All over the country you see people visiting their local waterways armed with a bag of bread to feed the ducks, but did you know that feeding bread to ducks and other birds is actually really bad for them?

Here’s why:

Ducks and other water birds need a varied diet to be healthy, bread doesn’t have much nutritional value and fills them up so they don’t forage for foods they would naturally eat, which can lead to malnutrition.

Uneaten soggy bread can cause a build-up of bad nutrients which can cause algal blooms within a pond or lake; as a result, it can also cause the spread of diseases and encourage pests such as rats.

Throwing bread into the lake or pond encourages birds to flock to where the easy meal can be found. However, overcrowding of birds in the same location can cause stress and lead to habitats being damaged.

Feeding bread to ducks and other water fowl birds can create large amounts of droppings; which are not only unpleasant and slippery to walk on, but excessive amounts within a pond or lake can reduce water quality and clog waterways with harmful algae.

So, instead of feeding our ducks, geese and swans with bread, try one of these healthy alternatives:

Sweetcorn
It turns out that ducks are quite partial to a sweetcorn. Tinned, frozen or fresh! Obviously, remove them from the tin first.

Lettuce
As a nation we’re guilty of throwing away a vast amount of lettuce, especially the bagged variety. Instead of consigning it to the bin, rip it into pieces and treat your local ducks. Rocket, Kale and Iceberg are all great choices.

Frozen Peas
There’s no need to cook them but make sure you defrost them first!

Oats
Flapjacks, rolled oats and even instant porridge oats will be a huge hit.

Seeds
Whether you buy bird seed or seeds from the healthy aisle in the supermarket – the ducks will be very grateful for these nutritious nibbles.

Rice
Wild ducks will appreciate a handful of leftover rice from a takeaway. Just remember to keep the crispy duck all to yourself. You can also use uncooked rice, both are fine.

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