Can Ducks Eat Acorns? (Answered)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Ducks are super interesting birds. Their feeding habits are most definitely going to interest you.

Duck as are known to love scrambled eggs a lot. However, they eat other things such as crickets, earthworms, slugs, etc.

Research has shown that ducks do not digest nuts very well but they eat them still. Nuts like peanuts, walnuts, and hazelnuts are incredible treats for them.

How about acorns, do ducks eat acorns? I am sure you would like to know. So, let’s find out.

Can Ducks Eat Acorns

Can Ducks Eat Acorns

Ducks are capable of consuming acorns. Ducks are particularly fond of the acorn from the pin oak tree.

However, pin oak acorns are not nearly as sweet as white oak acorns, which are found in greater abundance.

Acorns are extremely nutritious for ducks. They are very high in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are extremely important in a duck’s diet.

What Are Acorns

Acorns are smooth oval nuts with a cup-shaped base. The oak tree produces acorns as its fruit. As a result, they are also called oak nuts.

Oak trees are capable of producing new growth due to the presence of seeds within them.

Acorns are classified into two varieties. However, this is based on the type of oak that produces them.

Generally, there are red and white acorns. It is possible to distinguish between these varieties by simply looking at their colors.

As the name suggests, acorns are nuts that typically contain a single seed. In most cases, this seed is protected by a tough leathery shell.

An acorn’s length and width range from 1-6 cm, and its width from 0.8- 4 cm.

The maturation of acorns can take anywhere between 6 and 24 months. However, their maturity is dependent on the species of the acorn.

Acorns are mainly eaten by animals in the wild. Ducks, jays, woodpeckers, and pigeons are among the birds that eat acorns.

Rodents are not left out. Acorns are consumed by mice and squirrels as well.

These nuts are a good source of protein, carbohydrates, fat, and minerals. Interestingly, they are very much avoidable.

Minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, niacin, and potassium are found in this nut.

The total amount of food energy in an acorn varies from species to species, but all compare favorably with other wild foods and other nuts in terms of energy content and nutrition.

Want to know what ducks like to eat?

What Are The Health Benefits Of Acorns To Ducks

Acorns aren’t just enjoyable they are also beneficial health-wise. They contain proteins, fats, and minerals.

That is they are a huge boost to a ducks’ health.

Want to know some more health benefits? Here they are;

They repair damaged tissues:

Acorns are great repairers. This is due to their protein content.

They are very important for the creation of new tissues and cells, repair damaged areas and rapid healing following an injury or illness.

Therefore, acorn nuts in your ducks’ diet are a good way to accelerate the growth and repair of your ducks.

They are an energy booster: 

Acorns are good energy boosters. This is because of their high carbohydrate content. Acorns provide long-lasting energy reserves when consumed.

Adding acorns to your ducks’ diet is a good way of keeping them very energetic.

They aid digestion: Acorns are nuts, like most nuts, acorns are rich in fiber. This makes them ideal for improving digestion.

This is going to be important for your duck. 

They improve body metabolism: Acorns have a good amount of niacin. Niacin is known for regulating body metabolism.

This is a plus for ducks that eat these nuts.

Regular consumption of these nuts can help regulate several enzymatic processes in the body that are crucial for overall health.

They ensure strong bones: Calcium is known to be the most abundant mineral. Amazingly they are contained in acorns.

Calcium generally has four basic functions in the body which are,

  • Ensuring bones are strong and healthy.
  • Facilitating nerve-to-nerve communication.
  • Stimulating muscle contraction
  • Activating blood clotting factors.

These are the benefits ducks stand to gain by consuming acorns

How Often Should I Feed Them Acorns?

Just like every other bird treat, acorns shouldn’t be an everyday food for your ducks. As much as you can try to moderate how many acorns they take in.

As rich as acorns are, too much can be bad for ducks. Acorns can be toxic if consumed in large amounts.

They can cause severe problems such as blocking the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

This establishes the fact that tannins contained in acorns are anti-nutrient.

Consuming too many tannin-rich foods has been found to cause liver damages in animals generally. Humans are not excluded from the list.

Can Baby Ducks Eat Acorns?

No, baby ducks can’t eat acorns. This is because acorns will be too large for a baby duck to consume.

It’s is most preferred that ducklings be fed with starter/grower feed that’s formulated specifically for ducks.

Ducklings require a much higher amount of vitamin B compared to adult ducks. It is advisable to get starter and grower feeds that contain the appropriate nutrients for them.

Ducklings can, however, be fed with mealworm as well.

They can take fruits too. But, these fruits must be chopped into smaller bits for easy consumption.

Here are some examples of appropriate fruits for ducklings;

Berries: They are antioxidants. They are high in fiber. Some examples of berries include strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries.

Apples: Apples are antioxidants as well. They can Support a Healthy Immune System for ducklings.

This is even more important at the early stage of their growth. However, ensure the seeds are properly removed.

They should be fed with the flesh only. Ensure the Apple is cut in bits. This enables the ducklings to consume it. 

Tomatoes: They are a great source of vitamin C. They are antioxidants. They are very important for a strong heart.

Note that the most suitable part of consumption is the flesh. Ensure the vines and leaves are removed properly.

Some other fruits that can be taken by ducklings include pear, banana, and peach.

Do Ducks Eat Acorns Whole?

Yes, ducks eat acorns whole. Both these are dependent on the type of acorn. Ducks cannot eat the overcup whole. This is due to its size. 

Ducks find it easier to eat the willow and nuttall oaks. This is because they are much smaller in size. 

Check out this article I wrote on can ducks eat nectarines

Do Wood Ducks Eat Acorns?

Wood ducks can be found in densely forested swamps and woodlands along streams, ponds, and rivers.

They are extremely popular in the United States.

They are distinguished by their boxy, crested head, small neck, and long, broad tail. These ducks are lovers of acorns as well.

There is hardly a species of ducks that don’t eat acorns. However as earlier established, ducklings generally do not eat acorns.

Adult ducks prefer to eat acorns in season. They also eat the seeds of trees, mulberries, duckweed, wild rice, and wild grapes.

They may occasionally feed in fields, eating various grains, like corn and wheat.

Do Mallard Ducks Eat Acorns?

Mallard ducks belong to the subfamily Anatinae of the waterfowl family Anatidae.

And Yes, they eat acorns. Mallard ducks aren’t just acorn lovers. They have also been known to eat mosquito larvae, midges, and mayfly nymphs.

They also eat seeds, roots, and stems of bulrushes, millet, and smartweed. They also love to eat waste grain like barley from farmers’ fields. 

Things To Consider When Feeding Ducks Acorns?

As good as acorns are, there are quite several things to consider when feeding ducks acorns. Here they are

  1. Acorns are bitter and toxic. This is due to the presence of tannins. Tannins are anti-nutritional. Tannins can obstruct the blood’s absorption of iron, which may lead to many health problems. Tannins can also hinder digestion and metabolism.
  • Since tannins are toxic and can lead to poisoning of your duck. You should consider removing the tannins from the acorn. You could be wondering if this is possible right? Well, it is.

Tannins can be removed from acorns by placing them in cold water.

Place acorn pieces in a jar of cold water and leave them in the refrigerator for a day or two until the water turns brown.

Replace the water with fresh cold water and continue until the acorns are no longer bitter.

  • Ensure you give your duck ripe acorns. This is because they are less toxic.

What Are The Ways Of Feeding Acorns To Ducks?

As much as ducks love acorns, there is a way to feed them with acorns. There are ways of feeding them acorns.

  1. Ensure you don’t overfeed them with acorns. Having too much of acorn is bad. The way out is balance. 
  • Ensure acorns are clean. Feeding your duck with dirt can make them get sick. Ensure acorns are properly washed before feeding them with it.
  • Ensure you are feeding your duck with the appropriate type of acorn. There are several types of acorns, some big and some small. Ensure you give your duck one that is easy to consume. This will prevent them from choking. 
  • Ensure you don’t force-feed your bird. Stop feeding the duck if they appear uninterested or are leaving the food uneaten.


Ducks can most definitely eat acorns. However, it isn’t a good idea for them to have too many acorns.

Acorns contain tannins which are considered harmful to them.

Tannins are toxic and can cause a whole lot of damage to ducks when consumed in excess. To avoid the effect of tannins on ducks, it’s advised that they be removed.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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