Ducks have always been natural forgers even when they have been domesticated. It is an instinct that can be very hard to erase in animals and with good reason because it helps them source food on their own.
Bell peppers are around all year round ad hardly ever runs out of season so whenever you see them, you may wonder if your ducks can be fed the same thing. Well keep reading and we will provide all the answers to the questions you may want to ask.
Can Ducks eat bell peppers?
Yes, ducks can eat bell peppers. While the consumption of bell peppers may be spicy for most mammals and humans, ducks lack the receptors used in recognizing spiciness in a portion of food. So they may eat even the spiciest of peppers and still not feel its effects i.e. they cannot taste the degree of spiciness in a food, peppers would taste like general food to them.
Although they cannot taste the spiciness, it should be fed to them in moderation as too much of everything is not good. It would be advisable to mix it in with other vegetables, fruits, and food to create a healthier mix of food and encourage a balanced diet.
What type of bell peppers is safe to feed to ducks?
There are many types of bell peppers classified according to their shape, size, and color. Some of these include:
- Red bell peppers
- Yellow bell peppers
- Green bell-peppers
- Orange bell peppers
All bell peppers except green bell peppers are safe to be eaten by ducks. Even while being safe, it is advised to be fed to ducks in moderation because bell peppers belong to the nightshade family and contain a toxin called SOLANINE, which is toxic to ducks.
Green peppers should not be fed to ducks because they have a higher level of this toxic substance and are practically unripe. It is also difficult to determine at what point the green peppers become toxic so ingestion of this type of bell pepper should be discouraged and monitored with utmost care.
Solanine as a toxin can be found in all members of the nightshade family including potatoes, tomatoes, aubergine, etc. Foods like this should either be thoroughly cooked or avoided to prevent poisoning.
It may be difficult to know what your duck has eaten especially when you have them as pets, or for commercial purposes, so it would be ideal to get rid of every vegetable and food that falls under the nightshade family, especially roots and tubers.
Ducks should also avoid eating the seeds or the hats of the peppers since they also contain a fair amount of solanine.
What are some of the health benefits of ducks eating bell peppers?
The health benefits gotten from bell-peppers are usually understated but before that, let’s look at some facts about bell-peppers that will help us narrow down the health benefits useful for ducks.
Red peppers are regarded as the most nutritious because they've stayed on the vine the longest and have had time to mature and grow to their fullest potential. They are said to contain almost 11 times more beta-carotene and 1.5 times more vitamin C when compared to green peppers.
Green peppers on the other hand may not be all that nutritious because they are harvested earlier before they have a chance to turn orange, yellow, or red. Peppers in general are high in vitamin C, potassium, folate, iron, and Vitamin B6 but are low in calories.
Having said that, let’s highlight some of the major health benefits your ducks could gain from munching on bell-peppers:
Bell peppers contain a very large amount of vitamin C and a relatively low content of sugar, which makes it incredibly healthy to feed your ducks or include in their daily diet. Ducks cannot produce vitamin C on their own and bell peppers are the perfect way to incorporate this vitamin into their meal.
Most industrial duck feed like pellets and grains also do not have a high vitamin content so bell peppers can help incorporate this nutrient into the meal. Vitamin C can have the following effects on birds;
- Helps with stress alleviation in birds, including heat stress including exposure to humid and hot weather.
- It also helps boost their immune system as a result of its function as an antioxidant. This helps their bodies fight against harmful infections and diseases.
- It can also help in increasing their appetite to help them store weight for the winter when there may be a decrease in the supply of food.
Certain bell peppers can taste a little sweet, however, they have very little sugar content. This can help in controlling the body weight of your duck, while also giving them the necessary nutritional value that is needed to avoid a compromise in their immune system.
The little sugar that is contained in them, is also readily converted into a source of energy to enable the ducks to go about their usual daily activity.
Can Ducklings eat Bell peppers?
Yes, ducklings can eat bell peppers but they should not be given to ducks under 4 weeks of age. Instead, ducks within this age range should be fed exclusively with duckling pellets and the occasional worm treat sourced for them by their parents.
As they continue past the age of 4 weeks, bell peppers may then be introduced to their diet and mixed in with other vegetables to be consumed.
Cons of feeding Ducks Exclusively on Bell-peppers
Bell peppers contain a large content of water and when consumed in large quantities, may lead to diarrhea which may then result in dehydration in ducks.
The average bell-pepper contains a toxic substance called SOLANINE and so when eaten in large amounts, this toxic substance can build up and lead to toxic poisoning in ducks.
Bell peppers are healthy vegetables to feed to your ducks but as with everything else, they should be fed with close supervision and in moderation. Before serving the ducks some bell peppers, wash, clean, and dice them into small pieces to avoid them becoming a choking hazard.
Do not feed your ducks the seed or hat of the bell peppers, also remove green peppers from their meals. They contain a higher amount of SOLANINE when compared to other bell peppers and can be lethal to ducks.
There are risks associated with feeding your ducks with bell peppers but when done in moderation, it shouldn’t pose a threat to the health of the duck.