Many people have fond childhood memories of visiting duck ponds armed with loaves of bread, but it turns out that this well-meant activity might have been doing more harm than good.
While ducks, geese and swans will happily eat high-carbohydrate food like bread and cake, it offers them few of the nutrients they need. If young ducks fill up on bread they will become malnourished, which can sometimes lead to a deformity called angel wing where their wings stick out instead of folding away.
Thankfully, there are plenty of healthy alternatives for your local web-footed friends. Uncooked oats, cooked or uncooked rice, seeds and grains like wheat and barley
are all good options. Nuts are fine too, as long as they’re not coated, flavoured or salted. Ducks will also gratefully receive vegetables, including sweetcorn, lettuce and (defrosted) frozen peas. Grapes cut into halves or quarters make for a great sweet treat.
Whichever type of food you choose, make sure it’s given in small pieces and isn’t mouldy, and stop feeding the birds when they begin to lose interest as wasted food will rot and could make them ill.
Feeding the ducks doesn’t have to be a thing of the past – animal lovers just need to make sure that they’re
fully clued up on what to feed them to keep everyone happy and healthy.
Image: Bernard Spragg/flickr