Although ducks might not be as popular a backyard pet as chickens, these birds are equally adorable. They’re chatty, get attached to you in no time, and can be great companions if you can provide them with ideal living conditions. Ducks also happen to have a flexible diet and can eat a variety of fruits and veggies. But what about cabbages?
Can ducks eat cabbages? Yes, cabbage is as healthy a treat for ducks as they are for us. Some ducks might not enjoy eating raw cabbages but will readily eat them when boiled. All varieties of cabbages, including red cabbage, savoy cabbage, and brussels sprouts, are safe and healthy for ducks to eat as long as you’re feeding these in moderation.
If you’re planning to add cabbage to the diet of your feathered friends and seek guidance, this article is all you’ll need to read.
Cabbage for ducks: Nutrition and health benefits
In the list of superfoods, leafy veggies like cabbages rank quite high due to their nutritiousness. But while cabbages are nutritious for us, do they offer the same value to our feathered pets? That’s what we will find out in this section.
Let’s first learn about the nutritional composition of these veggies in the table given below:
|Vitamin A||263 mcg|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.08 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.15 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||1.89 mg|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||0.17 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folates)||111 mcg|
|Vitamin C||74 mg|
|Vitamin E||2.12 mg|
|Vitamin K||347 mcg|
|Calcium, Ca||128 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||20.1 mg|
|Potassium, K||378 mg|
|Iron, Fe||0.86 mg|
|Zinc, Zn||0.44 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||68.9 mg|
|Sodium, Na||21.6 mg|
|Dietary fibers||3.7 g|
Following are some health benefits cabbages can offer to your feathered friends:
1. They’re rich in Vitamin A, which is crucial for the healthy eyesight of all living organisms, including ducks. Additionally, it can also improve their reproductive and immune health.
2. Vitamin B9 (folates) is another important nutrient responsible for the production of red blood cells.
3. Vitamin B3 (niacin) is responsible for the conversion of carbs, proteins, and fats your birds consume into energy.
4. Cabbage contains Calcium in abundance, which is a mineral that strengthens your bird’s bones. Additionally, it is also used in their eggshells, which is why the egg-laying ducks need more of this mineral.
5. Potassium, another mineral found in cabbages, serves multiple functions for your ducks. It regulates the fluid balance in their body, alongside promoting their nerve signal and muscle contraction.
6. Phosphorus, a mineral that enhances the muscle functions of the birds, is also present in cabbages.
7. Moreover, cabbages are rich in carbs, which is the main energy source for the ducks.
All these health benefits clearly indicate that feeding cabbages to your feathered friends is a great idea as far as their health is concerned.
Cabbage for ducks: raw or cooked?
Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable, and just like every other cruciferous vegetable, it contains complex sugars along with high-fiber content. Both these qualities make it difficult for us to digest raw cabbages, which leads people to assume that it might be difficult to digest for the ducks as well.
If you’re concerned about such a thing, know that you have no reason to worry. Unlike humans, ducks are capable of digesting raw vegetables easily and will not face any issue with eating raw cabbages either.
With that being said, some ducks might act fussy about eating raw cabbages because of their distinct smell. If that seems to be the issue with your feathered pets as well, you can cook the veggies as well. Boil the cabbage for about 10 minutes on low flame, and let it cool down properly before serving it to your ducks.
What about ducklings? Are cabbages safe for their consumption?
Compared to most birds, ducklings have better health when they’re born and adjust to their surroundings quite quickly. If you have these little birdies in your yard and want to feed them cabbages, here’s what you should know.
From the moment a duckling is born, it should strictly be fed only the chick starter feed for the next couple of weeks. It is only once they’re older than two weeks that you should think of introducing other solid foods into their diet.
Cabbage is no exception and can be fed to them around the same time. Just be careful about moderation; ducklings need an even smaller amount of cabbage than the adults. If you feed them too much of these veggies, they’ll suffer from diarrhea and grow weak in no time.
Can ducks eat red cabbage?
While most of us must’ve eaten red cabbages at some point in our lives, how many of you are aware of its nutritional richness? This vegetable might resemble the regular cabbages in appearance and share the same family, but its nutritional composition is substantially better.
Red cabbages have a much higher vitamin content than regular cabbage and are richer in phytonutrients as well as antioxidants. But can these cabbages be consumed by your pet ducks? Yes, by all means. In fact, if you have a choice between red and green cabbage for feeding the ducks, I’d recommend you go with the former.
Can ducks eat savoy cabbage?
Originated from the Netherlands and England, the savoy cabbage is a winter vegetable belonging to the cabbage family with lacy, ridged leaves.
While these veggies are greener and more nutritious than the regular cabbages, in terms of the safety of your pet bird’s health, they’re more or less the same. In other words, you have no reason to worry before feeding savoy cabbage to your ducks.
What about brussels sprouts? Can ducks eat them?
Grown for their edible buds, brussels sprouts are another member of the cabbage family that is both nutritious and delicious food for humans. But what about your ducks? Can they eat these veggies?
Yes, they can. Ducks can safely eat the tops as well as stalks of brussels sprouts as long as they’re finely chopped. Moreover, both raw and cooked brussels sprouts are okay for your feathered pets.
Can ducks eat frozen cabbage?
It is quite common to freeze cabbages in your refrigerator if you intend to use them later. But can these frozen cabbages be fed to your feathered pets as well? Let’s find out!
While fresh cabbages are an ideal choice for your ducks, feeding them frozen cabbages is okay, too. All you need to keep in mind is to defrost the cabbage properly beforehand. Because if a duck swallows even a small piece of frozen cabbage, they could end up choking on it.
Pickled cabbage for ducks: a good or a bad idea?
Pickled cabbages are a highly popular cabbage dish consumed all over the world. To prepare it, finely chopped cabbages are stored in vinegar, salt, sugar, and some spices (according to your taste) to ferment. Some pickles are ready to eat right after a couple of hours, while others take a week to ferment properly.
Are you wondering if you can offer pickled cabbages to your feathered pets as well? Because, unfortunately, you can’t. The problem is, that all the basic ingredients of pickled cabbages mentioned above are ill-suited for your pet’s health. Vinegar is too acidic for them; salt can make them dehydrated, while sugar is not easily digestible for them.
Feeding cabbages to ducks: things to remember
If you want to feed cabbages to your feathered friends, how would you go about it? Will you simply throw smaller pieces of cabbages around and let your pets munch on them? Certainly not!
When it comes to offering food to any pet, it is best to follow a proper procedure for their safety and well-being. And as far as cabbage is concerned, paying attention to the following steps should be enough for you.
Always pick fresh, organic cabbages for them
The first and most essential rule about feeding cabbages to your feathered pets is to always pick for them fresh and organic cabbages.
We’re stressing the use of organic cabbages here because the cabbages grown commercially are often sprayed with pesticides and chemical fertilizers to prevent pest attacks. These pesticides can be problematic for your duck’s health if they ingest them.
On the other hand, organic cabbages are grown in a safe environment without the use of any chemicals. It makes these cabbages safer for the health of your feathered friends.
Stay away from molded/withering cabbages
If you notice the growth of mold on a cabbage, it’s a clear indication that the veggie has started to rot and is toxic for your and your ducks’ health. It is never a good idea to feed such cabbages to ducks. If you want to prevent wasting the cabbage, you can use it as compost, but that’s it.
Once a cabbage grows old, its head starts withering down first. So, if you spot a withering head, cut that part off and check inside for any signs of wither. It is still edible if the insides are fine, but if they look withered as well, unfortunately, you’ll have to throw out the entire cabbage.
Finely chop the cabbage before feeding it to ducks
When you’re prepping cabbages for your pets, the trick is to cut them as finely as possible. It will ensure that the ducks are at no risk of choking while they eat these veggies.
I understand that finely chopping cabbages is a tedious task that can leave you with a sore arm. Therefore, I’d recommend you to use a vegetable grater to do it; a grater will make your task quicker and easier.
Cooking cabbage for ducks the right way
As we’ve discussed above, many duck-owners have claimed that their pets shy away from eating raw cabbages, often because of their distinct smell. If you seem to be facing the same issue with your pets, cooking cabbages beforehand could do the trick.
By cooking here, I mean boiling cabbages without adding salt or any other spices in them. For your ducks, the plainer food they eat, the better. Another advantage of boiling cabbages for your pets is that you won’t have to waste time chopping them finely because boiled cabbages are already too soft to pose a choking threat.
Mixing cabbage with their pellets
Like many other pet birds, ducks are also the kind that enjoys variety in their food. If you feel like your ducks are getting bored by eating pellets day after day, you can spice up their meals using cabbage. Take a handful of finely chopped cabbage, mix it with their pellets in their serving dish, sit back and let them enjoy.
Paying attention to moderation
While cabbage is indeed a nutritious vegetable, it also contains over 85% water. It means that if you’re feeding these veggies to your ducks too often, they might end up suffering from loose stool or diarrhea. Therefore, it’s safer to feed them these veggies in moderation.
With this, we come to the end of our article. Today, we’ve learned that cabbages, one of the highest-ranking superfoods, have a lot to offer to both us and our ducks. These veggies have a high water content, are rich in various nutrients, and have additional medicinal properties as well.
All these reasons make cabbage a safe and healthy treat for your feathered pets. However, keep in mind that cabbages will do them good only if they consume in moderation. Otherwise, they might struggle with diarrhea.