The Truth About Can Ducks Eat Walnuts What You Need to Know

Updated: 26 Mar 2024


When pondering if ducks can eat walnuts, one might feel like they’re playing with fire. The question, “Can ducks eat walnuts?”, often elicits a mixed bag of opinions. In my journey to feed my feathered friends, I’ve researched extensively and wish to share my findings.

Though California proudly produces 75% of the world’s walnuts, making them a popular nut globally, alongside peanuts and almonds, it’s not all black and white.

Walnuts, while a great addition to anyone’s diet and full of healthy fats, must be approached with caution when it comes to ducks. They are high in calories—a whopping 680 calories per 100g—and contain a toxin called juglone, which can be harmful to plants and animals nearby, including horses.

This necessitates a careful consideration of their inclusion in a duck’s diet to avoid health concerns like obesity.

Can Ducks Eat Walnuts and Is It Safe?

Walnuts stand out as an excellent addition to a duck’s regular food, acting as an occasional treat to boost fat intake. Yet, the crux lies in moderation.

With walnuts tipping the scales at 680 calories per 100 grams, it’s clear they pack a punch in terms of energy density—about 28 calories per walnut, to be precise. To make these nuts a safe option for ducks, they need to be deshelled and ground into smaller pieces.

This is crucial because ducks do not chew their food and tend to swallow everything whole. A half walnut, therefore, might be too large and pose a risk of choking.

Walnut for Ducklings Eating

By incorporating walnut crumbles into their diet, mixed alongside regular duck pellets, they become a tasty and nutritious supplement that ducks can safely enjoy.

Ducks are omnivorous birds with diverse diets, naturally consuming insects, plants, and small animals. They can eat a lot of different nuts, walnuts included, as long as these are provided in moderation.

It’s interesting to note the nutritional comparison among common nuts; walnuts may seem mediocre in some aspects but they offer something more than just caloric value.

However, it’s essential to be aware of the high fat content in walnuts, which, while beneficial in controlled amounts, can harm ducks if overfed. Large quantities can lead to obesity, heart problems, and even liver disease.

Therefore, it’s essential to balance their diet carefully to prevent digestive issues such as diarrhea and dehydration.

Incorporating walnuts into a duck’s diet offers a range of benefits, provided they are prepared appropriately and fed in moderation. Shelled and ground walnuts can be mixed with various fruits and duck pellets to create a diverse and nutritious diet.

Yet, the difficulty ducks have in digesting certain foods necessitates caution. Eating too many walnuts can lead to digestive problems and other health issues.

Thus, it becomes paramount to understand the nutritional needs of ducks and ensure that walnuts, or any nut for that matter, are only a part of a balanced diet that supports their health without leading to overfeeding and its associated problems.

Can Baby Ducks Eat Walnuts?

For baby ducks, feeding walnuts should be approached with caution. Initially, ducklings should stick to duckling pellets for the first four weeks of age to ensure their digestion system properly develops.

After 21 days, or around 3 to 4 weeks, you can gradually incorporate ground walnuts into their diet as dried walnuts are beneficial due to their high protein content.

However, fat consumption from walnuts should be carefully monitored, and ducklings should mainly eat protein-dense foods during this early stage of life.

Different Walnuts Ducks Can Eat:

Different Walnuts Ducks Can Eat:

Walnuts are available in different shapes in the market. But ducks eat walnuts according to their mood and the type of walnuts you are offering them to eat. Some popular walnut types that ducks love most are as follows.

Raw Walnuts:

Ducks can eat raw walnuts if they are properly deshelled and ground, to ensure they don’t choke. While not necessary, toasting the walnuts before feeding them to ducks helps remove lectin, a substance that can be harmful in large quantities. Whether raw or toasted, moderation is key in feeding walnuts to ducks.

Toasted Walnuts:

Toasted walnuts can be fed to ducks as well, provided they are deshelled and broken into small pieces. Toasting them on a baking tray in the oven at 350° F (175° C) for 5-10 minutes until they smell nice or have turned brown, then cooling and grinding them before serving, makes walnuts safer for ducks to consume. However, be mindful of any additives like salt and oil, as high doses can cause abnormalities such as salt-related egg deformities or heart issues.

Walnut Shells:

Walnut shells possess no nutritional value for ducks and can be sharp when crushed, posing a risk if not finely ground. Though not valuable to a duck’s diet, there are other uses for walnut shells, as shown in various videos, making them interesting for non-dietary applications.

Frozen Walnuts:

Frozen walnuts must be defrosted and ground before ducks can eat them, as their hard texture can be challenging for ducks who swallow their food whole. Colder foods also demand more energy to digest than warm ones, so it’s crucial to ensure they provide energy rather than take it away. Storing walnuts in an airtight container or bag keeps them fine for future feeding.

Moldy Walnuts:

Ducks can’t and shouldn’t eat moldy walnuts or any moldy food, as mold is toxic and can be lethal. Moldy walnuts are particularly dangerous, even to humans, and can be identified by a slight discoloration to a darker shade or a rancid smell.

Candied Walnuts:

Ducks can’t eat candied walnuts because they are made with sugar and butter, ingredients ducks shouldn’t consume. The sugar and butter in candied walnuts are harmful to their health.

Black Walnuts:

Yes, ducks can eat Black walnuts, in addition to English walnuts, which are more prevalent. Black walnuts offer a larger nutritional content, making them even better for your duck’s health.

Other Food Ducks Can Eat:

Other Food Ducks Can Eat:

Safflower Seeds
Flax Seeds
Chia Seeds
Sunflower Seeds
Cracked Corn
Bird Seed

Potential Benefits of Walnuts for Ducks:

Walnuts have different benefits for ducks. Some keep them active and some help them to grow faster. The main benefits for ducks are as follows:

Healthy Digestion:

Introducing walnuts into a duck’s diet can significantly improve their gut microbiome, fostering healthy digestion.

Walnuts are rich in fibers that aid in digesting and enhancing the beneficial bacteria strains, thereby regulating the duck’s immune system and boosting illness resistance.

These nutrients are crucial for maintaining a healthy function of the gut, reducing the risk of bacteria-related illness.

Stronger Bones and Eggshells:

Omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts help ducks’ bodies absorb calcium, crucial for developing strong bones and quality eggshells. Calcium insufficiency and egg-binding are common issues leading to soft and thin eggshells, but walnuts also contribute manganese, copper, and magnesium to enhance bone health and density.

Strengthen Brain and Heart:

Walnuts are beneficial for ducks not only for their growth but also for brain function and heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of dangerous blood clots. Additionally, the antioxidants in walnuts help fight free radicals, lowering the risk of heart disease.


A source of protein, walnuts provide 4 grams per ounce (about 14 halves), making them a healthy snack that supports the growth and repair of body tissues. This is particularly appealing for vegetarian or vegan diets.

Healthy Fats:

Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, known for their ability to reduce inflammation and improve heart health. With 18 grams of fat per ounce, most being the unsaturated, healthy type, they’re essential for ducks as well as humans.


As a source of fiber, walnuts contribute to regulating digestion and promoting fullness, with 2 grams per ounce. Fiber-rich foods are vital in reducing the risk of chronic conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Vitamins and Minerals:

Walnuts are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, providing about 11% of the daily recommended intake of magnesium, 4% calcium, and 5% potassium. These are essential for maintaining healthy bones, muscles, and nerve function.


The antioxidants in walnuts, particularly polyphenols, offer anti-inflammatory and neuron protective effects, helping protect against oxidative stress and inflammation.

Potassium in Walnuts for Ducks:

Potassium is paramount in a duck’s diet, helping to regulate fluid balance and assist nerve and muscle cells. Walnuts are among the foods rich in potassium, alongside bananas, broccoli, and peas.

Magnesium in Walnuts for Ducks:

A lack of magnesium can lead to hypertension and heart disease. Walnuts provide magnesium for strong bones, activation of vitamin D, and restful sleep.

Iron in Walnuts for Ducks:

Iron is crucial for hemoglobin formation, brain, and muscle function. Walnuts contribute to meeting the iron needs alongside sweet potatoes and peas.

Vitamin B6 in Walnuts for Ducks:

Walnuts are a good source of Vitamin B6, helping produce serotonin and melatonin, thus regulating the duck’s internal clock and sleep patterns.

Calcium in Walnuts for Ducks

Calcium in walnuts is essential for ducks, especially for those laying eggs, as it contributes to healthy eggs and eggshells, with 97% of an eggshell being made of calcium.

Potential Risks Feeding Walnuts to Duck

Potential Risks Feeding Walnuts to Duck

Some risks associated with walnuts for ducks lead them to die. It happened because you did not take care of the well of the ducks. Some potential drawbacks for ducks are as follows:

Choking Hazard

Feeding walnuts to ducks poses a choking hazard due to their large and hard nature. They should be ground into smaller pieces to prevent them from becoming lodged in the throat.

Digestive Problems

Walnuts are high in fat and protein, which can be difficult for ducks to digest. Overfeeding can cause digestive issues like diarrhea and constipation.


Walnuts contain juglone, a toxic substance to many plants and animals, including ducks. Eating too many walnuts can lead to liver damage and other health problems.

Nutritional Imbalance

Feeding ducks too many walnuts can lead to a nutritional imbalance. While they are a good source of protein and healthy fats, they lack vitamins and minerals, leading to malnourishment.

How Many Walnuts Can Ducks Eat? Not Many

Research from Australia indicates that ducks need a fat intake constituting only 5% of their total nutrition, making walnuts, with their generous fat content, a treat to be given sparingly.

A practical suggestion is to de-shell, crush, and mix a small amount of walnuts with their regular food, perhaps including chopped raspberries or blueberries for added fruits.

For each duck, limiting to 2 or 3 walnuts meets their fat requirements without overindulgence, ensuring a balanced approach to integrating these nuts into their diet.

How Often Can I Feed Walnuts to Ducks?

Feeding walnuts to ducks should be done in moderation, with a careful balance to adjust their overall diet.

It’s not about a strict schedule but about understanding the caloric budget of your ducks’ diet and ensuring that any increase in walnuts or other nuts is met with a decrease in other foods to maintain nutritional balance.

Whether you feed walnuts daily or less frequently, the key is to moderate and ensure that these nuts complement rather than dominate the diet.


While ducks can enjoy walnuts as a part of their diet, it’s crucial to do so sparingly and within the bounds of their nutritional needs. Balancing their intake with moderation ensures ducks benefit from the nutrients without risking their health.

Nouman Ali

Nouman Ali

I'm delighted to introduce myself as the voice behind the diverse array of insights and information you'll find here. With a passion for animals that spans over eight years, I've immersed myself in the fascinating world of pets, exploring their lifestyles, behaviors, and unique needs. Growing up surrounded by various animals, I developed an innate curiosity and deep connection with our furry, feathered, and scaly friends. This early fascination ignited a lifelong journey of learning and understanding the intricacies of pet care. Over the years, I've had the privilege of sharing my knowledge and experiences with fellow pet enthusiasts through various platforms. Whether it's offering tips on nutrition, behavior training, or health management, my goal has always been to empower pet owners to provide the best possible care for their beloved companions.

Please Write Your Comments