Ducks living on a farmstead or nearby can pose a fun afternoon for many folks. Whether racing the ducks in a county fair or tossing some old bread out the window, people like to feed and interact with ducks. Chocolate is a delicious treat enjoyed by many humans, but can ducks have it? How and when can you feed ducks chocolate?
Ducks should not consume chocolate under any circumstances. Chocolate is toxic to ducks and other farm livestock. In addition, consuming theobromine and caffeine can cause nerve damage, seizures, and even death for waterfowl and other livestock.
It is tempting to feed a duck something sweet like a chocolate-filled pastry or even a pie with a bit of chocolate filling on one spot. However, chocolate, even in tiny amounts, is the worst option for a duck. Ducks can experience adverse side effects after consuming chocolate, including death. On the other hand, ducks love sweets and enjoy a sweet treat.
Can Ducks Have Sweets?
Waterfowl birds feed from lakes and ponds and eat bugs, fish, and vegetation. Their diet lacks the processed element humans add to everything, corn syrup.
Feeding ducks sweets such as a piece of a cookie, pastry, or even bread can lead to weight gain and insulin spikes in the duck’s metabolic system.
Ducks have a similar metabolic system as mammals do when processing carbohydrates. The pancreas produces insulin in the duck to combat ducks’ sugar spikes when eating their natural diet. When new and excessive amounts of sugar are added to the duck’s diet, the insulin spikes, and the ducks could get diabetes.
Ducks should not consume sugar that they do not get from feeding in the pond. The duck’s diet permits it to have a treat every now and then but sticking to the seeds, and other sweet things the duck may eat naturally is always the best course of action.
Ducks can eat sweet things that they would consume in the wild, such as:
However, some of these items listed above should be treated as a treat and not given as part of the duck’s daily food intake in excessive amounts. Overfeeding these sweets to ducks will lead to long-term health problems.
Here’s a do’s and don’ts video for feeding ducks:
What Happens If You Feed Ducks Chocolate?
At first, the duck may enjoy the treat and be none the wiser. But then, the duck starts to get a little rumble in its tummy. This is because theobromine and caffeine have begun to affect the duck’s digestive system. What happens from this point forward depends on the amount of chocolate the duck has consumed.
Hopefully, the person who has offered the sweet treat has realized the horror that is about to unfold if they do not retreat. Nothing more serious occurs except a bad case of duck diarrhea.
However, if that is not the case, the theobromine and caffeine attack the duck’s central nervous system.
The twitches start slowly and then steadily increase in frequency. As the condition moves farther into the duck’s system, the duck will start to shake violently and convulse on the ground. If the duck can recover from this seizure, it might be permanently disabled and struggle to survive with the other members of its flock.
In addition, with a damaged central nervous system, the duck is more susceptible to waterfowl disease and limberneck (neck paralysis), and these ducks fall into a coma before passing.
The lucky ducks in this situation get to pass during the first seizure. However, the remaining ducks who survive the ordeal will have permanent damage to their central nervous system, leading to an array of individual reactions to the injury. Although broad, the spectrum ranges from viruses to transmitting pathogens to the rest of the duck population as they migrate.
What Other Common Foods are Harmful to Ducks?
Ducks are migratory birds that eat food found around ponds and other significant water sources. For example, ducks eat food scavenged from lake shores, rock beds, and ponding basins.
Ducks stop at the exact locations annually regardless of whether they are fed processed treats. When offering a tasty treat to a duck, they appreciate foods composed mainly of raw grain and seeds.
The most common foods people think are okay to feed ducks but are actually harmful include:
Bread and crackers have been shown to stunt ducklings’ growth and frequently contain mold spores that could be fatal to waterfowl alike.
Overfeeding is another issue that ducks face when presented with human treats. Therefore, it is wise to not offer treats if others are also feeding the ducks or feeding them anything other than what is found in their natural diet.
Ducks can choke on food that is not small enough to swallow whole. Ensuring that each piece is small enough for the duck to eat is responsible for feeding the ducks. Slicing grapes in halves or quarters will help prevent an awful experience while feeding the ducks.
Forcing the food in front of a flock of ducks and attempting to lure them with sweets does more harm than good.
Chocolate is exceptionally harmful to ducks, and even though it is a nice treat for humans, it is deadly for ducks.
Besides, ducks would much rather dive into the pond and snatch up a crawfish than eat a piece of chocolate. So chocolate is not in the duck’s natural diet, and if the duck is due for a treat, it is best to stick to things the duck already enjoys.
Feeding Ducks is Rather Fun When Done Correctly
Ducks eat vegetable scraps, nuts, worms, and even oats. Therefore, feeding the ducks responsibly ensures that everyone has a good time, including the ducks. In addition, feeding ducks will enhance a person’s connection with nature and the birds we share this wonderful world with; Unless it’s chocolate, it never gives ducks chocolate.