For optimal health and growth, ducks should primarily be fed a nutritionally balanced commercial waterfowl feed. However, because ducks need to eat a lot to stay healthy, feeding them can get expensive. Many duck owners like to supplement their birds’ store-bought food with snacks of human food and table scraps. This not only provides the ducks variety in their diet but helps to cut down on food waste as well. It is important to be sure the extra snacks offered are safe and healthy for the ducks. Watermelon is a delicious fruit to eat on a hot summer day but can ducks share in this tasty snack? Yes, ducks can eat watermelon and may enjoy all parts of this fruit including the rind and seeds.
Why Eating Watermelon Is Good for Ducks (and the Planet)
Besides offering ducks variety in their diets, watermelon contains several nutrients that may improve the overall health of the duck. Because ducks can eat parts of the watermelon that humans usually don’t, they can be a big help in cutting down on food waste. More watermelon rind consumed rather than thrown away benefits both the ducks and the planet as a whole.
Watermelon is a good source of vitamin C and vitamin A, both of which are important to the duck’s health. Increased vitamin C consumption was shown to be beneficial in increasing egg production in ducks. Vitamin C also helps ducks manage stressful conditions, particularly heat stress, and boosts immunity overall.
Vitamin A deficiency can cause numerous health problems in ducks. Increased levels of vitamin A, on the other hand, may help ducks grow bigger and stronger overall. Eating watermelon as part of a balanced diet can help ducks maintain a healthy level of vitamin A.
Not surprisingly, given its name, watermelon is about 92% water. Because of this, eating watermelon can help ducks stay well-hydrated. This is particularly helpful during the hot summer months, when weather conditions may make it harder for ducks to maintain their hydration status.
How to Safely Feed Watermelon to Ducks
As already discussed, ducks are more than happy to chomp on discarded watermelon rind and seeds. They may find the rinds easier to eat if they are cut into smaller chunks. While watermelon seeds are safe for ducks to eat, they should not be fed too many or they may have trouble digesting the excess seeds.
If you decide to offer your ducks watermelon flesh as a treat, there are a few different ways to feed it. Obviously, you can just cut and offer chunks of watermelon to the ducks. Be sure to keep an eye on them while they eat it as any small chunk of food is a potential choking hazard for the ducks. Another option for feeding ducks watermelon is to puree some of it in a blender and serve it in the hollowed-out watermelon half. You can also add chunks of watermelon or other fruit into the mixture.
When feeding your ducks watermelon, be sure to only feed fresh, not old or spoiled, fruit. While ducks can eat a wide variety of foods, spoiled or moldy food items can make them sick. Be sure to remove any unconsumed watermelon from the ducks’ reach before it spoils.
Other Foods That Ducks Can Eat (and a Few They Shouldnʻt)
As already discussed, ducks require a lot of food to grow and stay healthy. Fortunately, there are quite a few other safe snack options besides watermelon that your ducks may enjoy.
A more detailed list of safe and unsafe foods for ducks can be found here.
Watermelon can be a delicious and earth-friendly addition to your duck’s diet. Keep in mind, however, that watermelon and other treats should make up no more than 10% of the duck’s daily diet. Make sure your ducks always have access to water and grit as well to help keep them as healthy as possible. If you have additional concerns about what you are feeding your ducks or their overall health and well-being, be sure to consult your veterinarian.
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.