This is one question that I keep getting a lot.
And I totally get it because if you keep chickens and ducks together, you definitely want to know the kind of foods you can feed both of them.
Can ducks eat corn? Ducks eat corn that is fed to them because it contains a high amount of vitamins and minerals that are essential to the healthy growth of the birds. Corn is a rich source of fiber, protein and carbs which are ideal for normal body functions in your birds. It is also very easy to source and can be quickly digested without any issues.
What are the health benefits of corn?
Now we have established the fact that ducks can eat corn, let’s look at some of the health benefits of corn
Looking at the nutrition facts, we can see that 100 grams of boiled yellow corn contains
- Calories: 96
- Water: 73%
- Protein: 3.4 grams
- Carbs: 21 grams
- Sugar: 4.5 grams
- Fiber: 2.4 grams
- Fat: 1.5 grams
Corn is good for the eye health of ducks.
Like most grains and bird feeds, corn is made up of manganese, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium which is good for the eye health of your birds.
It also contains antioxidants like zeaxanthin and lutein which is ideal for good eye health of your birds.
Commonly called macular pigments, these compounds exist in the retina of the birds where they protect against oxidative damages.
2. Corn packs whole grain benefits
As a whole grain, corn is in a health protective category.
There have been countless studies done that suggest that consuming corn can lead to a lower risk of heart diseases.
So you want to ensure that you feed your birds corn in their diet and also in the right proportion.
One thing you need to be aware of is portion control.
In as much as corn is very healthy for your birds, you want to ensure that it is mixed with other foods and that their diet is balanced.
3. Corn is full of key nutrients
Corn is made up of essential vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin B and potassium which helps support healthy blood pressure, heart function, muscle contractions and helps maintain muscle mass.
One unique thing about corn is that it also supplies more than 10 times more vitamin A than any other grain out there which is very essential for your birds.
And vitamin A is essential for birds in that it helps boost their immune system and also helps protect against cognitive decline.
4. Corn is good for their digestion
One good health benefit of corn is that it contains insoluble fiber which is not easily broken down and absorbed in the bloodstream.
This helps to reduce the risk of constipation, helps reduce the risk of hemorrhoids and ensures that your bird has a healthy digestive system.
Is corn bad for ducks?
Corn is generally considered safe for ducks to eat, but there are some concerns.
1. There are some antinutrients in corn
Like most cereals and grains, corn contains phytic acid which impairs the absorption of dietary minerals like iron and zinc.
This will most like lead to a deficiency of such important minerals and vitamins in your birds.
It is not a big deal if you stick to a balanced diet for your birds but you need to be aware of this when feeding your birds with corn.
2. Presence of mycotoxins
Most cereals and grains, corn included, are usually susceptible to fungi contamination.
These fungi produce toxins known as mycotoxins which are considered a significant health risk to ducks
This might lead to severe complications in ducks and in extreme cases can lead to death.
So you want to ensure that you take adequate measures to get rid of such fungi in corn before you feed them to your birds.
Such measures include using fungicides and properly drying.
3. There might be cases of corn intolerance.
What this simply means is that sometimes ducks might have gluten intolerance caused by an autoimmune response to gluten, rye.
Symptoms usually include fatigue, bloating and weight loss in birds
While these are not big issues especially if you are feeding your ducks a balanced diet, you need to be aware of these issues.
Can you feed ducks canned corn?
Well, it is best to stay away from canned foods for your birds
Feeding your ducks canned corn is bad from their health and their diet.
The spices and artificial flavouring used in canned corn is mostly for human consumption and this might affect your birds if fed to them.
Most companies will use different formulas and extra salt to preserve or make them taste better.
And when you start to feed them extra salt, you might cause health issues such as diarrhea, vomiting, decreased appetite, lethargy and excessive thirst.
Is cracked corn good for ducks?
Cracked corn is actually very good for ducks. This is because the corn has been broken down into smaller sizes that are very for ducks to pick up and chew.
The size of the grains usually vary depending on the type of grinder that was used but you can not go wrong using coarse grinding as this will ensure that the grains are properly grounded and in small sizes.
While the dry corn can have a lot of dust, it does not grow or sprout and can be used as a no waste bird food for feeding your ducks.
While cracked corn does not have a high oil percentage, it is rich in both protein and fiber and is an excellent supplemental food to offer ducks and other backyard birds.
It can be purchased at wild bird stores or agricultural centers that offer animal feed, and it is often used as a filler in bird seed mixes.
Can ducks eat corn husks?
The husk of corn is the part that is stripped off and thrown away when feeding to human
This is because the husk is so tough and almost impossible to digest rather than lacking in nutrition though.
But the husk is actually a rich source of fiber and carbs that your ducks can eat.
But you want to make sure that you chop it into smaller sizes so your ducks can easily eat them up.
Can ducks eat sweetcorn?
Ducks can eat sweetcorn and this is very healthy and nutritious to them.
Sweet corn is from the corn family with a high sugar content. So it is basically corn, just that the sugar content is much higher.
Sweet corn is the result of a naturally occurring recessive mutation in the genes which control conversion of sugar to starch inside the endosperm of the corn kernel.
Sweet corn either tinned, fresh or frozen is fine for ducks but if it is frozen you want to make sure you defrost it before you feed them.
Is it okay to feed wild ducks corn?
If you keep ducks at home or as pets, then you can basically feed them corn and it is fine
But what about ducks in the wild?
While doing research for this article, I came across this website here that talks about the dangers of feeding wild ducks.
In the article it talks about artificial feeding of wild ducks and some of the effects
Artificial feeding of waterfowl can cause:
- Poor nutrition
- Increased hybridization
- Water pollution
- Delayed migration
- Concentrations at unnatural sites
- Spread of disease
- Costly management efforts
- Unnatural behavior
- Cumulative effects
- Devaluation of the species
So unless otherwise, you want to avoid feeding ducks in the wild and leave them to fend for themselves.
Feeding ducks with corn feed is very good as it provides them with fiber and carbs that are good for the development of your birds.
As always you want to ensure that you feed your birds a balanced diet.