Can Ducks Eat Apples?

duck leading its ducklings

Quick Answer:- Can Ducks Eat Apples?

Absolutely, ducks can eat apples. Apples are a safe and nutritious snack for ducks, providing a variety of vitamins and minerals important for their health. However, care should be taken when feeding apples to ducks. They must be chopped into small, manageable pieces to prevent choking, and all seeds should be removed as they contain traces of cyanide, which can be harmful. It’s important to remember that while apples can be a good treat, they should not replace a balanced diet specifically formulated for ducks. Apples should be considered as a supplement to their regular food, not a primary source of nutrition.

Are Apples Harmful To Ducks?

While apples themselves are not harmful to ducks, certain elements associated with apples could potentially pose a risk. Here are a few things to keep in mind when feeding apples to ducks:

Apple Seeds: Apple seeds contain a compound that can release cyanide when digested. Although a duck would need to consume a significant number of seeds for this to become fatal, it’s best to remove all seeds before offering apples to ducks to entirely eliminate this risk.

Choking Hazard: Large chunks of apples can be a choking hazard to ducks. Always chop apples into small, manageable pieces before feeding them to your ducks.

Pesticides: If the apples have been treated with pesticides, these chemicals can be harmful to ducks. Always wash apples thoroughly before feeding them to your ducks, and if possible, opt for organically grown apples.

Overfeeding: Ducks thrive on a balanced diet, and while apples are a healthy treat, feeding them too much can lead to nutritional imbalances. Apples should only constitute a small portion of a duck’s diet.

In summary, apples themselves are not harmful to ducks and can be a beneficial addition to their diet. However, it’s crucial to prepare them properly and feed them in moderation to ensure the health and wellbeing of your ducks.

three ducks stood together

Is There Any Risks Of Feeding Apples To Ducks?

Feeding apples to ducks can generally be considered safe and beneficial, offering them a delightful variety in their diet. However, as with all aspects of animal care, it is crucial to understand potential risks associated with feeding apples to ducks. By being aware of these potential issues, you can ensure your ducks enjoy their apple treats without any adverse effects.

Apple Seeds: As previously mentioned, apple seeds contain a compound that can release cyanide when digested. Although it’s unlikely to harm a duck in small quantities, it’s best to avoid feeding seeds to ducks altogether.

Choking Hazard: Ducks can choke on large chunks of apples, so it’s important to cut the fruit into small, bite-sized pieces.

Pesticides: Non-organic apples may be treated with pesticides, which can be harmful to ducks if consumed.

Too Much Sugar: While ducks can process some sugars, excessive consumption may lead to obesity and related health issues.

Nutritional Imbalance: Apples should not replace a balanced diet; over-reliance on apples can cause a nutritional imbalance in your ducks.

Diarrhoea: Feeding too many apples at once can cause ducks to have loose stools or diarrhoea.

Unripe Apples: Unripe apples can cause digestive discomfort in ducks.

Rotting Apples: Feeding rotting or fermented apples can cause food poisoning.

Attraction of Pests: Leftover apple pieces can attract pests to the area where your ducks live.

Dependency: Ducks could become overly dependent on treats and may refuse their regular food.

In summary, while apples can provide a nutritious treat for ducks, they should be offered with caution and in moderation. Proper preparation, such as removing the seeds and cutting the apples into small pieces, is vital to prevent any potential risks. Furthermore, it’s crucial to remember that apples should only supplement a balanced diet specifically formulated for ducks. If these guidelines are followed, ducks can enjoy apples as a part of their varied and balanced diet.

Are Apples A Good Source Of Nutrition For Ducks?

Apples are indeed a valuable source of nutrition for ducks. Rich in several vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibre, they can contribute positively to a duck’s overall health when incorporated as a part of a balanced diet. Below, we explore the nutritional content of apples and how these nutrients benefit ducks.

Nutrient in ApplesBenefit for Ducks
Dietary FibreFibre aids in healthy digestion, helping ducks maintain a smooth functioning digestive system.
Vitamin CAn essential vitamin for ducks, Vitamin C boosts immune health and aids in wound healing.
Vitamin AVital for maintaining good vision, growth, and reproductive health in ducks.
Vitamin KPlays a critical role in blood clotting, helping to prevent excessive bleeding in ducks.
CalciumNecessary for strong bones and eggshell formation in ducks.
PotassiumHelps in maintaining fluid balance and proper muscle function.
AntioxidantsProtects against cell damage, promoting overall health in ducks.

It’s worth noting, however, that while apples are a good source of these nutrients, they should not be the sole source of nutrition for ducks. A diet specifically formulated for ducks, supplemented with treats like apples and other fruits and vegetables, will ensure they receive all the necessary nutrients in the right proportions.

three mallard ducks on water

Types of Apples For Ducks

While most varieties of apples are suitable for ducks, some types are more easily found and grown in the UK and are particularly well-liked by our feathered friends. Here are a few you might consider:

Cox’s Orange Pippin: One of Britain’s oldest and best-loved apple varieties, the Cox’s Orange Pippin is a great choice for ducks. It’s known for its tangy and aromatic flavour.

Bramley: A classic British apple, Bramleys are particularly juicy and have a tart flavour. They’re primarily used for cooking but are also safe for ducks when given in moderation and appropriately prepared.

Egremont Russet: This apple variety has a sweet, nutty flavour that many ducks seem to enjoy. It’s also very commonly grown in the UK.

Discovery: Typically the first apples of the British season, Discovery apples are juicy with a sweet, acidic flavour. They’re a real treat for ducks, but remember to feed in moderation.

James Grieve: This is another variety that ducks often find palatable. It’s a versatile apple that can be eaten fresh or used for cooking.

Gala: Gala apples are sweet, crisp and juicy, making them an appealing snack for ducks.

Golden Delicious: Despite its name suggesting otherwise, Golden Delicious is actually a mild and sweet apple, and ducks seem to enjoy its soft texture and pleasant flavour.

Remember that no matter what type of apple you feed to your ducks, always ensure that they are ripe, washed, seedless, and cut into small pieces to ensure safety. These apple types offer a varied and delicious treat for your ducks, contributing positively to their diet when fed appropriately.

Do Ducks Like Apples?

Yes, many ducks do seem to enjoy the taste of apples. Apples can add variety to a duck’s diet and can be an excellent way to provide them with additional nutrients. Ducks often enjoy the juicy, sweet texture of ripe apples, making them a popular choice among many duck keepers.

However, just like humans, ducks have individual preferences. Some might eagerly devour apple pieces, while others might be less enthusiastic. This variability is also seen with other foods, such as watermelons. If you’re curious about this, you can read more about whether ducks can eat watermelon on our website.

It’s always a good idea to introduce any new food, including apples, slowly and in small quantities to see if your ducks take a liking to it.

Remember, while apples are a safe and generally well-accepted treat, they should not replace a balanced and varied diet that’s essential for a duck’s wellbeing. Treats like apples should be given in moderation and should not form the main part of a duck’s diet. If you observe any adverse reaction or changes in your ducks after they’ve consumed apples, it is advisable to consult with a vet.

two swimming mallard ducks on still body of water

Can Ducks Eat The Skins Of Apples?

Yes, ducks can safely eat the skins of apples. In fact, apple skins are rich in nutrients, including dietary fibre and several antioxidants. These can support a duck’s overall health, aiding digestion and providing protective benefits.

However, there are a few considerations to bear in mind:

Pesticides: If the apples have been treated with pesticides, these could potentially be harmful to ducks. Therefore, always thoroughly wash apples before feeding them to your ducks. If possible, opt for organically grown apples.

Choking Hazard: While ducks can generally handle eating apple skins, it’s essential to cut the apples into small, manageable pieces to prevent potential choking.

It’s always best to observe your ducks after introducing any new food to their diet, including apple skins. If they seem to enjoy them and exhibit no adverse reactions, you can continue to offer apple skins as part of their varied diet. As always, moderation is key.

How Should You Serve Them Apples?

When serving apples to ducks, there are a few simple steps you should follow to ensure their safety and enjoyment:

Wash the Apples: Thoroughly wash the apples under clean, running water to remove any dirt or potential pesticide residues.

Remove the Core and Seeds: As mentioned before, apple seeds contain a compound that can produce cyanide when digested. To avoid any risks, always remove the core and seeds from the apple before serving.

Cut into Small Pieces: Cut the apple into small, bite-sized pieces that are easy for the ducks to eat. This minimises the risk of choking and makes the apple easier for the ducks to digest.

Serve Fresh: Always serve fresh apples. Avoid giving your ducks rotten or fermented apples, which can cause food poisoning.

Clean up After Feeding: Remove any leftover apple pieces from the ducks’ area once they’ve finished eating. This helps to prevent the attraction of pests and keeps their environment clean and safe.

Moderation is Key: Apples should be served as treats and should not replace a duck’s regular diet. Too much of any one food can lead to nutritional imbalances. Ensure your ducks have a balanced diet of commercial duck feed, leafy greens, and grains, supplemented by treats like apples.

By following these steps, you can safely introduce apples into your ducks’ diet and provide them with a nutritious and enjoyable treat.

How Much Apple Can Ducks Eat?

While ducks can safely enjoy apples as a treat, it’s essential to maintain moderation to ensure a balanced diet. Treats, including fruits like apples, should constitute no more than 10-15% of a duck’s diet. The rest of their diet should be made up of a commercial duck feed, which is specifically formulated to provide all the necessary nutrients they need.

In practical terms, depending on the size and appetite of your duck, a few small pieces of apple per day should be more than enough. Always observe your ducks while they’re eating and adjust the quantity of apples you provide based on their individual dietary needs and preferences.

Just like apples, other fruits can also be given as treats. For instance, you might wonder, “Can ducks eat grapes?” The answer is yes, but again, moderation is key.

If you’re unsure about the appropriate amount of apples, grapes, or any other treats for your ducks, it’s always best to consult with a vet or a duck nutrition expert to ensure your ducks are receiving a well-rounded and balanced diet.

What Should Their Main Diet Consist Of?

While treats like apples can add variety and extra nutrients to a duck’s diet, they should not form the mainstay of their nutrition. A balanced, nutritious diet is crucial for maintaining a duck’s health and wellbeing. Here are the key components of a duck’s diet:

Duck Feed or Poultry Pellets: These are specially formulated to provide all the essential nutrients a duck needs. They should make up the majority of a duck’s diet. Most commercial feeds are complete diets and contain a mix of grains, seeds, and essential vitamins and minerals.

Leafy Greens and Vegetables: Fresh greens like lettuce, spinach, and cabbage can be a great supplement to their diet. Other vegetables like peas, corn, and carrots can also be included.

Grains: Grains such as oats, barley, and rice can also be part of a duck’s diet. These provide a good source of energy.

Grit: Ducks need grit to help them digest their food. This can be provided separately or sometimes it’s included in commercial duck feeds.

Clean Water: Fresh, clean water should always be available. Ducks need water not just for drinking but also for bathing and cleaning their nostrils.

Treats like apples, grapes, and other fruits should be given sparingly and should not form a significant part of the diet. They’re best used as a supplement to the main diet, offering additional vitamins and minerals, as well as providing dietary variety.

In all cases, it’s essential to monitor your ducks’ health and adjust their diet as necessary based on their age, health status, and specific nutritional needs. If you’re ever unsure, it’s always best to consult with a vet or duck nutrition expert.

brown duck on water during daytime

Where Can You Buy Ducks Food?

There are numerous places where you can purchase high-quality food specifically formulated for ducks. Whether you prefer to shop online or in-store, you have several reliable options:

  • Ark Wildlife offers a range of specially-formulated duck and swan food that’s designed to provide balanced nutrition.
  • Vine House Farm is another great place to find duck and swan food. They pride themselves on their carefully selected range of products to help you provide the best care for your feathered friends.
  • Pets at Home is a well-known pet retailer with both an extensive online shop and physical stores across the UK. They stock the Wildthings Swan and Duck Food, which is a popular choice among many duck keepers.
  • Wild Things is another brand that offers nutritionally balanced food for swans and ducks. Their products can be purchased directly from their website.

Remember, when selecting a duck feed, look for one that’s nutritionally balanced. This means it should contain all the necessary nutrients a duck needs in the correct proportions. This is especially important if you’re keeping ducks as pets, as their nutritional needs may differ slightly from those of wild ducks.

What Food Should You Avoid Giving Ducks?

When it comes to feeding ducks, it’s just as important to know what foods to avoid as it is to know what foods are beneficial. Certain items can be harmful to ducks, causing illness, nutritional imbalances, or even posing a choking risk. Here’s a table that outlines some common foods and drinks that you should avoid giving to ducks and the reasons why:

Food or DrinkReason to Avoid
BreadAlthough often associated with feeding ducks, bread offers no nutritional value and can lead to unhealthy weight gain and malnutrition.
ChocolateChocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to many animals, including ducks.
AlcoholAlcohol is highly toxic to most animals, ducks included. It can cause a range of health problems and should always be avoided.
Onions and GarlicWhile small amounts might not be harmful, large quantities of these foods can lead to anaemia in ducks.
AvocadoBoth the fruit and the plant contain persin, a compound that can cause heart problems and respiratory distress in birds.
CaffeineFound in tea, coffee, and many soft drinks, caffeine can cause heart problems in ducks and should be avoided.
SaltExcessive salt can lead to salt poisoning, which can be fatal in ducks.
Citrus FruitsThe high acidity of citrus fruits can cause digestive upset in ducks.

After reviewing this table, it’s clear that not all human foods are suitable for ducks. When in doubt, stick to a diet that includes high-quality duck feed, a variety of vegetables, and occasional fruit treats. If you’re considering feeding your ducks something new, but are unsure if it’s safe, it’s always best to consult with a vet or a duck nutrition expert first. Ultimately, providing a balanced, varied diet is the key to ensuring the health and happiness of your ducks.


In conclusion, apples can be a healthy and enjoyable treat for ducks when served properly. They offer nutritional benefits and are generally well-accepted by these feathered friends. However, it’s crucial to remember that treats like apples should not constitute the main part of a duck’s diet. A balanced diet, primarily made up of quality duck feed, leafy greens, grains, and supplemented with treats, is vital for a duck’s wellbeing.

Avoiding potentially harmful foods and understanding the nutritional needs of ducks is equally important. When in doubt, always seek advice from a vet or a duck nutrition expert. Remember, feeding ducks is not just about providing sustenance but also about ensuring a varied, balanced diet that contributes to their overall health and happiness.

We hope this article has provided useful insights into the question of whether ducks can eat apples, along with broader guidance on feeding ducks. Keep these guidelines in mind, and your ducks are sure to thrive.


Can Ducks Eat Apple Seeds?

No, ducks should not eat apple seeds. Apple seeds contain a compound called amygdalin, which can release cyanide when ingested. While a few seeds are unlikely to cause harm, it’s best to avoid them to ensure the safety of your ducks.

Do Ducks Prefer Cooked or Raw Apples?

Ducks can eat both cooked and raw apples. However, raw apples retain more of their nutrients and are generally more enjoyed by ducks due to their crisp texture. If you choose to cook the apples, ensure they are cooled completely before feeding them to your ducks.

Can Ducklings Eat Apples?

Yes, ducklings can eat apples, but it’s important to cut the apple into small, manageable pieces to avoid choking hazards. However, ducklings should primarily be fed a diet of starter feed, specially formulated to meet their nutritional needs during this crucial growth period.

Can Ducks Eat Other Fruits Besides Apples?

Yes, ducks can eat a variety of fruits besides apples. Pears, grapes, and berries are all safe for ducks to eat in moderation. Remember, though, that these should be given as treats and should not make up a significant portion of their diet.

Is It Safe To Feed Ducks Apple Peelings?

Yes, it is safe to feed ducks apple peelings. However, if the apples have been treated with pesticides or other chemicals, it’s essential to wash them thoroughly before feeding them to your ducks.


RSPCA. (no date). Ducks and Geese Care. RSPCA. Available at: (Accessed: 13 June 2023).

Caring Pets. (no date). How to Take Care of a Pet Duck. Caring Pets. Available at: (Accessed: 13 June 2023).

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