Compared to ducks living in the wild, our domestic ducks have it made in the shade.
They get taken care of, they get protection, and of course, they get a wonderful diet of high-quality duck feed with fresh fruit thrown in from time to time
Ducks can eat a lot of the same fruits that we do safely, but they can’t eat all of them.
How about blueberries? Blueberries are so wholesome and nutritious it’s unthinkable that ducks couldn’t have them, right? So, can ducks eat blueberries?
Yes, ducks can eat blueberries, and safely, and they can be a nutritious part of their diet. Blueberries have vitamins and minerals but they should only have them occasionally because they are so sugary.
No surprise here. Blueberries probably aren’t something that most duck species in the wild would get, but that’s not stopping us from serving them to our own ducks.
Most ducks seem to really like blueberries, and they get some legitimate benefits for them, but like all sugary foods, you must serve them in moderation.
It’s not a big deal, but keep reading, and I’ll tell you what you need to know if you want to make blueberries a part of your flock’s diet.
Are Blueberries Good for Ducks?
Yes, they definitely are! Blueberries are well and rightly known for being packed with vitamins and antioxidants that can improve health in all sorts of ways. It’s not just for people either; we’re talking about ducks, here!
The nutrient content in blueberries can definitely improve immune system function in ducks, improve skin health, feather quality (including growth of feathers after injury or molting), metabolism, and a host of other bodily processes, including overall organ function and circulation.
All great benefits, to be sure, but you can’t give your ducks too many blueberries because they contain quite a bit of sugar.
Unlike some other birds, ducks don’t struggle so much with moist food because they’re waterfowl, after all, but the sugar content can become problematic if they are allowed to eat to excess.
Nutritional Profile of Blueberries
I mentioned that blueberries have a great nutritional profile of vitamins and minerals, so what exactly are we talking about here?
Starting with the vitamins we see that blueberries contain a good amount of most of the B complex vitamins, including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid and a good amount of vitamin B6 along with a little folate.
Other vitamins include a tremendous amount of vitamin K and vitamin C backed up by a fair amount of vitamin E.
Also worth mentioning, blueberries have trace amounts of vitamin A and beta carotene, although they’re not a significant source for humans or ducks.
The mineral content of blueberries is also quite respectable, with a great amount of manganese and significantly lesser amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
All of these are things that ducks need to thrive, and blueberries have a helpful amount of all of them. Making blueberries an occasional part of your ducks’ diet will definitely prove the benefits.
Can Ducks Eat Blueberries Raw?
Yes, they can. Raw blueberries are the way to go if you want to serve them to ducks.
So long as the berries aren’t too big for your ducks, making them hard for them to swallow, they won’t have any difficulty eating them and raw blueberries also contain the best possible nutritional value.
Can Ducks Eat Blueberries When They are Cooked?
Yes, ducks can also eat cooked blueberries safely so long as the berries haven’t been adulterated with any sugar or other ingredients.
However, and it is a big one, you shouldn’t even waste the time or effort to cook blueberries for your ducks because you just don’t need to.
Cooking will soften the berries and break them down, but it’s not going to make them much easier for ducks to eat.
It might make them more appealing for some picky ducks because they are a little softer and wetter when they get them, but that’s all.
Cooking will also significantly deplete the vitamin and mineral content in the blueberries, and that’s a pretty big negative trade-off.
Can Ducklings Have Blueberries, Also?
Yes, but cautiously, and for a couple of reasons…
Ducklings can benefit from the nutrients in blueberries in the same ways that adults can. However, it’s best if you wait for your ducklings to grow up a little bit before they get blueberries.
For starters, blueberries might be a choking hazard for tiny ducklings, even the smaller ones you sometimes buy for cooking and baking.
Then there’s the sugar content. Ducklings have very sensitive digestive systems, as with all baby birds, and taking in a lot of sugar could give them diarrhea or other digestive issues that can be big trouble at this young age.
If you’re going to give your ducklings blueberries, just give them one as a treat until they mature a little bit. Even then, keep an eye on them for safety.
Never Give Blueberries to Ducks if They are Made with Harmful Foods
Most of you were probably already thinking about this. Blueberries are amazing when they’re perfectly ripe, all by themselves, but blueberries are also used in all sorts of desserts, confections and other sweet treats.
They are all amazing, but as expected you mustn’t give these things to your ducks no matter how much you want to share and how much they look at you with those pleading, pretty eyes.
Things like butter, salt and way too much sugar are all bad news for ducks and can lead to issues with obesity, fatty liver syndrome, serious diarrhea, or even something really heinous like sodium poisoning.
Don’t do it; stick with fresh, simple blueberries only!
How Often Can Ducks Eat Blueberries?
Blueberries are healthy and wholesome for ducks, no doubt about it, but they must not be a majority part of their diet, or even something they get every day.
I can understand why you’d want to do that, but the negatives associated with blueberries will always outrun the positives. The sugar is the big issue as discussed already.
Because of this, only give your ducks blueberries about twice a week, and keep those serving sizes small.
Blueberries can be a little more than an occasional treat, but they should never be more than a supplement in their diet.
How Can You Serve Blueberries to Your Ducks?
There’s not much to do if you want to give blueberries to your ducks. Assuming the berries are small enough for the ducks to swallow easily, you can just wash them and then hand them over.
This is a good food to allow your ducks to search for and eat for off the ground if they need a little engagement.
Alternatively, you can lightly mash the blueberries, and mix them in with other foods, too, to make a sort of duck casserole that they’ll enjoy.
Don’t Leave Moldy, Spoiled Blueberries Where Ducks Can Get Them
You can count on your ducks to eat all the blueberries they can, believe me, but in case they do leave some behind make sure you clean up after them. Don’t leave those old blueberries around to mold and spoil.
This is for two reasons: the first is that any duck that comes back around sometime later and eats a blueberry that has begun to decay might get sick. Always a chance!
The second reason is that blueberries, being super sweet and fragrant, will attract plenty of insects and other pests as well, including mice, rats and raccoons.
These critters can hurt your ducks or eat eggs, and you don’t want that.
Tom has lived and worked on farms and homesteads from the Carolinas to Kentucky and beyond. He is passionate about helping people prepare for tough times by embracing lifestyles of self-sufficiency.