Can Ducks Eat Onions?

The answer is no, it is not safe to feed onions to your ducks.

Here is what you need to know about onions and how they affect ducks.

Onions on table
Ducks should not eat onions

Why Onion is Bad for Ducks?

Onions contain a compound known as thiosulfate.

Ducks lack the proper enzymes to break this compound down, so over time the thiosulfate will build-up in their bodies.

Built-up thiosulfate affects the hemoglobin in ducks and over time the build-up can rupture red blood cells, causing anemia.

If this occurs, ducks will experience lethargy, weakness, and difficulty breathing.

Eating a small amount of onion will not cause damage to the duck’s health, but continuous consumption of this vegetable can result in respiratory failure and death.

Furthermore, the high amounts of sulfur eaten over prolonged time can cause ulcers in the mouth and esophagus of this waterfowl.

What Types of Onions Can Ducks Eat?

You may be wondering if there are specific types of onions that are safe for your ducks to eat, but all onions contain thiosulfate, making every variety toxic to your ducks.

This includes:

  • Sweet Onions
  • Yellow Onions
  • White Onions
  • Green Onions/Scallions
  • Shallots
  • Leeks
  • Chives
  • Spring Onions

Cooking onions does not get rid of the thiosulfate in the vegetable, so offering your ducks any cooked varieties is bad for their health as well.

If you feed leftovers to your ducks, be sure that you are not giving them anything that contains any of these onion varieties.

Can Baby Ducks Eat Onions?

No, ducklings should not eat onions.

Ducklings have digestive systems that are still developing and tend to be weaker than a mature duck’s digestive system.

Baby ducks would be more susceptible to the toxin thiosulfate and could experience serious health issues much quicker than an adult.

Onions are even more dangerous for baby ducks and should be completely avoided.

Can Ducks Eat Garlic?

No, ducks and ducklings should not eat garlic.

Garlic is a part of the Allium family along with onions and contain the same toxin thiosulfate.

Many people suggest using garlic in your duck’s diet as a natural antibiotic and to support immune health, however the presence of thiosulfate makes this food unsafe to give to ducks.

It is better to err on the side of caution and keep it out of your duck’s diet.

In Conclusion

Onions, while rich in nutrients, contain a toxic compound known as thiosulfate that is dangerous to feed to your ducks.

Keeping it out of your duck’s diet is recommended to keep them happy and healthy.