 hours of direct sun but it’s full of edible plants you may be familiar with. Front to back: borage, vitamin greens/vitaminna, lettuce, kale, cilantro, strawberry spinach. They’re “trimmed” next to the fencing since this bed is primarily intended to provide our ducks with some forage during the day: they can reach their fat little heads in, but not too far. 🙂

      • season: fall, winter, spring
      • light: full sun-part shade
      • description & growing notes: Napa cabbage, vitamin greens, mibuna, bok choy, and similar mild Asian greens all offer a similar, delicious flavor. Our ducks love them, and we do too.

    2. Chicory

    There is a huge amount of diversity in the size, shape, color, and taste of various chicory varieties. We’ve grown dozens of varieties and our ducks like them all, even when they’re going to bolt and turn very bitter.

      • season: spring and fall
      • light: full sun-part shade
      • description & growing notes: There are tons of varieties of chicory, and they come in all different sizes, shapes, colors, and flavors. Our ducks like it all, except for some of the perennial varieties that get really bitter in the hot summer months. The variety listed has been their favorite among the ~15 or more varieties they’ve “sampled.” It’s tall upright frilly leaves are easy to harvest as a cut-and-come-again veggie and the taste is really pleasant (for humans too).

    3. Lettuce

    A beautiful patch of young lettuce.

      • season: spring and fall
      • light: full sun-part shade
      • description & growing notes: Did you know that in duck heaven, the clouds are made of lettuce? At least that’s what our ducks tell us… They seriously love the stuff, and it’s hard to pick their favorite here… but this is one of ours that they will more than willingly eat by the bowl full.

    4. Kale

    Ooh, kale on top and chickweed growing underneath. If you were a duck or chicken, this would make your brain light up with hunger and excitement. We harvest and chop huge quantities of kale for our flock throughout the cool months.

      • season: fall, winter spring for us (summers too hot)
      • light: full sun-part shade
      • description & growing notes: Our girls aren’t too picky about which kale they’ll eat, but for some reason they seem to prefer extra frilly-leafed varieties. Perhaps it’s fun for them to grab and rip the frilly leaves versus the flat leaves (like Lacinato).

    5. Mâche

    Mache goes from a tiny, low-growing green to a bush of tiny white flowers very quickly in the spring (you can see it flowering in large clumps in this photo). It’s edible at every stage. Beneficial/predatory insects will LOVE you for growing it – as will your poultry.

      • season: fall, winter, spring
      • light: full sun-part shade
      • description & growing notes: Another incredibly cold-hardy green, we’ve had mâche survive uncovered down into the single digits. It stays small throughout the winter and then doubles in size nearly every week in the late winter/early spring where we live until it starts producing tiny flowers and seed pods. The greens are delicious – they taste almost nutty.

    6. Austrian Winter Peas (the greens, not the pods)

    Peas don’t just produce tasty pods, they also produce delicious foliage. The best part is the tender young growth shoots, which taste just like peas, but have a soft, silky texture. Our fave variety for shoots is Austrian winter peas. Here’s a quick video showing you how to harvest them from the plant. #austrianwinterpeas #heirloomseeds #organicseeds #GrowJourney A post shared by Tyrant Farms (@tyrantfarms) on Apr 13, 2017 at 1:10pm PDT

    • season: fall, winter, spring
    • light: full sun-part shade
    • description & growing notes: Peas aren’t just a spring plant if you know the right varieties. Austrian winter peas are the cold-hardiest variety we grow, surviving uncovered to around 10°F. The peas from the mature spring pods make a killer dried pea for soup, but they’re not as good as snap peas for eating raw. Their real magic is in the delicious edible shoots/leaves, which taste every bit as good – if not better – than sugar snap peas. They’re very high in protein, and as you might have guessed, our ducks LOVE them. These also make a great nitrogen-fixing cover crop. If you want to learn more about how to grow & harvest Austrian winter peas, you’ll enjoy this article.

    7. Calendula

    Calendula Flower

    • season: fall and spring (can grow in winter under low tunnels)
    • light: full sun-part shade
    • description & growing notes: We love edible flowers. We especially love when those edible flowers have proven medicinal benefits for our ducks and make their egg yolks a deep golden orange. Each night, our girls get bowls of water with mixed greens in them – during calendula season, we mix in calendula petals. In human food, calendula flowers are often used as a saffron substitute or the petals are added to make salads more visually interesting. The leaves are edible to people too, but they’re not as tasty as other garden greens (eat them when they’re young and tender if you’re going to eat them).

    8. Tomatoes

    Lol! Currant tomatoes + tomato loving ducks = pure entertainment. Of all the things we grow, tomatoes are our ducks’ favorite for some reason, and it seems like they eat their body weight in tomatoes every day during the summer. #ducksofinstagram #ducks #welshharlequin #welshharlequinducks

    A post shared by Tyrant Farms (@tyrantfarms) on Sep 21, 2016 at 11:16am PDT

    • season: summer
    • light: full sun (smaller-fruited currant and cherry tomatoes can actually grow in part shade, although they won’t produce as much fruit.
    • description & growing notes: We have no idea why, but tomatoes are probably our girls absolute favorite food. If we were the only thing standing between our ducks and a sacrificial tomato, we’d be seriously worried for our health. We love ‘Matt’s Wild Cherry’ tomatoes for a few reasons: they’re incredibly robust and need no care; they’re the perfect size for a greedy duck bill to gulp down whole; they readily reseed and come back in the same spot year after year; and they’re an absolutely delicious tomato for duck slaves (aka humans) to enjoy by the handful as well.

    9. Sunberries

    Yum, sunberries!

    • season: summer
    • light: produce most fruit in full sun, but tolerate part shade
    • description & growing notes: A relatively unknown fruit attributed to the famous plant breeder, Luther Burbank, sunberries (aka wonderberries) are related to tomatoes and ground cherries, but taste more like a mild blueberry. The 2-3′ tall plants form prolific clusters of berries that ripen black. Ducks, chickens, and children and adult humans are all happier when sunberries are ripe.

    10. Ground Cherries

    Small currant tomatoes on the left, ground cherries in the white bowl on the right. This is the stuff duck and chicken dreams are made of.

    • season: summer
    • light: full sun for best fruit production and flavor
    • description & growing notes: This strange little husked fruit blew our minds when we first ate it many years ago–it tastes like a cross between a pineapple and a tomato. It’s a staple in our summer garden every year. As it turns out, our ducks love them to, especially Svetlana the flock matriarch who could eat her body weight in ground cherries if we let her. More in-depth info on how to grow & use them here.

    *Chickweed

    See the long stems with tiny green leaves and tiny white flowers? That’s chickweed (Stellaria media) – your ducks and chickens will love you for growing it, and it probably already grows as a “weed” all around you in the late winter/early spring.

    • season: fall, winter, spring
    • light: grows well but will go to seed earlier in full sun; thrives in part shade
    • description & growing notes: This delightful “weed” grows abundantly in the winter and spring throughout the US. The flavor is sweet and mild and most similar to corn silk (yes, the frills that stick up out of the top of a corn husk). It was brought over by early European settlers since its one of the earliest greens to produce, and has since naturalized all over North America. It’s one of the most cold-hardy greens you can grow – we’ve had it live uncovered through 10°F. It grows crazy fast in the spring and our ducks will absolutely gorge themselves on it. Yes, the reason it’s called “chickweed” is that chickens do indeed love it too. Once you know what chickweed looks like, you’ll probably see it everywhere during its growing season.

    Buy Our 10-Pack Chicken & Duck Seed Bundle!

    Want to keep your whole flock happy and healthy (both human and fowl)? Buy our 10-pack seed bundle containing all 10 seeds varieties listed above. All seeds are 100% USDA certified organic and provided via GrowJourney, our seed company. Price: $30 | shipping is FREE for all US residents (please contact us if you’re shipping to Canada).

    *Note: Chickweed seeds, the bonus #11 plant on the list above, are not included since it is probably already growing wild in your yard – if you do want to buy chickweed seeds, you can get it here; just keep in mind that it needs cool/cold weather to germinate.

    If you found this post helpful, please share it!

    KIGI,

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    Please be sure to subscribe to Tyrant Farms to see what’s in-season out in nature, have fresh seasonal recipes delivered to your inbox and get helpful organic/permaculture gardening & duck keeping tips.

    A slightly different focus today – ducks! More specifically, what should ducks eat, how you should feed them, what treats can you give them and much more.

    As a small child, I can remember going to the riverside with my Mum to feed the ducks. Those ducks used to make me laugh with their antics and the way they waddled!

    We used to feed them old bread (a big no-no nowadays), but back then we didn’t know any different and the ducks didn’t seem to mind either.

    Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about what ducks eat, both in the wild and as pets.

    What Do Ducks Eat In The Wild?

    Wild ducks have a varied, omnivorous diet. While we think of them eating mainly weeds, waterside plants and dabbling through the mud, you may be surprised to read some of the things they eat!

    While dabbling in the lovely mud at the bottom of ponds and streams, they are looking for things like crawfish, small shrimps, beetle larvae even small frogs, fish and newts.

    They do eat a lot of plant based materials (seeds, greens, weeds, water plants and roots), grass, berries and nuts (when in season).

    Since their diet in the wild is unpredictable they have evolved to eat a wide variety of things to maintain health all year long.

    Ducks are able to carry large fat reservoirs under that wonderful feather insulation which will see them through short snaps of bad weather. They also reduce their exposure to the elements by finding sheltered spots to sit in and they have specialized blood flow to their legs and feet to prevent freezing.

    Feeding Pet Ducks 101

    Feeding ducks the right diet has a tremendous influence on how they grow and develop. Poor diet lacking in nutrition will most certainly have a detrimental effect on them.

    There are very few feed manufacturers that put out feed specific for ducks. I was able to find one but it was very expensive.

    Instead you can use chicken feed if you need to.

    Chicken feed, although similar does not provide all of the necessary nutrients for ducks, so you may have to improvise (more on this later).

    To keep it simple we are going to tell you how here:

    Ducklings

    They will require 20-22% chick crumbles (non-medicated). You will need to add 1.5 tablespoons of brewers’ yeast to each cup of feed.

    The crumbles need to be made into a wet mash consistency since it is easy for ducklings to choke on dry crumbles.

    Make sure your ducklings have access to water at least an hour before you feed them and make sure it’s no deeper than ¼ inch. You should supervise ducklings in water since they are not ‘waterproof’ until around 4 weeks old and can easily drown in a small amount of water.

    Week 3

    Now you should drop the protein content in feed to 16-18%, continue to add the brewers’ yeast.

    Week 20

    Here your ducks can now change over to pelleted chicken layer feed 16%. They will no longer require the brewers’ yeast.

    Something that ducks need a lot of is water. They need lots of water to drink; an adult duck can drink half a gallon each day. They also like to wash their faces in the water and of course, paddling and swimming.

    When you have ducks, you can never have enough water!

    How Much To Feed Them

    The amount that you should feed your ducks is not dissimilar to chickens. At the 0-4 week stage they should be given free choice in order to eat what they want.

    At 4-20 weeks they will consume roughly 0.25lb feed per day each and at 20+ weeks they will be eating around 0.3lb feed per day.

    If your birds are allowed to free range, they will gather much of their nutrition from the garden and surrounding area. Whether or not you feed free choice, or twice a day, is up to you and what you think is best. Many folks feed twice a day but will also have some treats available in case the ducks want a snack.

    Obviously, the amount your duck will eat varies with the size of the duck. Little Call ducks will eat considerably less than a Cayuga or Appleyard.

    Basic Feed Requirements

    In this section we are going to go through all of the dietary stages of ducks and their requirements for growth and development.

    0-2 Weeks

    This is the time that ducklings require the highest protein content of their diet (20-22%). There is lots of growing going on in this stage.

    3-8 Weeks

    The protein content should be cut back to 16% now to encourage growth at a reasonable speed. The growth rate should also start to slow down a little at this time.

    Some people keep them on an 18% protein feed to increase the rate of growth, but a high protein diet can cause wing and leg deformities along with kidney and liver problems.

    9-20 Weeks

    As incredible as it may seem, ducks have reached somewhere between 70-90% of their growth by week 9! Protein content of feed should be around 15%.

    Between 9-20 weeks, growth rate slows. They replace their adolescent feathers with adult plumage and finally reach sexual maturity. Now is the time to separate the sexes if you want to.

    Now the feeding of your ducks can get a bit confusing – we can divide the adults into 3 categories:

    • Maintenance diet: This is for the seasons when the ducks are not laying, late Fall/winter. The protein requirement can drop to 12-14%.
    • Layer diet: Those eggs certainly deplete a girl’s protein! 16% protein will do, but you can use 18% for short spurts.
    • Drake and non-layer diet: Drakes and non-laying hens require the standard 14% for maintenance.

    Vitamins and Minerals

    Ducks require the same vitamins and minerals that chicks do but in slightly different quantities.

    Calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D are essential to the well-being of the duckling. Insufficient quantities can result in bone problems. This usually manifest as difficulty in walking (usually called rickets in severe cases).

    Niacin deficiency in ducklings can be very common if you feed chick starter to your ducks.

    Chick feed does not contain sufficient niacin for duck health, so you need to add some to the feed.

    This is very easy to do; brewers’ yeast powder can be added to either the feed or water daily. Insufficient niacin leads to neurological problems, shaking, bowed legs, seizures and eventually death if not corrected.

    Several changes in protein level may seem a bit finicky and not everyone sticks to the exact regimen, but if you want to raise healthy ducks, it is worth the time and effort.

    Buying a large bag of 20% crumbles will see you through the various changes if you are prepared to ‘doctor’ the feed yourself. As an example you have 20% protein feed but want to give 15-16% protein feed. Use 3 cups of 20% feed and 1 cup of rolled oats to mix in and you have reduced your protein intake to around 15%!

    What Treats Can I Feed Ducks?

    Like most of our pets, ducks enjoy treats, but what do you feed them? It’s really not so different from chicken treats and like chicken treats the treat should have no more than 10% of their daily intake. Here is a list of some treats you can feed them:

    • Cracked corn (huge favorite)
    • Grains (wheat and barley)
    • Uncooked oats
    • Milo
    • Black oil sunflower seeds (a huge favorite)
    • Birdseed
    • Chopped salad or greens
    • Watercress
    • Mealworms
    • Fresh fruit (grapes halved, banana, apple (without seeds), peaches, blueberries and blackberries)
    • Veggies (chopped into small pieces, sweet corn is a favorite)
    • Hard boiled eggs
    • Scrambled eggs

    You should not feed them, raw potato, spinach, citrus or avocado.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Feeding Ducks

    Can Ducks Eat Bread?

    Ducks will eat stale bread, donuts, chips, crackers and popcorn but these things are very low in nutrition and can actually be bad for them.

    If you want to feed the ducks give them something healthy; birdseed, cracked corn, peas, veggie trimmings (cut into small pieces) or mealworms. All will be appreciated and are much healthier for them!

    What Do Wild Ducks Eat In Winter?

    You may see them in areas where there is still running water or at the edges of ponds and wetlands where the ice is not quite so thick, they will be probing for anything under the ice.

    If there is open water they will be ‘fishing’ for small fish or other snacks. Almost any green vegetation is eaten and any berries on the hedgerows.

    What Is Angel Wing?

    This is a problem caused by too much protein in the diet. It causes their feathers to stick out rather than lay flat. It can be severe enough to prevent them from flying.

    Summary

    Whilst it is difficult to buy feed specifically for ducks, with a little ingenuity you can modify your chicken feed to suit them. It really isn’t difficult to do and won’t take up much time at all – in fact you will soon be an expert at it!

    Ducks are delightful creatures, sure to bring a smile to your face every day. They are also a tremendous benefit in the garden where they love nothing better than to chow down on slugs, snails and bugs.

    They will happily patrol the lawn (on pest control duties) looking for tasty snacks before retreating to the pond for some boisterous paddling and bathing time.

    Do you keep ducks, if so what breeds? Let us know in the comments section below…

    Planting A Waterfowl Proof Garden: Learn About Plants Ducks And Geese Won’t Eat

    It can be fun to watch duck and goose activity near your landscape, but in addition to their droppings, they can wreak havoc on your plants. Not only do they like eating the vegetation, they are notorious for damaging them too. Geese will tromp over any smaller flora, crushing it and keeping you from being able to fill in blank spaces with new plants. Are there duck and goose proof plants? Let’s find out.

    Finding Goose and Duck Proof Plants

    Certain regions are waterfowl Nirvana. If you live in such a site, don’t despair. There are some plants ducks and geese won’t eat. Keeping plants safe from ducks and geese is another option to a waterfowl proof garden by using barriers. Consider some of these plants as well as effective barriers in areas of the garden that are known havens for these birds.

    Ducks will eat small insects as well as vegetation, while geese tend to stick with foliage and flowers. They are voracious eaters and will dine on both aquatic and terrestrial plants. Many gardeners relate the birds’ fondness for flowers, especially, but they also eat grasses and other plants.

    A well-planned pond with wild plants should withstand wild fowl activity, but a landscaped home pond that gets visiting birds may experience the most problems. In such situations, you can try bird netting or a fence to keep them out. This may limit the problem to some degree. There are also pellets that you can use to repel them, or plant herbs with strong scents like oregano, sage and lemon verbena.

    Developing a Waterfowl Proof Garden

    If keeping plants safe from ducks and geese with barriers isn’t possible, the types of plants surrounding a water feature may help limit damage. Gardeners familiar with the issue state that birds love plants like lilies and moss roses. Ducks, especially, like to dine on cultivated flowers, while geese will stomp on your precious plants and crush them.

    Try to use perennials that will at least come back if walked on or eaten. Consider coarse plants with tough leaves and blades, like Egyptian papyrus. Many of the species in the Scirpus genus would also be effective choices. Also, use spiked plants and palms or cycads.

    Plants Ducks and Geese Won’t Eat

    Stick with highly scented, thorny or spiked plants. One suggestion is to find a list of deer resistant plants and use these. The properties that will repel the deer will also repel the birds. While you probably can’t guarantee a hungry bird won’t disturb a particular plant, here is a list of potential candidates that may not be attractive to the fowl:

    • Pickerel weed
    • Rose mallow
    • Water canna
    • Texas sedge
    • Indian grass
    • Lady fern
    • Powdery alligator flag
    • Broadleaf cattail
    • Sand spikerush
    • Bushy bluestem
    • Creeping burrhead

    As well as their usual daily feed of commercial duck food you can also feed your ducks a variety of delicious treats and snacks. Some treats, like vegetables, can be fed every day and other treats, like fruit or meal worms, should be saved for more special occasions.

    If you’ve been wondering what you can feed your ducks to supplement their usual diet just check our list below before feeding:

    Vegetables

    As we said above, vegetables can be fed daily; however it’s best to limit the amount of carbohydrate high vegetables and only feed treats once their normal feed has been eaten.

    Lettuce, Kale, and Cabbage should all be shredded and ducks seem to prefer raw over cooked. Ducks can eat both the stalks and tops of Broccoli and Cauliflower either raw or cooked.

    • Lettuce (except Iceberg)
    • Cucumber
    • Corn (on the cob, cooked, or uncooked)
    • Peas
    • Carrots (raw or cooked diced into small pieces)
    • Beans (must be cooked until they are soft as raw beans are toxic to ducks)
    • Broccoli
    • Cabbage
    • Cauliflower
    • Beetroot (fresh is better for ducks than tinned)
    • Asparagus (ducks seem to prefer cooked to raw)
    • Kale
    • Squash
    • Pumpkin
    • Turnips (cooked only)
    • Courgette (great shredded and placed in a bowl of warm water to make a warm winter “soup” for your ducks)
    • Bok Choy

    Fruit

    Fruit should only be fed occasionally as fruits contain a lot of natural sugars. Top tip: halved cherry tomatoes are a great way of getting your ducks to take medication. Simply halve and hide the pill in the tomato – then feed to your duck!

    • Tomatoes (only the flesh – vines and leaves are toxic)
    • Aubergine
    • Pears
    • Apples (applesauce is an easier treat for ducks to eat and can be mixed in with other treats. Do not feed ducks apple seeds as they contain cyanide and even small amounts can be toxic)
    • Bananas (mashed or diced – not the skin)
    • Peaches
    • Cherries (fresh and seedless only – not jarred or tinned)
    • Strawberries

    Protein/dairy treats

    High protein treats will often give duck manure a stronger smell so only feed these treats occasionally.

    • Worms (best when found from your own garden – be careful of worms bought from bait shops as they have sometimes been chemically treated)
    • Crickets
    • Eggs (cooked only – try hard boiling and dicing with the shells on as an extra source of calcium)
    • Plain yoghurt
    • Cottage cheese

    Other supplements

    With a healthy, balanced diet your ducks shouldn’t really need any extra supplements but sometimes duck keepers like to include things in their ducks’ diet to promote good health.

    • Electrolytes – these are especially useful during the hot summer months or if you have a dehydrated duck. Follow packet instructions for dosage requirements.
    • Grit – free range birds should get all the grit they need but if you keep your ducks in an enclosure you’ll need to provide them with grit to help grind up food in their gizzards.
    • Oyster shell – this is an important supplement if you having laying ducks as the oyster shell provides them with enough calcium for good egg production.
    • Brewer’s Yeast – brewer’s yeast contains Niacin, an essential nutrient that promotes good health, particularly good foot and leg health.
    • Apple cider vinegar – only use raw apple cider vinegar and add 1 tablespoon per gallon of water. Apple cider vinegar promotes general good health, particularly good gut health.

    By feeding chickens and ducks scraps, you also have to know which types of food they cannot and should not eat! That is really important.

    What NOT to Feed Chickens

    • Avocado (flesh, pits, or skins) – contain toxic persin, which accounts for myocardial necrosis. Just 5% of avocado can kill a small bird in 48 hours!
    • White Potatoes (cooked or raw, skins or flesh) – part of the nightshade family, one that is not good for chickens, and contain the toxin solanine. It can destroy red bloos cells, cause heart failure, and diarrhea. Don’t let your chickens eat the potato plant, either!
    • Tomato or Eggplant Leaves – these are also in the nightshade family and can be toxic. You can feed your chickens ripe tomatoes or eggplants, but no green fruit please!
    • Apple Seeds – this should be taken lightly, as chickens can eat an apple. The seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide, so it’s best to feed them an apple that has been cored. The same goes for the pits and seeds of apricots, cherries, peaches, pears, and plums.
    • Rhubarb – The leaves of rhubarb are toxic to both humans and animals. They should not be eaten at all! While chickens can eat the stalks, they contain oxalic acid which can cause eggshells to become soft.
    • Beans (raw or dried) – beans that are raw contain a natural insecticide called phytohemagglutinin that can be toxic. If the beans are cooked, they are fine for your flock to eat. The act of sprouting beans also kills off this insecticide.
    • Onions – contain thiosulfate that destroys red blood cells. All alliums should really be avoided as well! This can cause anemia in your flock.
    • Chocolate, Caffeine, Salty, Sweet, Fried, Junk foods. Just don’t do this! Ew!
    • Citrus – this can actually be okay, it won’t hurt the birds, but they usually don’t like it. Citrus is often not recommended for compost piles either!

    What NOT to Feed Ducks

    The duck list is the same as the chickens, but there are a few other things that ducks should not eat!

    • Spinach – this can interfere with calcium absorption, though it is okay in small amounts! Low calcium levels can mean thin shelled eggs.
    • Iceberg Lettuce – ducks have loose stools to begin with due to the amounts of water they drink. Iceberg lettuce is okay (though very low in nutritional value) and can give ducks diarrhea. It is best to give them super greens like kale, collards, and cabbage!

    Mar 19, They can, however, eat tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. If you’d like to feed your chickens eggs (they are a great source of protein, after all). Jul 19, To properly feed ducks, give your them mostly nutritious food meal with adequate protein With proper feeding, you can raise healthy, happy ducks! . Never give your ducks white potatoes, green tomatoes, or eggplant. Oct 22, If you’ve been wondering what you can feed your ducks to supplement Simply halve and hide the pill in the tomato – then feed to your duck!.

    Oct 22, If you’ve been wondering what you can feed your ducks to supplement Simply halve and hide the pill in the tomato – then feed to your duck!. I give my ducks tomatoes and lettuce every day. I read up ahead of time, but one can get severely confused with so many people saying. ducks eat? Either way, here’s all you need to know to feeding ducks. cost effective. But your ducks will eat scratch-grains or any other grains that you would feed your chickens. . White Potatoes, Green Tomatoes, and Eggplant. These are.

    For baby ducks, you’ll want to cut Tomatoes (only the flesh. Jun 28, Now I go through it in about a week, but I am also feeding 8 ducks who eat You can feed your chickens ripe tomatoes or eggplants, but no. If you do feed your ducks mango, watch them for any reaction. If they along with other members of the family including rhubarb, green tomatoes and eggplant.

    When it comes to a duck’s health, knowing WHAT should you feed ducks in your Tomatoes- All kinds, the flesh only, NO vines/leaves as they are toxic to birds. Sep 10, HEADING down to your local pond to feed the ducks has long been a fun way to spend time together as a family, but feeding ducks bread can. May 11, Two lists of foods: what that you CAN feed your ducks, and one you CANNOT Some keepers chop up red tomatoes and give to ducks as a.

    Of course when feeding anything to a duckling or grown duck, be sure they have I usually cut tomatoes in half for our ducks, but you can also slice them for. So we shouldn’t feed ducks things like bread, pasta and crackers (salted crackers like Fruits – there are lots of fruits that your ducks will enjoy like tomatoes. Nov 18, Just watching ducks in a pond can be good for you, thanks to benefits of biophilia like reduced anxiety and increased creativity. Lots of people.

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