Most of us, and pretty much all of us that own ducks, know that ducks have a pretty varied diet, although they eat mostly plant matter. That being said, your average duck does need plenty of protein.
That usually comes from insects and other small creatures, or from a protein-fortified feed for domestic ducks.
But there are a few plants out there that are packed with the protein that ducks need, if only they can eat them! How about peanuts? Can ducks eat peanuts?
Yes, ducks can eat peanuts so long as they’re roasted or cooked and some other way and removed from their shells. Raw peanuts contain toxins that are harmful for ducks, and the shells are a significant choking hazard.
Peanuts are indeed packed with protein, a tremendous source of calories for good or ill, and also a great source of vitamins and minerals that ducks need.
They are way too calorie dense to be anything more than an occasional snack or supplement for ducks, but you can feed them peanuts if you want to as long as you’re careful.
I’ll tell you everything you need to know in the rest of this article…
Are Peanuts Good for Ducks?
Peanuts are nominally good for ducks because they have lots of protein and other vitamins and minerals they need.
However, peanuts are very, very calorie dense and contain a high amount of fat which can be problematic for ducks.
That being said, adding a few peanuts to a duck’s diet now and then we’ll give them lots of nutrients that will promote good health, including healing after an injury, good feathering performance, organ function, circulatory health, and more.
That being said, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is allowing ducks to eat peanuts whenever they want, or giving them peanuts as a snack or treat on a regular basis.
That will certainly lead to ducks gaining weight, and eventually obesity along with all of the health problems that that entails.
But so long as you give ducks peanuts sparingly and responsibly, they will certainly enjoy them and benefit from these nutrient-packed, delicious little morsels.
Nutritional Profile of Peanuts
Peanuts are very rich in vitamins and minerals, and they’re also full of protein, fat and carbohydrates alike.
They really are a total package when it concerns a duck’s energy requirements and also nutrition, but the problem, as mentioned, is that they’re simply too calorie dense to be eaten regularly.
Nonetheless, just a few will do in the case of peanuts, because each and every one of them is jam-packed with B complex vitamins, including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folate and vitamin B6 in abundance. This is rounded out by a great amount of vitamin E also.
The mineral content is arguably even more impressive than the vitamin content, and peanuts are full of phosphorus, manganese, magnesium and zinc along with somewhat lesser amounts of iron, calcium and potassium.
Also notable is that peanuts are nowhere near as salty as people think, at least not naturally. Peanuts contain just a little bit of sodium assuming they aren’t roasted or otherwise cooked with tons of stuff.
Can Ducks Eat Peanuts Raw?
No, or at least they shouldn’t. Unlike most other plants and vegetables which ducks can eat raw with absolutely no issues, they shouldn’t have peanuts raw.
This is because raw peanuts are abundant with an enzyme called trypsin.
This enzyme can potentially cause serious digestive issues if ducks eat too many peanuts because it digests protein molecules through the cutting of amino acids.
I’ll spare you the science lecture for now, you can look into that if you want, but suffice it to say that it can cause serious and potentially fatal digestive upset in ducks if they get too much. Better safe than sorry!
Can Ducks Eat Peanuts When They are Roasted or Boiled?
Yes, ducks can absolutely eat peanuts that are roasted, boiled, or cooked in some other way.
Aside from the production of potentially dangerous enzymes and other compounds in the peanut, cooking will further reduce the chances that the peanut will be affected by mold and also make it more palatable for your ducks.
However, it is crucial that you do not ever give your ducks any peanuts that are roasted or cooked with extra salt, sugar or any other ingredients like that.
All those things are very bad for ducks.
Can Ducks Eat Peanuts in the Shell?
Ducks will eat peanuts in the shell, but they definitely shouldn’t.
And it’s not because the shell is toxic, but rather that it presents a serious choking hazard and also poses a major risk of crop blockage or gizzard impaction.
The trick is that ducks don’t chew their food, not in their mouth anyway. Ducks swallow their food whole which is then ground up and processed in the gizzard.
Peanut shells are hard, and that odd shape basically makes them like a little cork once they’ve been swallowed.
It is an easy thing for that hard, bulbous peanut shell to stop up the works, as it were, once a duck swallows it.
Always remove the shells from the peanuts before feeding them to your ducks.
Can Ducks Have Salted Peanuts?
No! Peanuts are naturally not very salty at all; they are made that way because of how people prepare them.
Your ducks do need a little bit of salt in their diet, that is true, but they don’t need anything even approximating the mountain of salt that typically comes on peanuts.
Stick with plain, unsalted peanuts only for your ducks.
Can Ducks Have Peanut Butter?!
Surprisingly, yes they can! But once again, you need to serve them unsalted, no-sugar peanut butter for it to be totally safe for them.
Strangely enough, ducks seem to really like peanut butter, and it will definitely get their motor running!
However, there’s hardly anything that is more caloric and fattening than peanut butter.
If you’re going to give them some you should just mix a tiny little bit of it in with their usual food or perhaps let them have a few nibbles every once in awhile, but no more.
Can Ducklings Have Peanuts, Also?
Ducklings can have peanuts, but only very rarely until they reach adolescence. And even then, you’ll need to crush the peanuts into tiny tidbits to reduce or eliminate the risk of choking.
Ducklings have a very sensitive digestive system, and also stringent nutritional requirements if they’re going to grow strong and healthy.
Peanuts, frankly, have too many calories and way too much fat for ducklings to have anything more than a tiny morsel or two of a crushed peanut.
Never Give Salted, Sugared, or Seasoned Peanuts to Ducks
Back to the issue of salted and flavored peanuts. These things make wonderful snacks for us, but they are terrible for ducks.
Salt, sugar, and various seasoning mixes can all cause terrible health issues for your ducks, not the least of which is hypertension, fatty liver syndrome or even sodium poisoning, a terrible condition that will cause your duck to lose control of itself and go into seizures, potentially ending in brain damage or death.
If you have seasoned, salted, sugar or otherwise flavored snacking or cocktail peanuts you need to keep that stuff for just you and your family. Give your ducks the plain stuff only!
How Often Can Ducks Eat Peanuts?
Like I said, ducks should not have peanuts all the time. No matter how nutritious they are, and no matter how much they beg for them, don’t give in. They are simply too rich in calories and in fat to be good for ducks regularly.
I recommend it you don’t give them anything more than two tiny servings a week. And I mean tiny, the equivalent of two peanuts worth, out of the shell.
Anything more than that, and you’ll probably notice your ducks start putting on weight.
A better plan, I think, is to reserve them as treats to give to your ducks periodically. A few peanuts once in a while is going to thrill them, and won’t negatively impact their health.
How Can You Serve Peanuts to Your Ducks?
Your peanuts must be unsalted, unseasoned, cooked, and shelled before they are served to your ducks. That’s the baseline.
From there, if you have larger ducks they can probably eat a half of a little peanut heart (that’s the inner part of the peanut that we eat) easily enough with no problems.
For smaller ducks, or if you want to mix the peanuts in with other foods, crush them up into little tidbits.
Some people also grind peanuts into a coarse powder that can be mixed in with other food to help fortify it and give ducks energy during times of stress or extreme cold.
Be Careful: Peanuts Can Host Toxic Molds that Can Kill Ducks
You must take care to only serve your ducks high-quality peanuts, and also inspect them for mold before serving.
Peanuts, along with other foods like grains, can potentially host molds which generate deadly toxins called mycotoxins.
Well the worst in this category is aflatoxin, which is, almost invariably, fatal to ducks if ingested. If your peanuts seem moldy, smell “off” or were exposed to moisture and then allowed to dry out I would not feed them to your ducks.
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.