THEIR HEALTH When wild ducks are fed human food (especially bread or crackers) their organs become engorged and fatty, which can cause them to suffer from heart disease, liver problems and other health complications. Bread also has very few nutrients, and can get compacted in a bird's crop. Many rehabilitators see "bread-impacted crop" in sick and distressed park ducks. Waterfowl at artificial feeding sites are often found to suffer from poor nutrition. In a natural setting they will seek out a variety of nutritious foods such as aquatic plants, natural grains, and invertebrates. Bread is very low in protein, contains additives that wildfowl aren't built to cope with, and it's a very poor substitute for natural foods. Ducklings fed bread miss out in vital nutrients during their critical first few weeks, causing splay leg, angel wing, slipped tendons and other growing defects.
Natural food is usually available over a wide area. At some artificial feeding sites, competition for each bread crumb is high. Some ducks (usually the youngest) are unable to compete for handouts and suffer because they never learn to forage naturally. Ducks also become unnaturally aggressive towards each other and a nuisance to humans.
"Nuisance waterfowl" are often euthanized en mass after complaints from local citizens. Also, attracting ducks to you for feeding teaches ducks not to fear humans. And let's face it... not all humans are animal lovers. Rehabilitators often see ducks purposefully chased by dogs and children, with injuries from dog bites or thrown rocks - or - all too often run over by cars.
Feeding also creates unnaturally high populations of waterfowl at a pond, and diseases generally not transmissible in the wild will flourish in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions.
YOUR HEALTH At some sites there are so many people feeding the ducks that uneaten food is left to rot. Decaying food pollutes the water and attracts foxes that prey on ducks. Food left for ducks will also attract vermin.
Waterfowl and rats will defecate where they feed - often at the pond edge. And naturally, the amount of feces they produce is directly proportional to the amount they eat. It's not exactly a healthy environment, especially for young children and the elderly. Many swimming holes are closed when overpopulation of waterfowl causes unsafe bacteria levels in the water.
IF YOU STILL INSIST ON FEEDING DUCKS...
If you still insist on feeding ducks or other waterfowl, please do not feed them bread. Substitute cheerios, grapes cut in half, a thawed bag of frozen peas or corn, or kale, romaine or other leafy greens (not iceberg lettuce).
thank you for that information.
I usually buy a huge generic bag of puffed oats....
I think that qualifies as a grain ?? the peas and corn would be soooooo easy tho...and the birds wouldnt steal it.
Good Information..thanks for sharing !
I used to keep a bag of oats in our boathouse...but the birds got wise to that
I agree that their cute... But feed is feed & the by-product of feed is what all of us
have on our boats daily from them so called free loaders... The only feed they need is
a good dose of #4 shot..... (In season of course)