Thank You For Not Feeding The Ducks

  • All Ages

By Hayley Dean, ellaslist

One of the loveliest thing to do with your little human and indeed at any age really, is feeding the ducks at the park. Worldwide, we all do it, and for some reason we all believe that feeding them stale bread is the best – but where did that come from? Because in truth, it possibly one of the worst things we can actually do to our feathered friends.

Oh, “what harm can it actually do” I hear you ask? Well a lot.

Firstly, bread will make the duck (swans, geese - any bird yo might find at your local pond or lake) sick. It provides the bird with no nutritional value at all (similar to feeding them junk food), it can cause abnormalities and will shorten their lifespan. Horribly, it has been shown that ducklings growth and development rates do suffer. According to the RSCPA, if ducklings are fed too much white bread, they can grow up with a deformity called Angel Wing which means they won't be able to fly.

A Bird In The Hand

Secondly, the birds become lazy. We are taught from a young age not to feed wildlife for this reason, but we neglect to transpire this across to ducks. It truly is best not to feed them all. Wild ducks will live longer, healthier lives by relying on natural food sources such as aquatic plants, seeds, grasses and insects.

They are wild animals and should be treated as such otherwise they become reliant on humans to feed them and will lose their natural hunting abilities. This leads into the third reason; vulnerability.

When wild animals become reliant on humans they start to become too brazen, too trusting and leave themselves open to attack from natural predators.

Finally, think of all the other species that also live in the water! Rotting bread can pollute the source, cause algae, kills fish and spread disease.

So, What Can They Eat?

If you still want to feed the ducks, appreciating that it can be an enchanting experience for children, then there are many healthier alternatives to offer instead of bread.

Great foods to feed ducks include:

  • Grapes (cut in half to prevent choking - you know the drill!)
  • Cooked rice or chopped lettuce
  • Cracked corn, barley, oats, birdseed or other grains
  • Frozen peas or corn kernels (defrosted first, but no need to cook)
  • Duck feed pellets.
  • Or this terrific duck food recipe we came across online!
 

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