Stop feeding bread to ducks (Wired UK)


Duncan Geere


Conservationists have asked Britons to stop feeding ducks bread,
after a survey revealed that they six million loaves were consumed
by waterfowl in 2014.

The survey, by the Canal and River Trust, found that nearly a
quarter of English and Welsh people fed bread to ducks last year,
despite warnings over the animals’ health and the impact on river
ecosystems.

White bread is essentially junk food to ducks, says the RSPB. It has little nutritional value and causes them to stop
eating a natural, balanced diet. Not getting the right nutrients
can cause them to develop a condition called ‘angel wing’ which
causes deformities that hamper their ability to fly.

There’s also the problem that top feeding locations attract too
many animals, leading to overpopulation and “excessive amounts of
bird poo”. Meanwhile, uneaten bread is bad for waterways, causing
algal blooms that attracts rats and vermin and allow bacteria to
breed.

A spokesperson for the government’s Animal and Plant Health
Agency said: “Large amounts of bread and other human foodstuffs can
be harmful to wildfowl, leading to potentially fatal or disabling
health conditions. Uneaten food can also cause changes to the
chemical and bacteriological content of water, increasing the risk
of avian disease.”

Peter Birch, national environment manager for the Canal and
River Trust, said: “Bread’s not great for a duck’s health, as it’s
nothing like their natural diet, so don’t over feed them with large
quantities of it. Try to vary what you give them and swap it for
healthier, more natural, treats like oats, corn, or defrosted
frozen peas. And exercise portion control!”

He added: “Don’t follow the crowds, spread the love, and visit a
new family of ducks to prevent large quantities of the starchy duck
‘junk food’ from clogging up the same places and potentially
damaging the environment.”

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17 March 2015 | 12:15 pm – Source: wired.co.uk

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