So, Can Ducks Eat Tomatoes?

Most domestic animals enjoy a diet that’s far more nutritionally complete, and oftentimes more varied, than their wild counterparts. Just look at our ducks, for instance…

Domestic ducks get to enjoy a diet of feed and often times many wholesome snacks and supplements like mealworms and other insects, and of course, produce in the form of fruits and vegetables.

a duck eating tomatoes

But our domestic ducks cannot eat just any vegetable. Some are bad for them! What about tomatoes? Can ducks eat tomatoes?

Yes, ducks can eat tomatoes but only very sparingly. Tomatoes are highly acidic and can easily cause digestive upset in ducks. Also, ducks should never eat green tomatoes or any other part of the tomato plant because they are poisonous.

Tomatoes are one of those veggies that it seems virtually impossible to get along without. We use them in everything!

And tomatoes are highly nutritious, not to mention delicious, but this isn’t something that your ducks need very much of even though they can benefit from a small amount in their diet.

That, and there are some concerns over toxicity involving various parts of the tomato plant, and potentially the tomato itself. Don’t panic, but do keep reading and I’ll tell you all about it…

Are Tomatoes Good for Ducks?

Tomatoes are good for ducks in the sense that they are highly nutritious, and can be a pretty decent source of calories and energy.

However, tomatoes have some significant drawbacks that must be managed if you want your ducks to get the benefits.

For instance, adding tomatoes to a duck’s diet has been shown to help strengthen circulatory health, general cellular function, nervous system health, organ function and even improve the efficiency and responsiveness of the immune system.

This will definitely help your ducks battle various germs and other diseases that could bring them down. More than this, tomatoes have a marked effect on skin health and feather quality in birds, including ducks.

The downsides are that eating too many tomatoes, or eating them too often, is likely to give your ducks serious digestive upset on account of their acidity.

That, and unripened tomatoes and any green part of the tomato plant are dangerously toxic for ducks. We’ll talk more about that in one second.

Nutritional Profile of Tomatoes

Tomatoes are most known and most loved for their deliciousness and sheer versatility in the kitchen, but they are surprisingly well-rounded nutritionally, and have a tremendous amount of a few key nutrients.

Looking at the vitamin content of tomatoes first we see that many vitamins are present in abundance, including a huge amount of vitamin C, and plenty of vitamins A, E, K and beta-carotene along with all of the B complex vitamins (except B4).

Tomatoes are no slouch when it comes to mineral content, either, although they have significantly more vitamins than minerals.

Most tomato cultivars have a useful amount of iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and manganese along with a little zinc and sodium.

Don’t sweat the sodium too much, because ducks do need it in their diet and tomatoes don’t have enough to make it a serious concern.

Something else to know about tomatoes is that they’re, obviously, very juicy and that makes them quite hydrating for ducks, and ducks prefer moist or wet food anyway.

Never Give Your Birds Green Tomatoes or Any Other Part of the Plant!

Now we get to the somewhat scary part. There are some significant risks associated with giving tomatoes to your ducks if you aren’t paying attention.

Specifically, unripened green tomatoes or any tomato that has a significant green spot on it, contains a dangerous toxin known as solanine.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because that is the same toxin present in nightshade family plants, including deadly nightshade. And guess what?

Tomatoes actually belong to the nightshade family too, along with eggplants! Now, ripened tomatoes contain no solanine, so you don’t have to worry about that.

But you do have to worry about any other green part of the plant, including the calyx; that’s the little leaves that grow on top of the tomato itself.

The vines, stems, roots, and all of that contain solanine at all times, and should never be fed to ducks.

Can Ducks Eat Tomatoes Raw?

Yes. Ducks have no problems eating raw tomatoes as long as they’re cut up into smaller chunks for them. They’ll struggle to bite into a whole or half tomato.

Raw tomatoes also contain the best possible nutrition, so that’s another added benefit.

Can Ducks Eat Tomato Seeds?

Yes, ducks can eat tomato seeds with absolutely no concerns. They’re definitely going to swallow them anyway as they eat chunks of tomato.

Can Ducks Eat Tomato Leaves?

No! Tomato leaves, be they leaves growing on the plant or the little calyx at the base of the tomatoes stem, all contain solanine which is dangerous for ducks.

Can Ducks Eat Tomato Vines?

No! Tomato Vines contain lots of solanine and are definitely bad news for your ducks. Most ducks will instinctively avoid them, but don’t trust it: keep the vines away from your ducks and keep your ducks away from the vines!

Can Ducks Eat Tomatoes When They are Cooked?

Yes, they can, but I’ll tell you right now there is no reason to do that. So long as you chop them tomatoes are more than soft enough for ducks to eat easily, and cooking them is only going to make a mess of them and deplete their nutritional content, vitamins and minerals alike.

Another thing, just in case you were thinking of it: cooking will not get rid of the solanine present in green tomatoes or in other parts of the tomato plant, so don’t try.

Can Ducklings Have Tomatoes, Also?

Yes, but only when they grow up a little bit, I would say no earlier than 4 or more preferably 5 weeks old. Even then, I would give them only the tiniest little tidbit of tomato as a novel treat.

Ducklings have incredibly sensitive systems, and rich, highly acidic tomatoes are just the thing to dangerously upset it.

Never Give Tomatoes to Ducks if They are Made with Harmful Foods

Like I mentioned above, tomatoes are an indispensable part of pretty much every kitchen around the world.

We use them for everything, we put them in everything, and we make lots of things from them. Things that ducks should never have, like super-sugary and super-salty tomato sauces.

Resist the temptation to give your ducks any tomato delicacies, and stick with fresh, ripe tomatoes only.

How Often Can Ducks Eat Tomatoes?

As healthy and wholesome as they are, ducks should only have tomatoes very sparingly. Once or, at most, twice a week and even then those servings should be small.

The nutritional content is good, and definitely worthwhile, but the acidity and richness of those tomatoes can easily cause gastronomical disaster if they are allowed to eat too many of them.

Diarrhea doesn’t just make a mess for you to clean up if your ducks get it, but it can also dangerously dehydrate them and do it quickly.

How Can You Serve Tomatoes to Your Ducks?

Make sure you remove the calyx and any other green parts of the plant from the tomato and then inspect it to ensure that the tomato itself does not have any green patches.

Assuming it is good to go, chop the tomato into chunks or cubes that are appropriately sized for your ducks to swallow hole. Smaller ducks need smaller pieces!

You can also mash up tomatoes after you chop them and create a sort of stew out of feed or other things that your ducks like to eat. Just watch the quantity, don’t overdo it!

Don’t Leave Moldy, Spoiled Tomatoes Where Ducks Can Get Them

Once they are cut up, tomatoes will start to rot and spoil quickly. Once your ducks have had their fill, make sure you take up any of the leftover tomatoes or any of the food that you mixed in with tomatoes and discard it.

If your ducks come back around and eat any bits of tomato later that have started to spoil, it could make them very sick.

On the same token, don’t give your ducks any tomatoes you have that have started to turn moldy. Throw them away like you would normally; don’t inflict them on your flock!

Leave a Comment