Many of you might already know this, but seeds are an important part of the diet of all waterfowls, including the ducks. It means that if you want to ensure that your feathered pets are in perfect health, adding seeds to their diet would be a wise choice. But how would you find out which seeds are safe or unsafe for your ducks? What about sunflower seeds?
Yes, ducks can eat sunflower seeds. Sunflowers seeds are high in thiamine, B1, as well as vitamin E. All of these nutrients can help to strengthen your ducks’ immune and digestive system. They can eat both shelled and unshelled sunflower seeds safely, as long as you’re feeding these to them in moderation as a snack.
Ducks love sunflower seeds. It’s a fact, supported by ample anecdotal evidence as well as animal nutrition experts and a number of social media posts. But not all duck owners know whether their feathered friends can indeed eat and enjoy these tasty treats without any health concerns.
To get to the bottom of this mystery, we need to look at the nutritional value of sunflower seeds as well as what they have to provide, then consult with knowledgeable parties on the subject. We’ve got your back here with some useful tips on whether your ducks can eat sunflower seeds.
In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about feeding sunflower seeds to your ducks.
Are sunflower seeds healthy for ducks?
If you’re looking to add seeds to your pet duck’s diet, it is obvious that you want your pets to gain some nutritional value from them. And as far as the sunflower seeds are concerned, they’re so nutritionally dense that you will include them in your duck’s diet gladly.
But how would you know if the sunflower seeds are nutritious? Well, browsing through the table of their nutritional composition might give you a better understanding of it:
|Vitamin A||50 IU|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||1.48 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.355 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||8.335 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)||1.13 mg|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||1.345 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folates)||227 mcg|
|Vitamin C||1.4 mg|
|Vitamin E||35.17 mg|
|Calcium, Ca||78 mg|
|Iron, Fe||5.25 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||325 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||660 mg|
|Zinc, Zn||5 mg|
|Potassium, K||645 mg|
|Manganese, Mn||1.95 mg|
|Selenium, Se||53 mcg|
|Sodium, Na||9 mg|
|Copper, Cu||1.8 mg|
|Dietary fibers||8.6 g|
Serving size: 100 grams
It is clearly the presence of all the aforementioned vitamins and minerals that makes the sunflower seeds healthy for human consumption. But since ducks have a different diet and nutritional needs, we can’t expect them to gain the same health benefits from these seeds as we do.
Given below are the advantages of feeding the sunflower seeds to your ducks:
- Sunflower seeds contain Vitamin A in abundance, which is perfect for the ducks as it promotes their healthy growth and supports the production of antibodies in their body. Moreover, Vitamin A also has a positive impact on their egg quality and production.
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin) in sunflower seeds is essential for keeping the leg as well as joint muscles of your ducks intact. The deficiency of Niacin in their diet can lead to joint troubles for them, and can even hamper their walking abilities in the long run.
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) helps your ducks in the metabolism of the carbs, fats, and protein they consume. Luckily, this acid is present in the sunflower seeds.
- Sunflower seeds are an organic source of Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine), which plays a vital role in balancing the red blood cells in duck’s body and keeping their nervous system smooth-functioning. Additionally, pyridoxine also leads to your ducks laying more and heavier eggs.
- These seeds also contain Vitamin B9 (Folates), a vitamin whose deficiency in your pet’s diet can lead to issues like an enlarged liver and macrocytic anemia.
- If you want your pet’s overall health to be pristine, adding Vitamin E to their diet is vital. It not only boosts their immune health but is also rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, protecting the duck against the Wry Neck Disease.
- The Calcium in the sunflower seeds is vital for strengthening the duck’s bones and muscles.
- Potassium is responsible for improving their cognitive functions.
- Iron keeps them protected from the risk of anemia.
- Magnesium can enhance their nerve and muscle functions, as well as promote a steady heartbeat in them.
- In addition to supporting your duck’s bone development, Manganese also boosts their metabolism, reproductive health, and blood clotting processes.
- Selenium plays a key role in keeping the duck’s thyroid gland healthy.
- Sunflower seeds contain fibers in abundance, which makes them great for the digestive health of all birds and animals, including ducks.
- Lastly, these seeds are also rich in carbs, which are responsible for providing your pets with energy.
Risks involved with feeding sunflower seeds to ducks
For all the health benefits the sunflower seeds offer to your feathered pets, they can also be risky for them when fed too much or too frequently. There are three major problems the ducks can face if they’re overeating these seeds.
The first problem is the high calorific count of these seeds. As you might have noticed in the table given above, 100 grams of sunflower seeds have 584 kcal calories. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the calorific count of 584 kcal is indeed too much for the ducks. And if the ducks are consuming more calories than they can spend on a daily basis, the excess calories in their body will be converted into fats, which can make them overweight.
Have you ever heard of Cadmium? It is a heavy metal present in the soil. The sunflowers often take up this metal from the soil, after which Cadmium gets deposited inside their seeds. While Cadmium is harmlessly for your pets in moderation, too much of it can damage their kidney.
The last issue with overfeeding sunflower seeds to your ducks is their high fiber content. While fibers can benefit their digestive health in moderation, if they’re consuming high-fiber food too often, it can make them suffer from digestive problems such as diarrhea and constipation.
As you can gather, feeding sunflower seeds to your ducks on a daily basis is not a good idea. So, how often can your pets eat these seeds safely? Well, we would recommend you to feed a handful of these seeds to the ducks once a week.
Can ducks eat shelled sunflower seeds?
Are you wondering whether shelled or unshelled sunflower seeds would be better for your feathered pets? It would please you to learn that ducks can safely eat both shelled as well as unshelled sunflower seeds. So, whichever ones you have bought from the market are good for them.
However, there is one thing that you’ll have to keep in mind. The shell of these seeds is practically made of fiber, which increases their fiber content several times. And since too much fiber can be detrimental to your pet’s digestive health, we would advise you to feed the shelled seeds to them once in two weeks.
If you’ve bought unshelled seeds for them, the moderation we discussed in the last section would be perfect.
Is it okay to feed salted sunflower seeds to ducks?
Many of us prefer eating salted sunflower seeds to plain ones because salt adds a little extra flavor to them. But can our ducks eat these seeds as well? Absolutely not. You must never give your ducks salted sunflower seeds, or any other salted seeds for that matter.
Many of you might not know it, but ducks receive all the salt they need from their feed. Adding any more salt to their diet can be dangerous for their health. In many cases, ducks have lost their lives to salt overdose.
In case you have bought salted sunflower seeds for your ducks and are worried you might have to throw them away, rest easy; your sunflower seeds will not go to waste.
In all the store-bought salted sunflower seeds, the seeds are coated with salt on the inside. This is means that you can easily get rid of the salt by a thorough wash of the seeds. So, go ahead, wash the seeds and feed them to your beloved pets.
Is it safe to feed watermelons to the ducks along with their seeds? Yes, absolutely. The seeds of watermelons, or any other melon for that matter, are completely harmless for your ducks, which is why they can safely eat seeded watermelons.
Can ducks eat rice? Yes, ducks can safely eat rice, both in the cooked as well as uncooked form. You just need to be careful not to feed them rice with mold on it, since the mold can make them sick.
Conclusion: Can ducks eat sunflower seeds?
So, the bottom line is, ducks can safely eat the seeds of sunflowers. Not only are these seeds healthy for your ducks, but they’re also a part of their diet in the wild. However, be careful not to overfeed these to them, since their high calorie-count and fiber content could be harmful to the ducks.