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Flowers Safe For Ducks

Not all flowers are fair game for snack time. Learn which plants to avoid and which are safe for ducks to eat.

colorful flower illustration with squash blossom, yarrow, borage, violets, rose petals, nasturtium, calendula, and dandelion

What can ducks eat?


As a general rule of thumb when feeding ducks or ducklings, if you aren’t 100% sure it’s safe, don’t risk it! Many things are growing out in the garden or yard that you might think would make a tasty duck treat (especially if they are free range) but are actually toxic plants. We recommend always checking to know if I can feed this to my duck to make sure its a safe plant. Unintentional misinformation about raising ducks is also out there in the digital universe. Posts, threads, or passing comments can cause a newbie duck parent to cause a minor stomach ache to far worse, such as severe allergic reactions or, unfortunately, death. Follow along below to learn our recommended duck-safe flowers along with landscaping grow zones to plan your snack-filled garden.



Top 10 Flowers To Feed Your Duck

 

1. Rose

When grown without pesticides or conventional fertilizers, rose leaves and rose petals are safe flowers to feed your duck. They're 95 percent water, so they don't offer much nutritional value (with only trace amounts of Vitamin C) but do make the pond feel like a romantic snack to nibble on when they're floating around.

Perennial | Full Sun | Bloom: Summer | Zones: 7 - 9 and select varieties 10+




2. Calendula

Bright yellow and orange Calendula petals are full of vitamins as well as health beneficial properties. They’re definitely a great flower to feed your duck. These flowers can help with inflammation, ringworm, wounds, scrapes, dermatitis, and minor hot spots. Bonus: they also can boost the color of your duck eggs’ yolks.


Annual + Perennial | Full Sun | Bloom: Summer | Zones: 2 - 11 (Annual) 9 - 11 (Perennial)



3. Wild Violet

These forest-dwelling petite purple flowers are edible, including their heart-shaped leaves. Wild violets contain Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and phytocompounds prized for their ability to help treat skin and respiratory issues, improve circulation, and reduce inflammation and anxiety. There are some significant health benefits packed into a teenie tiny flower. Biennial | Part Shade | Bloom: Spring | Zones: 5 - 10



4. Squash Blossom

If you’re planning to grow pumpkins, squash, zucchini, basically any squash-like plant you’re going to have tons of blossoms that aren’t ever going to produce fruit. This is where the duck snacks come in. Harvest your male flowers, leaving the female flowers to produce the squash fruit. You’ll be able to tell it’s male because they often develop first and have a straight, narrow stem. Female blossoms have a swollen, bulbous stem near the flower. Backyard ducks love these delicate blossoms! They’re also a source of iron, calcium and Vitamin A.


Annual | Full Sun | Bloom: Summer | Zones: 3 - 10




5. Echinacea

Also known as the coneflower, echinacea is an edible flower that has 10 species and is part of the daisy family. They’re full of antioxidants that can help improve a duck’s respiratory health and immune system. All parts of the plant are edible, including the more rigid leaves and stem. We recommend cutting the thick leaves into smaller bites for your ducks to eat easily.

Perennial | Full Sun | Bloom: Summer | Zones: 5 - 8 and select varieties 3 - 4




6. Borage

This star-shaped light cucumber-tasting flower goes by many names. Borage is also known as bee bush, bee bread, and starflower. It’s full of beneficial calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin B-3, beta carotene, omega 6, and fatty acids. The mainly blue and occasionally pink flowers are a nutritious flower treat for bees and ducks. We recommend waiting until they fall off to forage for duck treats, so bees always have first dibs on nectar and pollen.


Annual | Full Sun | Bloom: Summer | Zones: 3 - 10





7. Marigold

These very fragrant flowers are part of the sunflower family and are native to the Americas. Brightly packed, colorful petals are full of antioxidants and help promote new skin tissue growth. Marigolds are real multitasking plants because of their ability to ward off pests such as deer or gophers, feed bees, and provide a healthy snack for ducks. If you’re able to grow marigolds, note the change in their yolk color when you start feeding it to them, as it can help produce a brighter yellow or orange color.


Annual + Perennial | Full Sun | Bloom: Spring, Summer, Fall | Zones: 3 - 8 (Annual) 9 - 11 (Perennial)




8. Nasturtium

An easy, fast-growing plant, Nasturtiums boast peppery edible leaves and brightly colored flowers. Containing high levels of Vitamin C, manganese, iron, and beta carotene, nasturtium flowers, and leaves are a popular treat for ducks. Next time you’re pulling them off the vine, save some flowers for yourself to try or add to lemonade to punch it up!


Annual | Full Sun | Bloom: Summer, Fall | Zones: 9 - 11





9. Dandelion

Turn your “weed” problem into a free salad bar for your ducks! Dandelions are a very common lawn plant that pops up out of nowhere. The leaves and feathery yellow flowers are one of the more nutritious plants to feed your flock. They’re a natural detoxifier and contain high amounts of Vitamin A, protein, calcium and iron. Dandelions also help to aid digestion.


Perennial | Full Sun | Bloom: Spring | Zones: 3 - 9





10. Yarrow

Plant with caution: Yarrow can be an aggressive grower like mint. But the upside is, if you don’t mind, you’ll be swimming in beneficial flowers to feed your ducks. Yarrow has been shown to repel parasites as well as kill mosquito larvae. Its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties can also help a duck’s digestive system.


Perennial | Full Sun | Bloom: Summer | Zones: 3 - 9



There’s way more than just 10 flowers to feed your flock. Head over to Can I feed my duck? to see the full list of edible plants. We update that section often, so come back to see the ever-growing list of things ducks can and can’t eat.



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