En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Monday - March 23, 2009

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildlife Gardens
Title: Plants that ducks and geese will not eat
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello, I have a pet duck and goose. Who I love dearly and have built two ponds for.. one 4ft deep the other 6ft deep. The ponds are for their use, first and for most, but I would like to have a plant or plants in and around both ponds. Everything I've found and purchased at local stores have really been nothing more than snacks for Duckie & Goosie.. is there any plant in southeastern Texas that isn't duck or goose food and won't kill them if they do give it a nipple?

ANSWER:

Yes, ducks and geese do like to eat plants, but they especially like to eat them when they are young and tender plants. The British Waterfowl Association in its article, Plants for Ponds and Pens has several useful suggestions.  First, it would be good if you could establish the plants for the ducks and geese before they are introduced to the area.  Obviously, you can't do that, but you could protect your plants until they reach a size that makes them less interesting and/or vulnerable to your fowls' feeding.  They suggest enclosing new plants in wire netting until they have grown sufficently to withstand heavy feeding.  The article also suggests maintaining enough grass for them to feed on to take away some of the pressure on the other plants.  Mr. Smarty Plants is going to recommend planting a large number of sedges/grasses along with more ornamental plants to distract your duck and goose from eating only the most decorative ones.  You might also like to read some of their other articles, such as Pond Construction.  Metzer Farms Hatchery also has information on Raising Duck and Geese. You might also like to read what LiveDucks.com and For the Birds say about feeding your duck and goose.

Here are some native plants for your duck and goose that occur in or adjacent to Harris County.  They have been checked against the toxic plant databases below and none of these are on any of the lists:

GRASS/GRASSLIKE

Rhynchospora colorata (starrush whitetop) 

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge)

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge)

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem)

Andropogon virginicus (broomsedge bluestem)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Eleocharis montevidensis (sand spikerush)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

Tripsacum dactyloides (eastern gamagrass)

Typha latifolia (broadleaf cattail)

ORNAMENTAL

Athyrium filix-femina (common ladyfern)

Canna glauca (water canna)

Echinodorus cordifolius (creeping burrhead)

Hydrolea ovata (ovate false fiddleleaf)

Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)

Pontederia cordata (pickerelweed)

Hibiscus lasiocarpos (rosemallow)

Thalia dealbata (powdery alligator-flag)

There are several databases that deal with plants poisonous to livestock:  University of Illinois Plants Toxic to AnimalsCornell University Plants Poisonous to LivestockUniversity of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants, and Texas Toxic Plant Database.  These deal, generally, with four-legged livestock.  However, if you go to the Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System, and choose Interactive Search, you can find a list of poisonous plants that affect poultry under Animals/Human: Poultry. There are also poisonous plants lists that are specific to poultry:  PoultryHelp.com, University of Florida Toxic to Poultry of Common Weed Seeds.  You can also find sites specific to birds by Googling 'plants poisonous to birds', but the lists are geared more towards exotic cage birds such as parrots and finches.

Here are photos of a few of the plants listed above:


Rhynchospora colorata

Carex blanda

Andropogon glomeratus

Eleocharis montevidensis

Canna glauca

Hydrolea ovata

Osmunda cinnamomea

Hibiscus lasiocarpos

 

 

 

More Wildlife Gardens Questions

Recommendations for native plants for Dallas Co., TX
May 12, 2007 - Looking for a Recommendation: Can you suggest a plant that meets the following requirements? ENVIRONMENT -- - I live in Garland, in Dallas County, TX. - The soil is primarily clay. - Full sun...
view the full question and answer

Bee-pasture recommendations for AR
November 30, 2011 - Hello, I live in Melbourne, Ar, up in the NE corner of the state. I keep bees and would like to put in a couple acres of something for them. I'm leaning towards Viper's Bugloss. Do you know where I ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants in Denton Co. TX pollinated by bats or hummingbirds
December 07, 2011 - I am looking for a list of Denton Co. TX native plants that are pollinated by bats? Do we have any? How about hummingbirds?
view the full question and answer

Evergreens for a deer corridor in MI
April 16, 2012 - I am growing three rows of evergreens for a wildlife, deer travel corridor, and am looking for which trees grow well together and are shade tolerant of each other when planted at the same time, or at ...
view the full question and answer

Native landscaping and wildlife gardening in Clifton, TX
November 29, 2004 - I am moving to Clifton, TX, and I will have an empty lot in the town along with my own home/lot. What kind of soil can I expect? I want to grow a wildflower site to just sit and enjoy and feed the a...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center