For generations feeding ducks has been a pastime shared by many of us who have grown up thinking that this was an environmentally responsible and humane way to dispose of old or stale bread. However, feeding ducks and geese is actually unhealthy and potentially dangerous for the birds. This seemingly generous act, in fact, can be extremely harmful.
Bread and similar products such as crackers, chips, doughnuts, and popcorn are a great source of carbohydrates but have little nutritional value. In fact, feeding bread is equivalent to feeding your child nothing but candy. Without healthy food and proper nutrition the ducks and geese will quickly succumb to disease and death.
The Problems With Feeding Ducks
Feeding ducks and geese can lead to the following problems as well:
Duckling malnutrition — in areas where ducks are regularly fed bread the ducklings will not receive adequate nutrition for proper growth and development.
Overcrowding — Where food is easy to come by, ducks and other waterfowl will lay more eggs and the pond or lake will become overcrowded. This makes it more difficult for the birds to seek out healthier food sources and increases territorial aggression, especially during mating season. It will also cause ducks to cross busy streets in search of food.
Pollution — What happens to all that bread that is not eaten? It causes algae growths, pollution, and can eventually eradicate fish and other life in the vicinity.
Diseases — A diet rich in carbohydrates leads to greater fecal production and bird feces easily harbors bacteria responsible for numerous diseases including avian botulism.
Attraction of pests — Rotting leftover food attracts other unwelcome pests such as rats, mice, and insects. These pests can also harbor additional diseases that can be dangerous to humans.
Caring For Ducks & Geese
If you care about ducks and geese, do not feed them. They can live longer, healthier lives by relying on natural food sources such as aquatic plants, seeds, grasses, and insects rather than taking handouts from will-meaning humans. Now that you know, you can help by not feeding the ducks and geese and by educating other duck lovers.