Ducks are quite the adventurous eater, and they have an affinity for fruit – especially delicious, ultra juicy fruits that are bursting with flavor. Knowing this, it’s not uncommon for a duck owner to think that oranges can be added to their duck’s colorful fruit bowl. But should they?
Oranges and other citrus fruits should not be offered to ducks or ducklings. Citrus inhibits calcium absorption, which can be detrimental to a duck. Not only will a lack of calcium create poor egg output, but it can also cause brittle bones and digestive problems, such as diarrhea.
It’s important to know which fruits should – and should not be – a part of your duck’s diet. This article focuses on oranges and whether or not they’re safe for duck consumption. It also shares why they’re considered toxic and which fruits to safely serve to your duck instead.
Although your duck will enjoy munching on various fruits, oranges should not be a part of a duck’s diet. This is because of the high levels of citric acid, which can halt calcium absorption and cause digestive upset.
Orange peels should also be avoided, even though they have less citric acid compared to the flesh of the fruit. Orange peels have high levels of cellulose that can be challenging for a duck to digest appropriately.
The good news is that ducks aren’t particularly fond of orange peels. Although they’re foragers that munch on all types of foods, orange peels don’t tend to interest ducks.
While a small, single piece of orange every so often won’t necessarily harm your duck, the negatives outweigh the positives so much that it’s unnecessary to serve in any capacity.
Much like adult ducks, ducklings should not consume oranges. In fact, it’s more critical for ducklings to avoid oranges as they’re going through their developing stages, and oranges can inhibit proper development.
There are a couple of serious reasons why ducks should refrain from consuming this beloved citrus fruit.
One of the biggest reasons why ducks should not eat oranges is that citric acid inhibits proper calcium absorption (source). In turn, ducks can end up with thin-shelled eggs that are delicate and susceptible to predators. A lack of calcium can cause brittle bones and deformities down the line.
The high acid content of oranges can also wreak havoc on your duck’s digestive system, causing undesirable side effects such as diarrhea, heartburn, and even ulcers.
Last but not least, oranges contain quite a bit of sugar. While a duck can handle sugar in tiny quantities, overconsumption can lead to many adverse side effects.
Diabetes, obesity, and liver disease are the most common outcomes. However, sugar can also damage a duck’s immune system, leaving them susceptible to infections that can cause further harm.
Here’s a video showing more about what ducks can eat:
Oranges aren’t necessarily “toxic” to ducks. Meaning, a duck will not perish if they eat a small piece of orange. However, oranges are not beneficial to ducks and cause more harm than good. So, while oranges won’t kill a duck right away, regular consumption can lead to issues that contribute to a duck’s ultimate demise.
Like other fruits, oranges have some redeeming qualities. The two most significant benefits the orange has to offer include:
- Vitamin C. This vitamin is responsible for improving one’s immune system. A robust immune system successfully fends off illnesses and diseases, leading to a strong and healthy duck.
- Antioxidants. Antioxidants play a role in boosting cell production and fending off cancer and diseases. While ducks aren’t as susceptible to cancer and diseases compared to other farm animals, it doesn’t mean it can’t happen.
Needless to say, oranges have a few benefits for ducks, but the cons outweigh the pros. There are other options for your duck to absorb the proper amount of vitamin C and antioxidants. For instance, you can offer them a bowl full of berries to improve vitamin C, antioxidants, and other vitamin and mineral levels.
The orange is a definite no-no for a duck’s diet. Although a small bite every now and then won’t hurt, it’s best to avoid the fruit at all costs. This will be relatively easy, considering ducks have an adventurous palette and enjoy snacking on a number of other tasty fruits. Here are some duck favorites:
- Honeydew Melon
You can serve these fruits in small amounts alone or together. In fact, you can consider blending multiple fruits to create a nutrient-dense smoothie your duck will enjoy slurping down, especially on a hot summer day.
Keep in mind that fruit should never make up more than 10% of a duck’s diet, as ducks require a well-balanced diet to grow healthy and strong. That means you should limit fruit servings to a couple of pieces of fruit every few days. Consider fruit like a special treat or dessert for your duck.
Oranges aren’t the only fruit that should be avoided at all costs. Fruits deemed “unsafe” for duck consumption include all types of citrus fruits, including grapefruits, lemons, and limes.
If the fruit is considered “citrus,” don’t feed it to your duck. Again, it’s all because of the high levels of citric acid, which can halt calcium absorption and lead to digestive issues and problems. The high sugar content doesn’t help ducks, either.
Although ducks love fruit and will gladly nosh on a piece of orange, they shouldn’t eat them – especially regularly or in high quantities. Oranges inhibit calcium absorption, leading to thin-shelled eggs, brittle bones, and deformities. The other issues are that the acid can lead to digestive upset, while the sugars can lead to a compromised immune system.