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Can Ducks Eat Duckweed? (Answered)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

If you are wondering if ducks can eat duckweed, then you need to read this article to the end.

Are you always confused about what to feed your ducks? The first instinct question of most duck owners is,

“Can ducks eat duckweed?” Yes, they can. Duckweed has many interesting benefits for birds. It has an incredible nutritional value and a lot of traditional medicine favors it too!

You must know what you are feeding your birds and what it’s going to do for them.

But not everyone is an expert, so it can be tricky understanding answers with jargon.

Here, you’ll find everything you need to know about duckweed in the simplest form possible! 

What Are the Health Benefits of Duckweed? 

Can Ducks Eat Duckweed

1. It improves growth & development 

Ducks need about 14 to 22% protein in their diet, depending on their size and developmental stage.

Luckily, duckweed has about 20 to 35% protein.

It helps your birds to grow and develop healthy feathers. 

In fact, research in 2002 concluded that you could use duckweed as a protein supplement for breeding ducks.

Plus, it reduced the feeding costs by approximately 25% compared to their regular diet. 

Related: Check out this article I wrote on “can ducks eat peanuts?”

2. It maintains eyesight & bone growth

Duckweed has a fair amount of vitamin A in it.

Ducks need about 3100 mg/kg to 4130 mg/kg of vitamin A when they’re a starter versus when they’re a breeder.

It enhances their vision and boosts their bone development. 

3. It prevents anemia  

Vitamin B12 is fantastic for development, growth, and healthy blood, and duckweed has a lot of it!

In fact, it’s even great for humans.

Studies have shown that 100 grams of duckweed contain about 750% of the recommended vitamin B12 dosage. 

4. It helps with digestion 

Everyone knows fiber is excellent for digestion.

Did you know duckweed has about 5 to 15% of the fiber in it?

It helps regulate the digestive system of ducks by normalizing the water content in their intestines.

This way, it can treat both constipation and diarrhea in animals. 

5. It keeps them warm & helps them float

Duckweed contains about 4 to 7% of fat, and 48 to 71% of this fat is polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Depending on the stage of growth, ducks need about 4 to 6 percent fat in their diet.

This fat forms a thick layer under their skin, providing them insulation and buoyancy. 

6. It reduces inflammation (swelling)

For many years, in many areas of the world, people have been using duckweed for inflammation and swelling.

They use it to treat and manage diseases like gout, bronchitis, and many more.

Consumption methods include ingesting the plant as well as using it as a salve, topically.

While there is less evidence on the internet to prove it, it is still a widespread practice, and traditional medicine swear by it. 

7. It helps manages arthritis and joint pains 

Since arthritis involves swelling of the joints, people also use duckweed to manage its symptoms.

Traditional medicine involves prescribing duckweed to people with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. 

8. It helps prevent & cures jaundice (Yellow Skin)

Ducks that have a deficiency of B12 vitamin can get yellow skin.

According to what we just discussed above, duckweed has a lot of this vitamin!

So, people often use this food as a treatment for jaundice in ducks. 

Is Duckweed Poisonous? 

Understandably, a lot of people think duckweed is poisonous.

Since it’s green and grows on water, people assume it may be toxic, as some forms of algae.

However, it’s not.

Duckweed is as edible as any other plant or herb.

It has a high protein content, small amounts of fiber and fat, and a good source of vitamins.

All the benefits we discussed above were applicability to humans, animals, and birds.

Duckweed is excellent for both ducks and people, so it’s not poisonous at all. 

What Plants Are Toxic to Ducks?

1. Pokeweed

Pokeberry is a native herb, and it’s beautiful!

It has magenta stems with purple berries on it.

Needless to say, they are a popular attraction among birds and insects.

Native Americans made use of these perennial plants as a medicine for rheumatoid.

However, sadly, these plants are toxic to ducks as well as people.

All parts of the plant, including the stems, leaves, roots, and berries, are poisonous. 

2. Ivy 

Ivy plants are climbers, which means that they cling to the walls and polls and grow upwards.

These are green, leafy plants, so they bring a beautiful, fresh pop of color to the environment.

If taken orally, ivy plants can be mildly toxic. In fact, you can’t even touch the leaves because they cause allergic reactions very quickly.

Ingesting the leaves can lead to more severe symptoms, ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to neurological conditions. 

3. Clematis

Clematis is yet another very attractive flowering plant that grows in vines.

It’s got beautiful lilac and purple-colored petals, and it’s a treat to the eye!

They’re usually grown as decorative plants for home landscapes.

However, as beautiful as the flowers and leaves are, they’re both poisonous.

Ingesting even a little bit of this plant can lead to an upset stomach, excessive salivation, diarrhea, vomiting, and more severe symptoms.

The good thing is that it tastes quite bitter, so birds and animals usually tend to stay away from it. 

4. Oak 

Oak trees come in a variety of forms.

But the gallotannin in the plant can irritate the duck’s digestive system if one takes a lot of it.

If you think your duck has eaten some of it, look for symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.

Taking too much of this substance can also lead to kidney and liver damage. 

5. Castor Beans

Don’t be mistaken by the name; these are not beans!

A castor bean plant has beautiful, striking foliage.

The leaves are star-shaped and very large.

The plant is majestic as long as you don’t eat it.

Both the seeds and the leaves on the plant have toxic compounds.

They’re so poisonous that they can cause excessive salivation, ataxia, and even transitory muscle tremors. 


Duckweed is a very popular duck food and for all the right reasons!

It’s great for their muscles, bones, and blood.

Plus, it is significantly more inexpensive compared to the other forms of duck food.

Thus, it is a perfect way to reduce the food cost of breeding ducks without compromising the birds’ health.

However, that certainly doesn’t mean that you can rely on duckweed alone.

Even though it satisfies a lot of the bird’s nutritional needs, it doesn’t have everything.

So, make sure you give them vegetables, fruits, and other dietary foods.

Besides, ducks need as much of a balanced diet as we do! 

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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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