You've Been Feeding The Ducks Wrong Your Whole Life
Be the responsible duck feeder you know you want to be.
Hey! It’s a lovely day outside! Let’s go to the park to feed the ducks!
Obviously, you’re going to need something other than just your hand to feed them.
How about the last of that white loaf you have on top of the fridge?
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NO. STOP AND PUT THAT BREAD DOWN.
Bread is not the best thing to feed the ducks.
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“We would say that feeding bread to birds won’t do them any harm but it won’t do them much good either,” Gemma Butlin, a spokesperson from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, told BuzzFeed.
“It’s a bit like if we eat too much bread – we feel good to start with but them we feel bloated and sluggish. And that could be detrimental for birds as they will fill up on it and not other, more nutritious foods.”
Letting ducks fill up bread and miss out on important nutrients can do them real harm.
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“If they miss out on essential nutrients, they can get an illness known as angel wing,” Mark Simpson, a spokesperson for the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust (WWT), told BuzzFeed. “It’s a deformity that can leave them flightless and can be fatal.”
You can see what angel wing looks like in the photo above.
So what should you be feeding ducks instead?
Tom Blackwell / Flickr: tjblackwell / Creative Commons
“WWT supplies a grain mix for duck feeding at its wetland centres, and recommends that people use similar specialist water bird food, available from pet stores and garden centres and feed only in moderation,” says Simpson.
So that’s the ideal. But if you’re looking for something you might already have in your kitchen cupboards that’s better than white bread?
“Birds need food that give them energy,” says Butlin. “Brown bread is marginally better than white bread, as it does contain a bit more nutrition,” but it’s still not great. “Far better would be things like porridge oats, grated cheese, cake or biscuit crumbs, cooked potatoes, cooked rice, breakfast cereals or frozen vegetables for example.”
According to a leaflet produced by the Royal Parks Press Office, swans “really like” lettuce. They also suggest cooked brown rice, lentils, pearl barley or split peas.
And then the ducks will have plenty of energy for cute little stamping (and nesting and feeding their young and stuff too).