Ducks in the garden--what they will eat, what they will leave alone?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Eluria, Mar 9, 2015.

  1. Eluria

    Eluria Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello,

    We have four happy duckies to like to "help" me garden. Before I got ducks, I pictured them waddling happily through the garden, ridding us of unwanted pests and giving us some fertilizer--I hadn't counted on them ridding us of some of the plants as well! My question is--if you have ducks in your garden, what kinds of flowers (or herbs/vegetable plants) will they eat, and what do they leave alone?

    I have noticed, for example, that they will eat the canna lilly leaves, but they leave the columbine completely alone. They also ate our broccoli plants and the corn leaves. However, we are starting to re-plant our garden, and need some ideas. For example, will they eat sweet pea vines? Fuchsias? Pansies? Tomato plants? Bell peppers? (I know they eat tomatoes, just wondering whether they will strip down the leaves).

    Also, are there any plants I should stay away from for their safety?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    I have read different opinions about the nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes).

    Each flock is different.

    I have found that larger, taller plants are less interesting to them. Young tender plants, any leafy greens seem to attract them.

    I restrict their time and access to the gardens - they go in after harvest or well before the plants germinate.

    Perennials like blueberries and kiwi and hazelnuts are big enough that even if they nibble the lower leaves and fruit, they don't harm the plant.
     
  3. Eluria

    Eluria Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks...today when I went out, I found that they left the petunias, osteospermum and alyssuim alone, but apparently really liked the taste of the sweet peas and the baby tomato and bell pepper plants, because there wasn't a trace of those left (well--a stem of the bell pepper).

    Right now we have a very small fence that they just fly right over (it's like 18" high) so we are thinking of investing in a picket fence to keep them out of the garden part of the yard. Would 3-4 feet be enough? We have two welshies, a cayuga and a swedish blue. I haven't seen them fly much, but maybe they just aren't properly motivated lol.
     
  4. veronicasmom

    veronicasmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We lost two ducks to nightshade poisoning. It was wild deadly nightshade. One ate the leaves and just got sick, eventually we had her euthanized. Vet was not sure what happened. When it happened again, the plants were flowering and the berries were out, the second duck ate some and got very ill, very suddenly. We had her euthanized and a necropsy done. It was determined it was nightshade poisoning. So, JMO, but staying away from any of the nightshade family is wise. If you want to plant something in that family, fence it off.

    I had to hand pull all the nightshade out. I watch VERY closely for it wherever the ducks roam, I remove it and dispose of it in the garbage in a closed bag. It was a horrible experience to watch them get sick and die and not know why. They both had vet care immediately, but that was nothing we could do.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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  6. veronicasmom

    veronicasmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Last edited: Mar 16, 2015
  7. BladeDuck

    BladeDuck Out Of The Brooder

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    I've noticed they leave carrots and strawberries alone (berries too even though they love tomatoes). They also seem to leave alone aromatic things like onions and garlic. Thats what I intend to plant in the areas they get to... onions, carrots, and garlic :). I had a spaghetti squash in their area last year and they mostly left it alone, occasionally they would eat a flower or tender bud. It worked out though because that plant got squash bugs and the ducks helped keep the population from destroying the plant!
     
  8. Honey Rubin

    Honey Rubin New Egg

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    I was thinking about chickens again and still very hesitant because of protecting all the veggies/flowers. If I get call ducks, how carefully do I have to protect my garden beds? I have some plants in 5 to 25 gallon pots, 2 raised beds (14" tall walls) and a small bed 12" tall walls... numerous in ground flower beds. I want just a few ducks to control the tremendous grasshopper population and eat the weeds. Any other ducks recommended? We are on 1/4 acre totally fenced in the Verde Vally of AZ...two blocks from the Prescott Forest.
     

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