For many people, one of their most memorable and enjoyable childhood activities was going to feed the ducks. All you needed was to take some bread down to your nearest pond, stream or another body of water, to feel close to nature. However, one of the most upsetting things to learn is that, in fact, you should not be feeding ducks bread as it can be dangerous for them.
A sign advising people to in fact continue feeding ducks has gone viral after it was shared more than 17,000 times.
It has caused confusion and anger as to whether it is safe or harmful to feed bread to ducks.
While it can be a bit depressing to learn, feeding bread to ducks can actually be harmful to their health.
When left to fend for themselves, ducks typically eat plants, seeds, insects, worms, snails, and even crustaceans.
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But what are the six things you should never feed to the ducks?
- Mouldy food
Although bread is not harmful to ducks on its own, it fills them up and they then do not feel any need to eat anything else, which in turn can be dangerous.
Ducks cannot live on bread alone as it has no real nutritional value.
If ducks constantly eat that and nothing else, it can lead to malnourishment for the ducks.
Similarly to bread, chips, crackers, cereal and sweets cause ducks to feel full up, leading to bloating.
This can make ducks feel lethargic and ill-looking.
These items also contain no nutritional value for ducks and can be damaging to a duck.
Meanwhile, mouldy food can be physically harmful to a duck as they are unable to combat the potentially damaging impacts of mouldy food.
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RSPB spokesman Harry Bellew said: “Feeding the ducks on the park pond – or geese and swans on rivers – is often the first experience children have with wildlife and is a family favourite activity.
“But it is important that we’re feeding ducks the right kind of food to help keep them happy and healthy, whilst ensuring our waterways are kept in a good condition.
“Try to vary what you give them and swap it for healthier more natural treats like oats, corn or defrosted frozen peas.
“It’s a bit like if we eat too much bread or food like it – we feel fine to start with but then we can feel bloated and sluggish. And that can be detrimental for birds as they will fill up on it and not on other, more nutritional.”foods.”
Mr Bellew added: “There is a risk that ducks and other waterfowl can get an illness known as angel wing, which is caused by not getting the right nutrients in their diet.
“The illness causes as deformity in birds’ wings that can hamper the way they fly or even stop them altogether, which could obviously be fatal.
“Uneaten, rotting food left by ducks can trigger noxious odours and fuel algae that can eventually eradicate fish from the area, as well as attracting rats, mice and insects.
“Mouldy bread can also cause aspergillosis a fatal lung infection that can wipe out waterfowl in flocks.”
What should you feed the ducks instead?
- Tinned, frozen and fresh corn
- Rolled oats
- Instant porridge
- Bread (in very, very small amounts)
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