Ducks and seeds

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Wifezilla, Feb 21, 2009.

  1. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

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    Depending on who you talk to or what site you visit, seeds are either great for ducks or bad for ducks. So what is REALLY the deal?

    "What do ducks eat?
    That depends on the duck’s species and life stage. Different species have different diets. As well, ducks often eat different things at different ages, depending on what their bodies need.
    For example, mallard ducks will eat a variety of foods, such as seeds, roots and stems of bulrushes, millet and smartweed, as well as waste grain like barley from farmers fields. They’ve also been known to eat mosquito larvae, midges and mayfly nymphs.
    A different example is common mergansers. These birds usually eat minnows, game fish, trout, salmon and some amphibians.?"

    "The Wood Duck bill is short and a little bulbous with a sharp curve downward at the tip-called the "nail-"of the upper mandible. The Wood Duck bill is specifically adapted for seed-eating and, indeed, 90 percent of its diet is plant seeds.

    Pondweed, smartweed and dogwood seeds are favored, but their chief eating pleasure is oak acorns. Their bills, adaptively engineered for seed stripping and gripping, allow "Woodies" to feed exuberantly during their breeding-season sojourns deep in forests, when they often are a mile or more away from water."
    http://suburbanjournals.stltoday.com/articles/2008/11/04/monroe/life/1105cla-cliffnotes0.txt

    "The nutritious seeds of wetland smartweeds are popular with many species of ducks, seed-eating rails, and various songbirds (see Bird Table for a list of species), which may help to distribute the seeds. The plants and seeds of wetland smartweeds are a minor source of food to muskrats."
    http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/wetland/plants/water_smartweed.htm

    "In wet years they support the production of annual plants, such as smartweeds and millets. These plants produce a tremendous crop of seeds that are favored by dabbling ducks and other seed eating birds. The wet/dry nature of playas, along with their high plant production, means they produce an abundance of invertebrates. This productivity makes playas havens for birds and other wildlife throughout the year. "
    http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/landwater/land/habitats/high_plains/wetlands/playa.phtml

    http://209.85.173.132/search?q=cach...ion&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=6&gl=us&client=firefox-a
     
  2. Glad you brought this up, I keep wondering about it.
    When you think about it, all grains are seeds from grasses. As a way of providing the beneficial oils people have talked about feeding their ducks flax seed and even black sunflower seeds, which still have their shells on them from what I have seen. I have heard of people also feeding them pumpkin seed to help rid them of parasites, perhaps they were ground up.

    What exactly is the problem that is supposed to happen if ducks eat seeds?
     
  3. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

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    I keep hearing "digestive problems", but never any further explanation. Isn't that why they have a crop and eat grit???
     
  4. nettie

    nettie Enslaved by Indoor Ducks

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    Chicago, IL
    I know some that use seeds as grit. I guess in moderation it would be okay. Most seeds we think of (sunflower, pumpkin, etc) are all tasty but do have fat in them. I guess as a rare treat they should be okay as long as they have no salt, are not fried or cooked, etc. Just make sure you don't feed too many, or your ducks could get too much fat on them. I heard that if a duck gets too fatty, it "drowns" in it's own fat.
     
  5. Sunny the Hippie Chick

    Sunny the Hippie Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 8, 2008
    Brookings Oregon
    Ive always wondered about feeding domestic fowl.. Or rather any domestic animal the stuff they would have eatten if they are wild..
    I know some of the more fatty wild foods would have to be reduced.. Because domestic animals dont burn as much calories..

    Im watching this to see what others say..
     
  6. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

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    Nettie, fat doesn't cause fat formation. CARBOHYDRATES cause fat formation.

    That's how they make Foie Gras...they feed ducks or geese large amounts of carbohydrates and it makes them (and their livers) very fatty.

    If seeds made ducks fat, they would pump them full of seeds and not corn.
     
  7. KanakaNui

    KanakaNui Out Of The Brooder

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    Now I'm confuzzled... corn is a seed.
     
  8. TheDuckCrew

    TheDuckCrew Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2009
    Connecticut
    is it really bad to feed ducks seeds? i saw one site that said seeds would be a good treat. glad i didn't try that yet!
    my guess, is they really have no nutrional value and they aren't BAD they just aren't GOOD. i'm not sure though. i wouldn't want to test it on my ducks....
     
  9. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

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    Seeds are very healthy....at least for people and lots of different wildlife. They are full of nutrients, essential fatty acids and vitamins. The question here is are they good or at least not harmful for ducks??

    Corn is a seed but it is also very starchy. Other seeds have harder shells. Do these shells pose a problem for ducks? Do they split the seeds or eat them whole and grind them in their crops?
     
  10. KanakaNui

    KanakaNui Out Of The Brooder

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    I sprout a seed mix for my ducks, for treats. It's meant to grow pasture to enhance omega-3 production in eggs. I didn't understand this when I ordered it. So, I thought sprouting it would allow me to use it.

    The ducks eat it all except for the buckwheat hulls. It's a hard, large seed hull. The ducks eat the flax, clover, alfalfa and cowpeas-seeds, sprouts and all. The buckwheat sprouts get eatten, but the hulls just end up in the pond or waterer.

    I haven't found anything unusual in the gizzards.Just small rocks, mashed feed, etc. I think the ducks eat the seeds they can grind and discard the others.

    I've fed these sprouts to my ducks for a while cuz I bought quite a bit of seed.My birds have been very healthy.Livers and internal organs were nice on the culls as well.Not exactly feeding seeds, but pretty close. No health probs.
     

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