Why Not Feed Ducks Bread
MODERN BREAD HARMS THE HEALTH OF DUCKS & SWANS AND POLLUTES WATERWAYS
Its fun to feed bread to ducks and swans but modern bread is junk food for wild waterbirds. It makes them feel full and satisfied, so they do not eat the healthy wild food that they need to develop properly, to build muscle and fight disease. It just makes them fat but quickly goes right through them to join uneaten bread on the waterway bottom, making the perfect breeding ground for bacteria that is harmful to fish and humans.
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WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY:
Birmingham Mail 6th January 2013
RSPB warn: "Don't feed the ducks bread (and chips are a No-No too while we come to think of it)"
RSPB say feeding ducks bread and chips is not a good idea as it could lead to them starving to death. Bird-lovers in the Midlands are running the risk of killing ducks, geese and swans - with kindness. By being fed bread the birds can develop a health condition which can prevent them from flying.
As a result, victims might be unable to seek out more nutritious natural food, and could eventually starve to death. Bird experts are warning well-meaning families to stop throwing starchy scraps to ducks, geese and swans on park ponds, lakes and rivers in the region. They say that it is much better to give them properly balanced food which is easy and cheap to buy.
Grahame Madge, of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) said: "Feeding ducks on the park pond – or geese and swans on rivers – has become a long-established favourite pastime for many people, especially parents with young children. "It is an excellent way for the public to have contact with birdlife and for toddlers to learn to appreciate ducks, geese and swans later in life. "But feeding bread – or we’ve often seen chips – to birds can lead to them developing health problems. Food thrown into the water, but not eaten, can also cause difficulties with nutrient build-up in the water, especially in closed water like ponds and lakes. We don’t want to stop people from feeding ducks, geese and swans but they should consider buying properly balanced food which is available from pet shops or from vets. They are even partial to pieces of cut-up green vegetables, which are good for them and which people can take from home."
The major health problem to birds caused by over-feeding with bread is a condition known as Angel Wing – deformed wing growth which stops birds from flying. Too much bread or chips also causes bloating, making the birds lethargic and ill-looking. The imbalance of protein and carbohydrates in the diet is passed on by adult birds to ducklings, goslings and cygnets as they develop in the egg, and causes deformed wings as they grow up. Significantly, the condition is unknown in areas where humans do not feed birds.
Local councils across the Midlands are also concerned about uneaten food floating on park ponds and lakes, and lying on the banks of rivers which, as well as being unsightly, can attract rats and become riddled with bacteria……….
From The Telegraph - Thursday 28 February 2013
'Bloated' ducks in danger after over-indulging on white bread
Too much white bread can leave ducks bloated, ill and in danger from predators as they gorge on the starchy food instead of their usual nutritious meals, experts have warned.
It appears it is not only humans suffering the ill-effects of too much unhealthy food. Ducks are being harmed by over-indulging in white bread, with experts warning it could leave them "bulked out", undernourished and struggling to fly away from predators. Too much starchy bread, as well as leftover chips and takeaways - scattered for them by well-meaning Britons - is leaving wildfowl bloated and lethargic. Experts have warned that they may even develop a craving for the treats over normal healthy food and become reluctant to forage for nutritious natural vegetation, which they need to remain healthy and agile.
Experts from the RSPB and Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) have now warned the public to be mindful of how they feed the birds, advising them to swap harmful white bread for nutritious grains. The RSPB said birds which gorged on white bread could be "susceptible to predation", with a lack of nutrition leaving them in poor health. Their predators include foxes and mink, although other species such as cats and even large pike have been known to attack wildfowl. Grahame Madge, of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) said: "Feeding ducks on the park pond or geese and swans on rivers has become a long-established favourite pastime for many people, especially parents with young children. "It is an excellent way for the public to have contact with birdlife and for toddlers to learn to appreciate ducks, geese and swans later in life. But feeding bread, or we've often seen chips, to birds can lead to them developing health problems. Birds that are unhealthy are more susceptible to predation." He added: "Food thrown into the water, but not eaten, can also cause difficulties with nutrient build-up in the water, especially in closed water like ponds and lakes. We don't want to stop people from feeding ducks, geese and swans but they should consider buying properly balanced food which is available from pet shops or from vets. They are even partial to pieces of cut-up green vegetables, which are good for them and which people can take from home."
An animal health officer from the WWT said ducks and geese living in park ponds and lakes could become "hooked" on bread at the expense of other food. Too much starch can bring on a condition known as 'Angel wing'; a deformed growth which leaves them bloated and lethargic. Leftover bread is also known to cause major problems to the water, affecting levels of oxygen and bacteria. Martin Brown, animal health officer at WWT, said birds could "bulk out" on nutritionally-poor bread at the expense of their proper diet, leaving them at risk. Feeding bread in moderation, where it doesn’t make up the biggest daily intake of food, does not have so many ill effects," he said. "However bread, and in particular white bread, is a very poor nutritional quality. Too much of it can lead to nutritional disease and an increased susceptibility to infectious disease. In park lakes, birds can become hooked on bread and they start to prefer it to proper food. It bulks them out." He added "eating too much white bread could also lead to birds like swans losing weight, due to its poor nutritional content. People think they are doing a lovely thing by feeding the ducks some bread," he said. "But they forget they could be one of 20 people doing the same thing every day."