The highlight of many of our family trips to country parks has been feeding the ducks, something we all enjoy doing regularly as a family. We’ve routinely taken left-over bread with us, torn it into pieces and thrown it into the water as we watch the ducks swim towards us and fight each other for the crumbs! Little did we realise that we were doing far more harm than good!
Why We’ve Stopped Feeding Bread to the Ducks
We feed six million loaves of bread a year to ducks in England and Wales. Research suggests we are causing damage to birds’ health and polluting waterways. Uneaten bread eventually sinks to the bottom of ponds and lakes and causes algal blooms, allows bacteria to breed and attracts rats and other vermin.
Bread is also detrimental to the health of the birds, as it provides little or no nutrition, despite filling them up. A spokeswoman for the RSPB recently commented that making large quantities of bread easily available stops ducks from eating a natural, balanced diet.
The answer is however simple, and we can still enjoy feeding the ducks, providing we consider portion control and look for sensible and healthier alternatives to bread. Oats, corn and defrosted frozen peas are much safer for the birds to eat, alongside special duck seed mixes which can now be purchased at many country parks.
It’s a simple change, but one which we can all implement and make all the difference!