Can Ducks Eat Sunflower Seeds? Yes Or No?

It’s your responsibility to provide shelter, feed, and meet the other needs of ducks if you have them as pets. Interestingly, ducks can survive on a lot of things, and seeds happen to be one of them.

This brings us to the question. Can ducks eat sunflower seeds? Is it healthy for them? Should it be fed as a supplement or treated as a staple? These, among other relevant things, is what this article seeks to explain. So, continue reading to scoop all the info you need about sunflower seeds and your precious ducks.

Can Ducks Eat Sunflower Seeds?

Yes, ducks can eat sunflower seeds without fear. Sunflower seeds can be said to be the fruits of sunflowers. They are white, soft in texture, and encased in greyish-black shells, so you’d have to crack the shells to get them.

Ducks find sunflower seeds palatable because they are omnivores. Meaning they can eat both plants and animals. Additionally, sunflower seeds are pretty rich in healthy nutrients like healthy fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat), per the experts at WebMD.

Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds For Ducks

Sunflower seeds are a great addition to your birds’ diet because they contain beneficial nutrients that prevent health crises like inflammation, weak immune systems, and heart disease. It also ensures the healthy growth and development of ducks. Let’s get into more details.

Here are the benefits your ducks stand to gain from feeding on sunflower seeds.

  1. Vitamin E

Supplementing your ducks’ diet with sunflower seeds is a proven means to protect them from oxidative stress. It is also vital for protecting ducks from cardiovascular disease, among others. One of the common diseases affecting ducks is wry neck disease, where ducks become incapacitated to raise their heads properly. 

  1. Protein

Protein is an essential nutrient for the healthy growth, development, and overall performance of ducks. Protein helps to repair damaged or worn-out cells and tissues. It also improves the quality of duck meat and eggs.

  1. Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 also ensures a healthy immune system. It prevents ducks from heart disease and likewise ensures the proper functioning of the nervous system in ducks. They also ensure strong bone formation in ducks, thereby preventing arthritis and other bone problems.

  1. Dietary fiber

The fiber content in sunflower seeds is good for ducks. It increases bowel movement making it easier for ducks to pass stool. The fiber content also enhances digestion and encourages healthy weight gain in ducks.

  1. Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 facilitates how energy is derived from foods eaten by ducks. Because it also contributes to increased blood fat levels, niacin helps reduce heart disease risk. And since excess niacin does not pose any danger, any part of vitamin b3 that goes beyond the duck’s needs easily leaves the body through urine.

Sunflower seeds contain other essential nutrients like selenium, iron, manganese, unsaturated fat, phenolic acid, flavonoids, etc. These nutrients play a huge role in preventing disease risks and ensuring a good immune system and overall health in ducks. 

What Are The Downsides Of Giving Sunflower Seeds To Ducks?

Sunflower seeds are rich in calories. But too much is bad for ducks since it can result in excess weight gain. In addition, allowing ducks to consume contaminated or spoilt sunflower seeds can lead to crop impaction, constipation, and in other cases, it causes a bacterial infection (Salmonella).

Can Ducks Eat Spoilt Sunflower Seeds?

Notice molds growing on sunflower seeds? Avoid feeding ducks. If you wouldn’t eat spoilt or contaminated food to avoid falling ill, why should your ducks? Therefore, the answer is no. Ducks should not eat spoilt sunflower seeds.

Can Ducks Eat Sunflower Seeds With Their Shells?

The answer is yes. Ducks face no problem eating sunflower seeds together with their shells. Although these shells are inedible to humans, ducks need them. It provides grit for grinding food in their gizzard. The shell also provides ducks with dietary fiber for aiding digestion.

So, it does not matter if you want to serve sunflower seeds with their shells on. The ducks will still gobble them up. However, the shelled seeds are easier to digest. Therefore you may want to alternate the two options.

Can Ducks Eat Salted Sunflower Seeds?

A universal truth in the world of birders is salt is toxic to ducks. Why is this true? In my personal experience, ducks gain weight very easily, and having them feed on salt in large quantities will inevitably contribute to their excess weight gain. This becomes a problem because too much weight gain makes it difficult for ducks to move around freely as their feet become strained.

This is why it’s terrible to give salted sunflower seeds to ducks—ditto for other sugary and fatty foods. So take heed of this advice if you want the best for your ducks. 

Read also: can ducks eat mealworms

Can Ducks Eat Roasted Sunflower Seeds?

Yes, ducks can eat roasted sunflower seeds. In as much as the seeds are not salted, ducks would suffer no casualties or negative impact if they feed in them. And yes, they can eat any form of roasted sunflower seeds, whether shelled or unshelled.

Can Ducks Eat Boiled Sunflower Seeds?

Yes, ducks can eat boiled sunflower seeds. Asides from roasting, boiling is the next best processing method for preparing sunflower seeds. According to this research, boiling improves the nutritional quality of sunflower seeds.

How Often Can Ducks Eat Sunflower Seeds?

Ducks’ nutrition varies as they grow. When newly hatched, their diet should be super rich in protein. This regimen should continue if they are raised for meat, but you would have to tweak it if they are raised as layers. This is why duck feeds are the best feeding formula for ducks.

While sunflower seeds are great for ducks, too much of them is unhealthy, and a time will come when your birds wouldn’t eat them anymore or just eat a little. This is why it’s best to take sunflower seeds as fun snacks served as occasional treats. Maybe once or twice a week.

3 Tips To Help Birders In Feeding Sunflower Seeds To Ducks

It’s okay to let your ducks have boiled, roasted, or dry sunflower seeds, but you have to be extra careful when letting them eat sunflower seeds clumped together due to being wet. It’s alright for them to eat these seeds if they can be broken apart without much effort, but if it’s difficult to break the clumped seeds apart. Then, it’s safe not to let your ducks eat them.

It would be best if you also kept an eye on the level of pest infestation. For example, it’s best to serve ducks sunflower seeds free of pest attacks, ditto for seeds affected by a few insects, but if the level of infestation is much, it’s best to discard the seeds, as they can ruin the health of your ducks.

Savvy birders also avoid giving sunflower seeds to ducks for the first few times. This approach helps them ascertain whether the ducks react negatively to the seeds. So they can stop it before it causes a bigger problem.


From my experience, sunflower seeds are nice-to-haves for ducks. Adding them to your ducks’ diet enhances their overall health and performance. Similarly, your waterfowl wouldn’t be greatly disadvantaged if it’s left out of their diet. So far, they are provided with rations that adequately meet their nutritional demands all would be fine. 

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