What Should You Feed the Ducks?
Kid’s love feeding the ducks. It is one of those things that most of us did in our childhood and probably still do from time to time. When we do visit the local pond it is second nature to reach for the loaf of white bread in the cupboard, especially if it is a little beyond its best. The trouble is, bread is not a good food for ducks and we should really be choosing other foods to take down to the water.
Why Bread is Bad
Bread is not harmful to ducks when fed in moderation but you can’t control what other people are feeding the birds. If everyone turns up at the pond or lake with bread then the ducks will only receive bread. The bread is high in carbohydrates but low in nutrients. If the ducks’ diet features too much bread they will become overweight and so less able to evade predators. Ducklings can become seriously malnourished if they learn to rely on a diet of bread.
In areas where many people feed the ducks, some of the bread may not be eaten.
The leftovers are unsightly and will start to rot, creating bad odours and promoting algae growth. A build-up of algae can start to crowd out nutritious and beneficial plants. The pollution caused by rotting food can also kill off fish and amphibians which inhabit the pond.
A carbohydrate rich diet leads to ducks defecating more often. Duck faeces can harbour the bacteria that lead to disease. Mouldy bread can also cause aspergillosis which is fatal lung infection that can quickly wreak havoc in the duck population. That rotting bread also attracts rats and mice. These animals can spread disease amongst the duck population.
Alternatives to Bread
So bread is definitely bad news but what are the alternatives? Well, you actually have plenty of healthy choices and you will find many of them lying about your kitchen just like that old loaf of bread. Ducks will appreciate a snack of cooked rice. If you have any rice leftover from a meal or a takeaway then save it for the ducks.
Ducks also enjoy oats which is good news for porridge eaters and they love a bit of lettuce. They will certainly gobble up sweetcorn and peas. If you are struggling to lay your hands on some food for an impromptu trip to the pond then take a look in the back of your kitchen cupboards.
Bird Seed Cake
Your best option for feeding the ducks is bird seed or bird seed cake. Bird seed provides a nutritious meal for ducks and you can make a little food go a long way. Kids can feed the ducks for as long as they like with much less risk of supplying too many carbs and the bird seed is inexpensive. If you feed the birds in your garden then you will always have some to hand. Bird seed cake is a great option and can be broken into small pieces when you arrive at the water.
Next time you feed the ducks remember that bread is not a good choice and take bird seed cake instead!