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Ducks are some of the friendliest creatures hanging out in parks, gardens, and ponds.

Nature lovers of all ages love nothing more than to hang out on a bench with a book, or their tunes, or sit silently amidst the noise, and watch the ducks on the pond. I once saw a duck surf a miniature sailboat in Paris, a sight I still remember vividly nearly two decades later.

Ducks aren’t violently obnoxious like geese, or intrusive and annoying like pigeons. And ducks are (arguably) better than the raucously stupid seagull.

People love feeding ducks. In times gone by, you could purchase a cheap bag of stale bread or bring your own, then sit at the water’s edge and give them all a feed.

Nowadays, it’s best not to feed ducks bread because in doing so you could be killing them.

Don’t Feed the Ducks Bread

Don't Feed the Ducks
Image Source: Paul VanDerWerf via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Ducks love to eat bread. According to the website Healthy Life, a study in Queensland Australia found that ducks ate as many as 4.9 slices of bread during a session.

Unfortunately, that’s not a good thing. Bread contains little to no nutritional value for ducks. All it accomplishes is that it swells their bellies and keeps them from eating the food they are meant to for good health.

In addition, not all of the bread is eaten when multitudes of people offer ducks loaves of sliced bread. Either the bread attracts the attention of other birds – like the Ibis (or bin chicken as we Aussies call it) – vermin such as rats.

Uneaten food can also go to waste entirely, befouling the duck’s habitat, creating a smelly miasma in the park or pond, and contributing to the possibility of avian botulism.

What Should You Feed the Ducks?

Image by julianuc from Pixabay

There are plenty of better options than feeding ducks bread. It’s easy to plan ahead of time if you’ve planned a day with family and friends at the pond, park, or gardens.

Avoid anything made for humans – baked goods, processed grains etc – and go with any of the following:

  • Frozen vegetables such as peas and corn
  • Cracked corn
  • Raw grains, such as barley or oats
  • Birdseed
  • Duck pellets (you can get them at pet stores or feed suppliers)

As a lot of park ducks are omnivorous, you can get adventurous by purchasing mealworms or similar to give them a bit of extra protein.

Too Hard (Duck) Basket

Dont feed birds bread
Image Source: Peter O’Connor via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

In many places, governments that control parks and recreational facilities have taken to restricting patrons from being able to feed ducks, geese, and other waterfowl.

In certain parks, signs are clearly posted to dissuade bird enthusiasts and families, while in other instances parkland areas are patrolled by rangers, with those breaching park regulations subject to on the spot fines.

While some legislators have brought in the controversial legislation to protect the birds from a dangerous, unnatural diet, others, such as the Whitehall City Council, brought in the new rules to restrict the amount of birds, and by association, the waste they produce.

What are your thoughts? Should people be banned from feeding ducks when visiting parks and gardens? Or is it ok provided they feed waterfowl the right diet?

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