What to feed ducks?

(Picture: Getty)

One the top 10 activities as a kid was definitely feeding the ducks.

All you needed was a loaf from the shop and a small body of water, and you could be close to nature in no time.

One of the more horrifying things you learn as you grow up, however, is the fact that you shouldn’t really be feeding ducks bread – or in some cases feeding them at all.

(Picture: Getty)

It’s quite the buzzkill, but unfortunately it’s true.

Left to their own devices, ducks will eat plants, seeds, insects, worms, snails, and even crustaceans.

Basically, although bread isn’t harmful for ducks on it’s own, they fill up on it and don’t feel the need to ear anything else.

And, as the saying goes (sort of) ducks cannot live on bread alone.

Bread has no real nutritional value, so if they’re constantly eating that and nothing else, it can make them malnourished.

(Picture: Getty)

Some birds can even get angel wing if they’re malnourished at a young age, which makes their wings grow improperly and renders the bird unable to fly.

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Another major issue isn’t just the food being given to ducks, but them being fed constantly in itself.

This can cause overcrowding, which then leads to diseases spreading more easily.

As well as this, it changes ducks’ migration patterns, so they fail to leave as they know there’s a free food source and often don’t survive the cold winter.

Researches have also found that birds’ behaviour alters when they’re being fed constantly, and in some cases ducks have become more aggressive towards humans and fail to teach their young how to forage for themselves.

(Picture: Getty)

Leftover bread also becomes algae, which can become hypoxia – which robs the water of oxygen and potentially wipes out pondlife.

Not a cheery thought.

However, despite the dangers, you aren’t going to kill all the birds in the world by going to your local park for a quick feed. It’s simply all about moderation.

Try these healthier duck snacks to ease your conscience if you do feed the ducks:

  • Sweetcorn
  • Duck pellets (which you can buy at pet shops)
  • Lettuce, torn into small pieces
  • Peas
  • Oats
  • Seeds

Just leave the bread at home.

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Feeding Swans, Geese and Ducks

Swans … Ducks … Geese

Swans, Geese and Ducks in our neighborhood pond …

People are generally delighted to have these birds move into their local pond for them to enjoy.

In general, it is not a good idea to feed wild birds as it will increase their dependence on us for survival – and the food humans frequently feed them (such as bread and chips) is utterly unsuitable for them and can cause multiple health problems for them down the line.

When feeding water fowl, it is best to stay as close to their natural diet as possible ….

Their natural diet consists of …

  • Swans: In summer, the diet of swans consists mainly of aquatic vegetation, eaten while swimming, such as underwater plants and algae (Note: as algae eaters, they can be valuable in shallow bay areas, in rivers and ponds)
    • Grasses found along the banks.
    • They are also insectivores and will eat small insects
    • At other times of year, they also eat cultivated grains in open fields
  • Ducks feed off of larvae and pupae usually found under rocks, aquatic animals, plant material, seeds, small fish, snails, and crabs.
  • Geese consume a wide variety of plant material, including grass, leaves, roots, etc. They may also feed on aquatic plant material and waste grain left in plowed fields, as well as mollusks, crustaceans and even small fish. Many of them (such as the Roman Rufted Geese) also eat bugs, which makes them an excellent choice for those wishing to control insect populations in the backyard.
    • Note: Feeding geese is likely to reduce or even eliminates their value as natural insect controller in the backyard.

Feeding Swans, Ducks and Geese – the right way

Please note that their natural diet is best for them and that filling them up with food that is not part of their natural diet should be avoided, as it will prevent them from getting the nutrition they need as well as being potentially harmful.

HOWEVER, when winter conditions set in and little food is available – our help in providing food is likely to be very appreciated and may be even life-saving.

What NOT to feed:

  • Anything that is NOT healthy for us: sugary, starchy, fatty foods, junk food, fast food
  • Milk / dairy products: Birds lack the enzymes necessary to digest milk sugar, lactose. Ingestion may result in diarrhea and possibly dehydration. Severe dehydration can lead to death.
  • Bread, chips, cakes, cookies, and cereal, etc – as these foods can cause digestive and serious other health problems
  • Cooked and processed foods
  • Foods not safe for birds

What to feed:

  • Note: Any food fed to them should be in manageable size for swallowing. Foods should be as natural as possible, unprocessed without harmful additives.

    • Please refer to the natural diet as described above or on the relevant species pages … If possible, feed items that are close to their natural diet.
    • Particularly in the winter months when grasses or other plant vegetation is scarce, greens such as dark green lettuce, spinach, chopped/shredded carrots, celery and alfalfa sprouts and other vegetables and greens make a great supplement. Note that lettuce may be an acquired taste and the swans may take a while to get used to it. Any vegetables need to be cut up into small pieces. Remember, birds don’t have teeth!
    • Other foods to feed: Healthy popcorn (without artificial coloring and flavorings); corn / cracked corn; whole wheat GRAIN (not processed, not bread – natural state grain); whole oats; brown rice, lentils, split peas and smallish seeds
    • Equally loved and cherished are peelings from our own food preparations for dinner, such as broccoli, potatoes, green beans, cabbage — GENTLY steamed (only enough to warm up – NEVER cook and NEVER use the microwave to warm up) and feed warm (not hot) to swans who will especially appreciate that when it’s cold outside

How to feed:

  • Any food should be thrown onto the water so that they can swallow water together with the food, which helps them digest the food more easily.
  • Also, feeding swans, ducks and geese on land encourages them to leave the water whenever they see people, which can put them at significant risk if dogs or other predators are about.
  • Also remember, even though you obviously have a deep love for these magnificent birds, there are people out there who will harm them. Turning swans into trusting pets will put them at risk of being targeted by these sick individuals.
  • Watch and enjoy them from afar, not drawing their attention to you as much as possible.

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson

Please Note: The articles or images on this page are the sole property of the authors or photographers. Please contact them directly with respect to any copyright or licensing questions. Thank you.

The Avianweb strives to maintain accurate and up-to-date information; however, mistakes do happen. If you would like to correct or update any of the information, please contact us. THANK YOU!

Bread Is Bad for Ducks and the World Can’t Handle the Guilt

The truth comes out: Bread is bad for ducks, but the world can’t handle it.

When you were a child, did you take stale bread down to the pond at the local park to feed the ducks? Feeding ducks bread is a tradition for many, but duck lovers are speaking out against this practice. Why? Because believe it or not, bread is bad for ducks. And while you may feel like you’re helping the ducks by feeding them bread, you may actually be harming them instead.

Perhaps you’ve seen this meme going around:

I’VE BEEN FEEDING DUCKS BREAD THIS WHOLE TIME IM SO ASHAMED IM SUCH A MONSTER pic.twitter.com/dzyicjJc7Q

— daIIas (@tonynsteve) March 22, 2017

The world is feeling pretty guilty that they have been feeding ducks food that is bad for them.

But it’s hard to believe that bread is bad for ducks. After all, they love it, don’t they? Truth is, just like children, ducks would be happy to eat a diet consisting entirely of junk food with little nutritional value. And for ducks, that’s just what bread is.

“White bread, in particular, has no real nutritional value, so while birds may find it tasty, the danger is that they will fill up on it instead of other foods that could be more beneficial to them,” a spokeswoman for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds told The Guardian during an interview.

Since bread is junk food for ducks, it fills them up, meaning that they’re less likely to eat foods with nutritional value. Ducks that are fed bread may even become malnourished, and adult ducks eating bread may become fat and overweight.

But there’s another problem with feeding bread to ducks. Because of the high-calorie, low-nutrient diet that bread presents, young ducks can develop a condition called “angel wing.” Angel wing is a wing deformity which usually means that the ducks cannot fly. It’s incurable and can change a duck’s life forever.

If ducks are fed so much bread that some of it goes uneaten, the uneaten bread poses another problem. The bread can grow mold which can make ducks sick. It can also contribute to algae growth in the water, which can kill animals and spread disease. Algal blooms can also do damage to the water quality and native aquatic plants of the river or lake.

But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that you can’t feed ducks at all. In fact, there are plenty of foods that ducks love that will provide them with the right nutrients. Ducks like lettuce, corn, frozen peas, seeds, oats, and rice. Canal and River Trust even did a test on which greens ducks like best.

In addition to bread, you should also avoid feeding ducks foods like avocados, onions, citrus, nuts, chocolate, and popcorn, as these are toxic.

And as for your old bread? It’s best to find another use for it, like bread pudding. Please don’t give it to the ducks.

Do you like to feed the ducks? Will you think twice about feeding birds bread now? Tell us in the comments below.

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The Problem with Feeding Ducks

No crackers for quackers — help keep waterfowl healthy and wild!

Heading to the park to feed the ducks is a very old and popular family pastime; it’s a fun, free activity and a great way for parents and children to see and appreciate wildlife and nature.

What many people don’t realize is that bread, rolls, chips, and other human “snack food” items do not offer the proper nutrition that ducks and geese need — and that the act of feeding a diet heavy in breads and other empty carbohydrates can lead to severe health consequences and a variety of other problems.

Nutritional Consequences

Wild ducks and geese feed on a variety of grains and grasses, aquatic plants, and invertebrates, all naturally found in the wild. When eaten in combination, these foods are nutritionally balanced and provide everything a wild duck or goose needs to survive.

In contrast, foods commonly fed to waterfowl in public parks, such as bread, crackers, popcorn, and corn, are typically low in protein and essential nutrients and minerals (such as calcium and phosphorus). While a single feeding of these “junk foods” may not harm waterfowl, it adds up! If everyone visiting a park “only” gives a few pieces of bread or crackers to ducks and geese, it quickly becomes the bulk of what wild waterfowl consume, and results in a variety of nutritional disorders.

Waterfowl in public parks are often admitted to wildlife rehabilitation centers with metabolic bone disease (MBD). Birds with MBD have incredibly soft bones and joints that are often malformed and fractured; these injuries are caused by an overall calcium deficiency in the body, which is linked to an inappropriate diet. Calcium also plays a crucial role in the formation of eggs/offspring, clotting ability, cardiovascular and neuromuscular function, and a variety of other metabolic activities. Birds with MBD are often so malformed they cannot fly and become dependent on handouts, completing a vicious cycle. Affected birds are typically too weak to compete for food and defend themselves and are often the victims of aggressive attacks by other ducks and geese.

Another common issue with ducks and geese in public parks is “angel wing” — a condition where the ends of an affected bird’s flight feathers are twisted upward. “Angel wing” occurs when ducks and geese grow abnormally quickly; the affected birds’ joints don’t fully form as the wing and feathers develop and the weight of the growing feathers rotates the tip of the bird’s wing. If caught in initial stages, waterfowl suffering from this condition may be treated with splints to guide bone growth in the correct position. Although there are several theories regarding the causes of “angel wing”, some studies suggest that diets high in protein may be to blame. Well-meaning citizens feeding commercial duck, chicken, or turkey feed to avoid the “junk food” may be unintentionally creating this disorder.

One more problem with bread products is that this type of food expands in water — and the stomach — which gives ducks and geese an artificial feeling that they are full. As a result, these birds may not feel motivated to continue foraging on natural foods of higher nutritional value.

Overcrowding & Disease

In the wild, a particular lake or pond habitat can sustain a certain number of ducks and/or geese – there is a maximum number of individuals that can successfully reside there indefinitely, with enough food, water, and shelter. This “carrying capacity” of the habitat can be artificially increased when supplemental food is added.

While extra food may appear to be a good thing, it may lead to an expanded waterfowl population beyond the carrying capacity of the habitat. Without increasing space and other resources, ducks and geese can become stressed and overcrowded. Increased numbers of animals leads to increased competition for food; weaker birds in these environments often sustain severe injuries from more dominant birds. During the spring breeding season, gangs of male ducks physically attack each other to get access to female ducks. This not only leads to plucked featherless areas and skin lacerations, but females often drown as they cannot escape the driven males. Females that manage to escape the male ducks often nest up to a mile away from the water. This abnormal nesting behavior may put them at risk of urban predators, vehicle collisions, and perils not associated with nesting in natural areas.

Overcrowded habitats also are prime territories for disease outbreaks; there have been numerous outbreaks of botulism, avian cholera, duck plague (duck enteritis virus), and aspergillosis (fungal infection) in city duck ponds where supplemental feeding is a regular activity. The intense competition for poor quality food combined with other stressful interactions often cause the ducks and geese to have suppressed immune systems, which reduces their ability to resist infection.

For areas with high volumes of supplemental feeding, it’s also quite common for the unconsumed, leftover food to attract scavengers, including raccoons, opossums, and rats. Dense populations of these scavengers bring the potential for further disease outbreak, including zoonotic diseases that are transmissible to humans.

Habitat Degradation

There are also environmental issues related to artificially increasing the number of ducks and geese in a given area. Large numbers of waterfowl in a small area can seriously impact the surrounding environment.

Feces generated by overcrowded waterfowl result in increased deposition of carbon, phosphorus, and nitrogen in the water and surrounding grasslands. The addition of these nutrients to water (a process known as eutrophication) promotes excessive algae growth, leading to decreased oxygen levels, foul-smelling green and cloudy water, fish kills, and an overall decrease in water quality. Some common algae species (blue-green algae) even produce toxins associated with illness in wildlife, humans, and pets.

Certain species of waterfowl may also be destructive to the environment, due to their natural foraging strategies. Canada geese graze on grass and other low-growing plants and, when in large flocks, often destroy lawns and gardens surrounding city ponds. If these birds cannot find enough food, they often migrate short distances to golf courses, sports fields, and other grassy public areas yet still use the public park as a “home base”. Increased waterfowl populations can also lead to erosion of shorelines and a general negative public opinion of ducks and geese.

Habituation

In the wild, a healthy fear of humans and other potential predators allows ducks and geese to survive and reproduce. In public settings where waterfowl are fed artificial diets, these birds often lose this fear and are more likely to be consumed by predators (feral cats, dogs, foxes, raccoons, etc). Urban waterfowl may also be more likely to be hit by vehicles, entangled in litter, and maliciously harmed by humans. Habituated geese can pose a significant public health threat at certain times of the year if they are defending a nesting female or a brood of goslings. These habituated geese have the ability to seriously hurt humans, particularly children.

What You Can Do

Allowing ducks and geese to find their own wild, nutritionally balanced diet is best – for the health of waterfowl and the surrounding environment.

For those who would like to slowly stop feeding waterfowl: the least problematic foods mimic the waterfowl’s natural diet – greens and insects. Chopped up greens are more nutritious than any junk food, including corn. Ducks and geese eat insects too — so a special treat of mealworms or freeze-dried crickets would also likely be enjoyed! But the bottom line is that wild ducks and geese should be able to find plenty of food on their own – so if you can resist the temptation to feed, simply pack your binoculars and camera and enjoy watching the birds.

Instead of feeding ducks and geese:

  • Organize a trash pick-up at your local park.
  • Collect stray fishing hooks, lines, and sinkers.
  • Learn more about native ducks and geese and their natural history.
  • Spread the word! Share this information with others. If your local park has a problem with feeding, contact your parks and recreation office and work together to put up educational signs. We’re happy to share a high-resolution version of the infographic below.

When the weather starts to get warmer, lots of people enjoy feeding waterfowl at local parks, lakes, and ponds. Unfortunately, we have all been making a common mistake by tossing them bread and other flour-based products! In this article, I will explain why we shouldn’t be doing that, and what is actually safe to share with our feathered friends.

What To Feed Ducks And Other Waterfowl

While it may be bad to feed waterfowl bread and flour products, there are things you can feed them.

Ducks And Geese

  • Sweetcorn: frozen (thawed), fresh, or canned
  • Peas: frozen (thawed), fresh, or canned
  • Oats
  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Rice: cooked or raw
  • Seeds
  • Earthworms
  • Mealworms: dried or fresh
  • Greens
  • Veggie trimmings and peels
  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Halved grapes

Swans

  • Spinach
  • Greens
  • Shredded carrot
  • Celery
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Veggies
  • Brown rice
  • Lentils
  • Cracked corn
  • Split peas
  • Insects

Kyla Duhamel / Flickr (Creative Commons)

If you wish to continue feeding the wild birds in your area, avoid overfeeding, and try to feed less often so as to not offset their natural order. Also, be sure to chop fruits and veggies into small bits and avoid any medicated feed!

What Ducks And Other Waterfowl Eat Naturally

Before we go any further, I’d like to list some foods waterfowl eat naturally on their own. Waterfowl are foraging creatures, and they eat a variety of foods found in the wild. Water birds are omnivores. Do note, though, that this list only covers ducks, geese, and swans.

Issues With Feeding Waterfowl

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, artificial feeding is harmful to waterfowl. When we interfere with waterfowl’s natural feeding and foraging cycle, we can inadvertently cause wildlife to become dependent on us to provide food.

Ron DeBold / Flickr (Creative Commons)

Artificial feeding can cause harmful effects on the environment and animals, especially if we feed them the wrong sort of food. Here are a few other reasons why feeding waterfowl can be harmful.

Delayed Migration

Waterfowl are nomadic creatures. When we feed them too often, it throws off their migration patterns because certain plants that they eat bloom ‘in season’ only. So when the plants are almost gone, they travel to their new spot. Feeding them causes them to stick around longer than they naturally would.

Unnatural Behavior

It may be nice to see wild animals coming up to visit us, but it can cause unnatural behaviors. For instance, if I were to visit the park regularly with my dog that’s friendly with other animals, and feed the ducks with my pet nearby, it may cause the ducks to become too trusting of dogs. This can have a negative impact because if waterfowl begin to trust dogs and encounter a dog that’s less than friendly, the consequences can be deadly. That’s just one example.

Cumulative Effects

Cumulative effects are defined as “effects on the environment which are caused by the combined results of past, current, and future activities.” Let’s say we are feeding wild ducks, and we (more often than not) toss out too much bread. The leftover bread the waterfowl don’t eat, sinks to the bottom of the body of water. There it starts to mold which causes damage to the ecosystem.

Disease

Feeding waterfowl bread and flour products has the potential to cause numerous diseases to these beautiful creatures. I’ll go more in depth on that subject later on in this article.

Why Not Bread?

You will see photographs in magazines and even scenes on the big screen where people feed ducks and geese bread. These scenes are deceiving! Sure, the ducks and geese will eat and even enjoy it, but bread to waterfowl is the equivalent of junk food to humans.

There is no nutritional value in it for them. It can cause numerous negative impacts on birds and their surroundings. A diet of bread can cause birds to become malnourished, especially baby birds.

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Please don’t feed the models bread. Feed them little bits of fruits/veggies (no citrus) and seeds instead. Or just watch them forage like the pros they are.🌀 . . . . #ducksinarow #mallardsfordays #mallardduck #sonomacounty #monterio #russianriver #latesummer #closeencounters #dontfeedducksbread #natgeohereicome

A post shared by Chelsea Condon (@theseaofchel) on Aug 25, 2018 at 7:08pm PDT

Diets that are high in calories, carbohydrates, and protein, and low in nutrients, can cause a condition known as Airplane wing or angel wing. Angel wing is an incurable wing deformity that can result in birds being flightless. This disease causes the last joint on the bird’s wing to become distorted, and the end feathers stick out laterally (sideways) rather than lying flat against their body. As a result, they can’t fly.

Though it can be reversed in ducklings and other baby waterfowl, angel wing is irreversible in adults. High protein diets can cause the wing bones to grow too fast which makes the wing too heavy. The extra weight on the wing then causes twisted joints.

When bread products fed to waterfowl are left uneaten, there are numerous negative impacts that occur as a result:

  • Attracting predators
  • Causing mold growth
  • Creating unsanitary conditions
  • Causing illness and disease
  • Contributing to the growth of cyanobacteria and harmful algae blooms

Other Foods You Shouldn’t Feed Waterfowl

Along with bread, there are also a variety of other common household foods you should avoid feeding ducks and geese:

  • Onions
  • Citrus Fruit
  • Nuts
  • Chocolate
  • Popcorn
  • Avocados
  • Flour-Based Foods
  • Junk Food

Feeding any wildlife may seem like a nice thing to do, but there are always precautions to be taken and wildlife wisdom to be learned before doing so.

Waterfowl and wild birds are beautiful and it can be relaxing to sit and feed them! That said, if you’re going to feed them, please be responsible and smart about it. We don’t want to cause harm to the environment or the wildlife that lives there.

Feeding your duck a complete and balanced diet is essential to ensure they live a long and happy life.

Ducks should be fed a commercially prepared age appropriate food as their main diet. Ducks should be provided with suitable vegetables and fruits to supplement the commercial diet. Zucchini, peas, leafy greens, corn, vegetable peels, non-citrus fruit and worms are suitable. Check with your veterinarian and/or an experienced duck owner if you’re unsure about the safety of a particular food stuff.

Up to three weeks of age

Duck starter crumbles are ideal. This is a high nutrient feed with a protein level of around 18-20%. Avoid chicken feed at this age as it is deficient in some of the nutrients that growing ducks need.

3 – 20 weeks of age

Ducklings can now be fed a good quality grower food suitable for ducks or for pullets (young chickens). Protein level for this food should be around 15%.

20 weeks and older

The ducks can now be fed a good quality layer or breeder food suitable for adult ducks or chickens. Pellets or mixed grain are best. They also need daily access to shell grit as a source of calcium to ensure strong shelled eggs.

Supplement the commercial diet with suitable vegetables and fruit.

Ducks need plenty of clean water provided to wash their food down with. Ensure the food and water bowls are close to each other.

Do not feed: Bread, popcorn, chocolate, onion, garlic, avocado or citrus fruit.

Although bread is commonly given to ducks, excessive amounts are not good for them. Ensure any bread or bread products are only ever given as an occasional treat.

Please also note that feeding ducks is not the same as feeding chickens.

If you notice any changes in your ducks’ eating behaviour please consult with your veterinarian.

Reference

Inner South Veterinary Centre

A sign urging people to feed “starving” ducks with bread has gone viral and sparked a heated debate about whether it is in the animals’ best interests.

A neatly designed sign appeared in a park in Buxton, Derbyshire, but the managers of the park denied any responsibility.

Louisa Taylor put a photo of the sign on Facebook, thinking she was “doing a good deed”. Her post was shared more than 17,000 times and she received a barrage of messages demanding she delete her post, which she eventually did.

Sammy j williams (@Sammyjwilliams3)

Please feed the ducks pic.twitter.com/OIaGhzmsY2

October 17, 2019

The photo also appeared on Reddit under the title “I’m confused about duck diet now” and has garnered more than 39,000 likes and 1,500 comments.

Other signs shared on social media in the past have asked people explicitly not to feed ducks with bread, claiming it makes them ill. One sign encouraged people to feed ducks with “half-cut seedless grapes, cooked rice, birdseed ( any type of mix), peas, corn, oats, chopped lettuce”, which was then derided as creating a “new generation of gluten-free hipster ducks”.

Another sign shared to a local Facebook group for mothers, with more than 17,000 members, claimed feeding bread could cause a condition called “angel wing”, which makes ducks unable to fly, as well as “fatal gut and heart disease” in swans.

Even experts seem unable to agree on the matter. A spokesperson for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) said: “It’s always nice to hear that people want to help swans, ducks and geese, however it is important to make sure they are given the right food.

“Bread in itself is not the best food to give waterfowl as it fills them up without giving them the nutrients they need. We recommend people instead give small amounts of grain such as wheat, corn or bird seed, plus fresh chopped greens like cabbage or spinach, as these will supplement the birds’ natural diet and help provide the birds with the necessary nutrients to keep them healthy.”

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) said feeding small amounts of bread to ducks and swans was fine and not harmful, and that it was important that members of the public fed birds, as society becomes increasingly disconnected from nature.

A spokesperson said: “Just like us, birds need a varied diet to stay healthy. Although ducks and swans can digest all types of bread, too much can leave them feeling full without giving them all of the important vitamins, minerals and nutrients they need.

“So, although bread isn’t harmful, our advice is to only feed small amounts to birds. As an alternative we encourage people to use things like sweetcorn, porridge oats, crumbled biscuits and defrosted frozen peas as well as bird seed.”

SwanSupport, a charity that rescues swans, ducks and geese, insists that feeding them bread is fine and told the BBC that many birds died from starvation because people had been discouraged from giving them bread.

SwanSupport (@swan_support)

We have received lots of calls asking what food can be fed to the swans. Hope this helps:) pic.twitter.com/f78uVierKd

February 8, 2019

Feeding ducks is a fun pastime and most of us have wonderful memories of heading down to the local park as children, or with our own children, to feed the wildlife that live there. However we’ve recently discovered that feeding ducks and geese bread isn’t exactly good for their health.

Lloyd Park in London sent a tweet out encouraging visitors to bring defrosted peas with them to feed the ducks instead of white bread, as it ‘hurts them.’

‘There was a specific incident of a goose that was born with deformed wings because of malnutrition. The syndrome is known as “angel wing” because his main flight feathers fanned out at an angle which meant that he was unable to fly,’ Mairi Johnson from Friends of Lloyd Park told us.

‘The goose was named Nigel and became something of a local celebrity. He could be heard every evening honking mournfully around the lake in Lloyd Park when the rest of his community had flown off to roost somewhere for the night.’

Are you coming to feed the #ducks and #geese this wknd? White bread hurts them – bring defrosted peas instead! pic.twitter.com/3xpSqmgQmg

— Lloyd Park E17 (@folpe17) June 15, 2016
And The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds agree, telling us that unfortunately feeding bread to birds can make them develop health problems.

MORE: 8 DELICIOUS BREAD RECIPES

‘Feeding ducks in the park pond or geese and swans in rivers is an excellent way for the public to have contact with birdlife and for toddlers to learn to appreciate ducks, geese and swans later in life,’ an RSPB spokesperson told us. ‘But feeding bread to birds can often lead to them developing health problems. Bread has no real nutritional value, so while birds may find it tasty, the danger is that they will fill up on it instead of other foods that could be more beneficial to them.’

Instead, we’re encouraged to feed them foods more beneficial to them such as sunflower seeds or any other bird seed, or things such as rice, sweetcorn, peas and even porridge oats.

So next time you’re heading to the park, rather than taking that loaf of bread that’s going a bit stale, grab the frozen peas that are sitting at the bottom of your freezer.

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