Can Ducks Eat Broccoli?

Can Ducks Eat Broccoli

I know it sounds like the start of a bad joke, but we’re going to find out the answer in this blog post. I will also reveal a number of mistakes people make when trying to feed their ducks, along with a collection of helpful tips for feeding your ducks a healthy diet.

Can ducks eat broccoli? Yes, broccoli is a viable nutrient source for ducks. Broccoli is a dark green cruciferous vegetable packed with nutrients that has been linked to many health benefits for ducks. Ducks can eat all parts of broccoli, including the florets, stalks, and leaves. Both raw and cooked broccoli are edible to ducks, but raw is more nutritious because of its higher nutritional content. 

Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family (to which kale, cauliflower, and cabbage belong) that looks like the smaller version of a tree. There are three different varieties of these vegetables found in the world: Sprouting Broccoli, Calabrese Broccoli, and Purple Cauliflower.

Ducks can eat broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and other cruciferous vegetables without any difficulty. Although they contain a lot of nutrients and vitamins that are beneficial to the health of birds, these veggies also contain certain compounds including goitrogens, tannins, and thiocyanates that can be harmful if consumed in excess.

Rich in vitamins, minerals, bioactive compounds, and antioxidants, broccoli is a nutrient-dense vegetable with a lot of offer. But what about your pet ducks? Can they eat broccoli as well? That’s what we are going to learn in this article.

Is broccoli healthy for ducks?

Broccoli is a nutritious vegetable that is healthy for our consumption, but can the same be said for your feathered pets? Before we figure that out, let’s take a quick look at the nutritional table of these veggies:

Nutritional value of broccoli

Vitamin A131 mcg
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)0.071 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.117 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)0.639 mg
Vitamin B4 (Choline)18.7 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)0.537 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)0.175 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate)63 mcg
Vitamin C89.2 mg
Vitamin E0.78 mg
Vitamin K101.6 mg
Calcium, Ca47 mg
Iron, Fe0.73 mg
Phosphorus, P66 mg
Magnesium, Mg21 mg
Potassium, Na316 mg
Manganese, Mn0.21 mg
Copper, Cu0.049 mg
Sodium, Na33 mg
Zinc, Zn0.41 mg
Carbohydrates6.64 g
Fat0.37 g
Fiber2.4 g
Protein2.82 g
Calories34 kcal

Serving size: 100 grams

As you can see in the table above, broccoli is rich in both water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins, as well as several minerals.

They’re low-fat foods and have a low calorific count, which means that eating them will not make your ducks gain unnecessary weight.

Therefore, it would not be wrong to state that these veggies are extremely healthy for your pets.


Risks involved with feeding broccoli to ducks

In the last section, we learned how broccoli could prove beneficial for your pet’s health. Now, we will discuss when these veggies can stop benefitting them and start affecting their health adversely. The answer to it is quite straightforward: over-consumption.

But how can a nutritious vegetable become harmful to the ducks when overfed? Apart from all the nutrients mentioned above, some other compounds are also present in broccoli that are not healthy for these birds in excess.

Let’s take a look at them:


How many of you have heard of goitrogens before? These naturally occurring chemicals are usually found in plant-based foods and have the ability to interfere with the smooth functioning of your pet’s thyroid gland.

They can disrupt its iodine intake capacity, triggering the release of thyroid-stimulating hormones (TSH). The TSH lead to the growth of thyroid tissues, ultimately causing Goiter in them.

Some of the primary symptoms of goiter in ducks are as follows:

  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Crop distention
  • Vomiting or regurgitation
  • Difficulty in swallowing food due to blockage in the esophagus
  • A remarkably enlarged thyroid gland

Since broccoli contains goitrogens, if your ducks overfeed on it, they risk suffering from goiter.


Oxalic acid

Broccoli is also rich in oxalic acid or oxalates. And for those of you who are unaware of it, oxalic acid has been classified as an antinutrient because of its ability to bind with minerals, particularly calcium, preventing its absorption.

While a moderate amount of oxalic acid is harmless to your ducks, if a lot of it is deposited in their body, it will result in calcium deficiency.

If you think your feathered pets might be suffering from this deficiency, these are the symptoms you need to look out for:

  • Significant reduction in growth or stunted growth
  • Lameness
  • Constant stiffness in legs
  • Ruffled feathers
  • Enlarged joints
  • A rubbery texture of the leg bones



Lastly, broccoli contains a chemical compound named purine. When the ducks digest purine, it converts into uric acid, a waste product that their kidneys need to filter out of their body.

If they’re consuming more purine-rich foods, it will put unnecessary stress on their kidneys and even result in kidney failure.


Raw or cooked broccoli: which one is better for the ducks?

How do you like to eat your broccoli? Different people have different preferences when consuming these veggies; some like to saute broccoli a little before they eat it, while others prefer to consume them raw as a part of salads.

But what would your feathered pets like? Raw or cooked broccoli?

Ducks would not mind eating broccoli, whether it is raw or cooked. However, from a health perspective, raw broccoli is better for them than the cooked one.

It is because cooking or boiling these vegetables leaches out all their water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C and folates, as well as glucosinolate compounds.


Can ducks eat broccoli stalks?

When you purchase broccoli, do you eat only the florets and throw away the rest of it? If you do, you have no idea what you’re missing out on.

It might come as a surprise to most of you, but these stalks are quite nutritious; they contain vitamins A, B1, B2, C, E, and K, as well as folates, potassium, zinc, and iron.

They’re also rich in fibers and are said to have anti-cancer properties. They also have a sweet and mild flavor that you cannot find in the florets.

If you’re wondering if your feathered pets can eat these stalks or not, you have no reason to worry. Ducks will enjoy eating them as much as the florets. Just try to avoid feeding them whole stalks; chopping them down into smaller pieces is a safer alternative for the ducks.


What about broccoli leaves? Are they edible to ducks?

I believe I’m speaking for all of us here when I say that every time we cook broccoli, any and all leaves attached to the veggies is usually discarded.

Because these leaves are not really palatable to us, they are very rarely included in our diet. But instead of throwing these leaves away, can you feed them to your feathered pets?

Before adding it into your duck’s diet, wouldn’t you want to know if they have any nutritional value?

You’d be surprised to learn that these leaves are a storehouse of vitamins A, B2, B5, B9, and C. They also contain minerals like phosphorus, calcium, and potassium in abundance.

In fact, broccoli leaves have a higher beta-carotene content than their florets or stalks. This means that nothing stops you from feeding these leaves to your feathered pets, except their individual taste.

As we’ve mentioned before, these leaves are not really palatable, which is why there’s a chance that they might not want to eat them. If that’s the case, there is no point in force-feeding the leaves to them.


Frequently asked questions

Do ducks eat cauliflower? Yes, they can eat cauliflower just as safely as broccoli. Being leafy greens, cauliflowers are just the kind of vegetables you should be feeding your feathered pets.

Can I feed my duck peanuts? Yes, ducks can eat peanuts and enjoy munching on them immensely. Peanuts are rich in protein and carbs and can, thus, make a healthy treat for them. However, do not add salt or any other spice to the peanuts that you’re feeding them.

Which vegetables should I feed my ducks? There are a large number of vegetables that ducks can eat. Cabbage, kale, lettuce, chard, cucumbers, and peas are some of their favorite veggies.


Conclusion: Can Ducks Eat Broccoli?

In conclusion, ducks can eat broccoli. Broccoli is a great source of nutrients. It contains a lot of vitamins and minerals including vitamin C and K as well as calcium and iron.

Broccoli can be served raw or steamed, fresh or cooked, depending on its stage of growth. While these are some good options, feeding your ducks raw broccoli may be the ideal choice. This is because raw, uncooked broccoli contains more nutrients that steaming or cooking tends to remove.

And that brings us to the end of our article! Thanks for reading. I know this post was super long with lots of examples, so if you made it all the way through, congrats! You deserve a medal or something. Perhaps a bunch of broccoli? 🥦🥦

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