Can Ducks Eat Onions? Benefits & Risks

Ducks are easy birds to feed since they can eat almost everything, from bugs to kitchen scraps. However, giving your ducks onions isn’t the best idea since onions contain toxins that can potentially harm your birds. Onions can also alter the flavor of your duck eggs, making the eggs taste like onions.

Do Ducks Like Eating Onions?

Ducks don’t necessarily like eating onions. However, they will not hesitate to eat onions, especially the green tops, whenever they come across onions. Some ducks love onions just like they love other vegetables.

Nonetheless, onions aren’t some of the nicest treats for ducks since they can jeopardize your ducks’ health. Instead of feeding your ducks with onions, it is prudent to give your birds other healthy and safe vegetables such as lettuce, kale, and broccoli.

The answer to whether ducks like eating onions varies depending on your birds’ tastes and preferences. For instance, some ducks may dislike eating onions, while others won’t mind eating onions despite their bitter taste.

Most ducks won’t shy away from eating spring onions since these onions taste much better than ordinary onions. However, even spring onions contain toxins, which will harm your ducks irrespective of whether your birds like eating onions or not.

Why Are Onions Toxic for Ducks?

Onions are toxic for ducks since they contain a compound called thiosulphate. Ducks can’t digest this compound properly, and therefore you risk exposing your ducks to digestion problems due to this compound, especially if you feed them with too many onions.

In addition, onions contain toxins that ruin birds’ red blood cells, including ducks. Your ducks can become anemic if you give them too many onions. Prolonged consumption of onions can lead to hemolytic anemia in ducks, making your ducks susceptible to respiratory failure and ultimately death.

Although giving your ducks a few pieces of onions won’t make the birds die, your ducks will still be in danger of succumbing to multiple health problems. Onions can also make ducks diarrhea or vomit.

The thiosulphate in onions is especially harmful to ducklings. Ducklings have a weaker digestive system than older ducks, and therefore they can’t properly digest this compound. Ducklings are more likely to die from the toxins in onions even if you introduce reasonable amounts of onions to your ducklings. Overly, onions aren’t safe for ducklings, whether powdered, cooked, or raw.

Apart from causing stomach upsets in ducks, onions can also make your ducks experience lethargy, seizures, and weakness. Even if your birds may look fine after eating onions, the toxins present in onions will ultimately impact negatively on your ducks’ health.

Can Ducks Die from Eating Onions?

Ducks won’t die immediately after eating onions. After all, there are beneficial nutrients and minerals in onions, such as vitamins, antioxidants, and calcium. However, prolonged consumption of onions can make your ducks die over time. For instance, your birds may die from developing anemia due to eating onions.

Furthermore, ducks can die from dehydration because of excessive vomiting and diarrhea due to eating too many onions. In a nutshell, ducks can die from eating onions, although they won’t die as soon as they consume onions.

Are Spring Onions Safe for Ducks?

Although spring onions have a milder flavor than ordinary onions, they are still not safe for ducks. Spring onions belong to the same group of onion families as shallots and various root vegetables.

Spring onions also contain traces of thiosulphate, which is ultimately unsafe for ducks. These onions make ducks experience stomach upsets, diarrhea, and vomiting. Furthermore, spring onions have a high possibility of causing anemia in ducks due to their high concentration of thiosulphate.

Spring onions are particularly unsafe for ducklings. Because ducklings have a weaker immune system than adult ducks, ducklings are at high risk of dying from the toxins in spring onions. Overly, spring onions remain unsafe for ducks, whether cooked or raw. Therefore, avoid feeding your ducks with spring onions since these onions will still put your birds at risk of death in the long run.

Are Cooked Onion Rings Good for Ducks?

Cooked onion rings are tasty for ducks, and therefore your birds will like them. Cooked onion rings seem like a nice treat for your birds. However, cooked onion rings are still harmful to your birds. Cooked onion rings are still onions, and they will affect your birds the same way raw onions affect ducks. Although not in high concentration, they also contain thiosulphate like in raw onions.

Giving your ducks cooked onion rings in large quantities can make your ducks anemic. Furthermore, cooked onion rings can make ducks experience stomach pains, especially if they have spices. Spicy onion rings will not only make your birds experience stomach pains, but they can also make your ducks experience severe diarrhea.

Can Ducks Eat Garlic?

Yes, ducks can eat garlic since it isn’t harmful to ducks like onions. In addition, garlic has multiple benefits for ducks when provided in moderation. Below are some of the benefits that your ducks can get from eating garlic.

  • Garlic can boost your ducks’ immune system– Garlic boasts healing properties that can help your ducks overcome some common duck diseases such as Avian cholera.
  • Garlic helps deter parasites-The blood of ducks that consume garlic regularly taste horrible to parasites, thanks to the allicin in the garlic. Therefore, garlic can help keep parasites off from your ducks.
  • Garlic helps stimulate appetite- Appetite loss is a major problem with ducks since it makes these birds lose a substantial amount of weight, thus becoming overweight. Garlic helps stimulate appetite, particularly in underweight ducks, enabling such ducks to rebalance their weight and grow healthy.
  • Garlic can protect your ducks against bacteria-Garlic is powerful over bacteria such as colibacillosis and salmonellosis. It works as a natural antibiotic, which can help your ducks overcome diseases that result from bacterial infections.


Onions have several benefits for humans. However, onions aren’t good for ducks and chickens, whether cooked or raw. Since onions can expose your ducks to myriads of health problems, choose other safe food items for your ducks. Some of the best replacements for onions include lettuce, cabbage, kale, and broccoli.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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