Although ducks are delightful backyard pets, it’s feeding them that’s the most struggling part of bringing them up. This is because while these waterfowls might eat a wide variety of foods, you can never know what is harming their health until it is too late.
Yes, ducks can eat potatoes. Potatoes are an excellent food for ducks, providing them with essential vitamins and minerals. However, feeding raw potatoes to them is not an option because of their solanine content. You should only feed them potatoes that have been well-cooked.
In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know before adding potatoes to the diet of your feathered pets.
Will ducks eat potatoes?
Whenever we are about to serve our pets something new to eat, we’re constantly thinking about whether or not will they like it. The same applies to ducks and potatoes as well; you must have a general idea about whether or not do ducks like eating potatoes before including these vegetables in their diet.
So, will ducks eat potatoes? Well, if you have been a duck owner for a while now, you must have already realized that ducks can be fussy eaters. All ducks have an individual taste and, therefore, a different take on what appeals to them and what doesn’t.
Therefore, if you’re eager to find out whether or not your feathered pets like eating potatoes, you can serve them these veggies and see if they’re keen on eating them.
If the ducks find potatoes appealing, you can move ahead; but if they do not, perhaps you should look for another vegetable for them.
Are potatoes healthy for the ducks?
If you’re still with us, we are assuming that your pet ducks have tasted potatoes and seem to like it. What’s the next thing you’d want to know? If you are a caring pet parent, learning more about the health benefit of these veggies for your pets would be your next step, as it is ours.
Most of us think of potatoes as carb-rich veggies that can provide us with energy. But are carbs the only nutrient these vegetables contain? Certainly not. There are many other vitamins and minerals that can also be found in them.
To help you get a better idea about the nutritional richness of potatoes, let’s take a look at the nutritional table of potatoes given below:
|Thiamine (Vitamin B1)||0.08 mg|
|Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)||0.032 mg|
|Niacin (Vitamin B3)||1.054 mg|
|Choline (Vitamin B4)||12.1 mg|
|Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5)||0.296 mg|
|Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)||0.295 mg|
|Folates (Vitamin B9)||16 mcg|
|Vitamin C||19.7 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.01 mg|
|Vitamin K||1.9 mcg|
|Potassium, K||421 mg|
|Sodium, Na||6 mg|
|Calcium, Ca||12 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||23 mg|
|Manganese, Mn||0.153 mg|
|Zinc, Zn||0.29 mg|
|Iron, Fe||0.78 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||57 mg|
|Copper, Cu||0.108 mg|
|Dietary fibers||2.6 g|
Serving size: 100 grams
Now that you’re better acquainted with the nutritional richness of potatoes, lets explore the health benefits that your ducks can gain from them:
- Potatoes contain Niacin (Vitamin B3), a vitamin that is vital in supporting your duck’s legs and joint muscles. The absence of this nutrient in their body can affect their joint health adversely.
- In order to absorb carbs and protein from the food ducks eat, they need the help of Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5), which is also present in potatoes.
- Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6), another B-vitamin present in potatoes, is responsible for maintaining the balance of red blood cells in your pet’s body. Moreover, it can also support the smooth functioning of their nervous system.
- Ducks also need Folates (Vitamin B9) in their diet in order to prevent diseases such as macrocytic anemia and an enlarged liver.
- Both Vitamins C and E, which are rich in antioxidants and can contribute to your duck’s healthy immune system, are present in potatoes. The Wry Neck Disease, an inflammatory disease that is common among ducks, can be avoided if your feathered pets are consuming appropriate quantities of these vitamins.
As the table indicates, there are many minerals in potatoes that are healthy for your pets. Let’s take a look at their functions in enhancing your duck’s health and well-being:
- Calcium builds and strengthens their muscles and bones.
- Magnesium boosts their nervous as well as muscle functions and maintains their steady heartbeat.
- All the cognitive functions in their body are powered by Potassium.
- Manganese plays a key role in the blood clotting processes in your ducks and promotes their reproductive health as well. Without this mineral, your pet could bleed to death even from a minor cut.
Other health benefits
- First and foremost, potatoes contain no sugar, which is ideal for your ducks. This is because ducks can gain weight very quickly if they’re eating sugar-rich foods. And their excess body weight puts undue strain on their legs.
- The calories of every food ducks eat provide them with all the energy they need. The calorific count of potatoes is perfect for them; neither too many calories nor too few.
- Potatoes have a moderate fiber content, which keeps the digestive system of your pets smooth-functioning.
Are raw potatoes safe for feeding your ducks?
While potatoes are indeed healthy veggies for your feathered pets (as we discussed in the last section), feeding these to the ducks raw is not a good idea. Now, you might be wondering why that is since most vegetables are fed to ducks raw.
The reason why we’re asking you not to feed raw potatoes to your ducks is because of the possibility of solanine’s presence in them. If you’re not aware of what solanine, keep reading.
The threat of Solanine
Solanine is a neurotoxin or a natural pesticide that naturally occurs in all plants that belong to the Nightshade family (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, and so on).
This substance is lethal to all insects, which is how it prevents them from eating the fruits of the plants. While most people tend to believe that solanine can harm only insects, it can also have a negative impact on all animals and birds, including humans. However, the solanine content of all nightshade fruits and vegetables is far too little to harm our health.
But as far as your feathered pets are concerned, even a tiny amount of solanine in their diet can have an adverse effect on their health, leading to solanine poisoning in them. It can damage their nervous system, cause convulsions and respiratory distress in them, and might even end up paralyzing or killing them.
So, if the ducks cannot eat raw potatoes, what other way can you feed them these veggies in? Let’s find out in the next section.
Can ducks eat cooked potatoes?
The most effective way of reducing the solanine level of a fruit or vegetable is to cook them (at a temperature as high as 400 degrees Fahrenheit).
This is why cooking potatoes can make them safe for your feathered pets to consume. In addition to getting rid of solanine, cooking also softens the tough flesh of these veggies, thereby, making them much easier for your toothless pets to chew.
If you’re feeding your pets cooked potatoes for the first time, here are a few pointers that you might find helpful:
- You must always purchase organic potatoes for the ducks instead of commercially-grown ones since they are both safer and healthier for your pets.
- If a potato is too green, it indicates a high level of solanine in it. In such cases, there’s a chance that some amount of solanine might still remain in the vegetable after cooking. Therefore, avoid cooking for them potatoes which have any green part.
- After cooking potatoes, let them cool down for about 20 minutes before serving them to your ducks. This way, your pets will be safe from any burn hazards.
- Mash the cooked potatoes well for your pets. But don’t add salt or any other seasoning to it. These are not a part of their diet and could be detrimental to their health.
Conclusion: Can ducks eat potatoes?
In this article, we’ve learned that potatoes are safe for the consumption of your ducks as long as they’re cooked. Raw potatoes can potentially contain solanine, which is lethal to birds like ducks, and should never be fed to them.
Moreover, you should always go for organic potatoes, as well as other fruits and vegetables, for the purpose of feeding them to your pets.