Can Ducks Eat Watercress? (Is It Healthy?)

Watercress is a perennial plant, meaning it grows and produces its leaves almost year-round. As an herb with high Vitamin K content, watercress is also very nutritious. It’s also relatively low in calories, making it a great addition to your duck’s diet as long as you monitor how much you feed them.

If your duck is used to eating primarily grains and seeds, introducing them to watercress slowly might help avoid gastrointestinal issues like gas and bloating.

So, yes, ducks can definitely eat watercress, it has a lot of great nutritional value and is a wonderful way to add variety and flavor to your duck’s diet.

What is Watercress?

Watercress is a highly nutritious leafy green that is fairly easy to grow if you have a source of fresh water. Typically, watercress is found in regions where there is relatively high rainfall.

Watercress grows easily in a variety of climates, including areas with hot and cold temperatures. Watercress grows just as well in areas that have both warm and cold winters.

The one thing you do need to be careful of is the condition of your soil if you live in a desert region or high altitude area (greater than 3,000 feet).

A condition known as “choking” can occur when high amounts of calcium are leached into the soil too quickly. In that case, the only option would be to plant watercress into separate containers or grow it hydroponically in soilless media or with root cuttings.

Is Watercress Good for Ducks?

As it’s a leafy green with relatively low calories, watercress is a good choice for your duck’s diet. It contains high amounts of Vitamin K, high levels of vitamin C and beta-carotene, folate, vitamin K, and minerals such as iron and manganese.

The plant is also rich in protein, with a single 80-gram serving of watercress having 3.1 grams. Watercress is also high in phytonutrients, antioxidants that are essential to their health. They can help to protect cells from free radical damage.

Watercress is high in nitrates which are important for the health of waterfowl. Nitrates are also beneficial for their egg shells and hindgut fermentation. Watercress is also high in potassium, an element typically depleted during the winter months.

What Should Ducks Eat?

Ducks are omnivorous, so they can enjoy a pretty diverse diet, the types of food that ducks can eat are:


Ducks can eat grains such as wheat, barley and oats. It is recommended to soak the grains in water prior to feeding your ducks to help soften it and make it easier for them to digest.

Being an excellent source of energy and nutrition, grains are an essential food for them.

Also known as seeds, you can give your ducks birdseed as long as it is unprocessed.


What types of vegetables should ducks eat? They can eat a lot of types! Ducks can enjoy eating lots of different veggie such as spinach, carrots, green beans, lettuce and so on…

Vegetables are not only delicious but also rich in vitamins and minerals.


Ducks love herbs (dillparsley, etc.)! They are also rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.


Ducks can eat most kinds of fruit such as apples, pears and bananas. Like vegetables, fruits also contain a wide range of vitamins, minerals and other beneficial nutrients.

Ducks will relish fruits and they will usually gobble them straight from the hand.

What is Toxic To Ducks?

Not exactly everything that is good, or can be eaten by us, is also recommended for ducks.

It’s always best to check with your vet if you have any doubts about what you should not feed to ducks. The list below is just a guideline of foods to avoid.. But I advise you to avoid feeding them these!

What is the food to stay away from?

– Citrus Fruits: Due to their high acidic levels will cause problems to their digestive system.

– Raw rice: I advise to always give them cooked rice and not raw, it could ferment in their stomach.

– Chocolate: yes, you read it right, chocolate is bad for your ducks because it contains toxic elements (caffeine) for ducks.

– Coffee: I know, it’s a little bit harder to imagine that the duck could eat coffee, but you should avoid giving them any.

– Eggshells: It can be healthy, but that might confuse them and lead to a wrong behavior: eating their eggs after being laid.

– Sugary and/or Salty Foods: ducks have a very low tolerance for salt and sugar.

– Raw Meat/Fish: They can transmit disease and lead ducks to uncharacteristic behaviors like high aggressiveness, always give them cooked!


Watercress is a nutritious and safe food for your duck to eat. It’s also an easy plant to cultivate and harvest.

Growing your own watercress will allow you to provide fresh food for your duck, and avoid any potential contaminants found in store-bought watercress.