Rescue
Wildlife organization is urging duck lovers to feed them peas instead of bread
The matter seems far from settled amongst the scientific bird community. But peas still seem like a tasty thing to treat them to anyway.
D.G. Sciortino
11.16.21

Bread is delicious.

We all love it. And sometimes to a fault.

While most of us would welcome some bread with every single meal, that wouldn’t be great for our health.

So, we try to minimize make sure we have a balanced bread or carb intake.

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Pixbay

The same goes for birds.

While feeding the birds is a lovely pastime that helps us feel connected to nature, it might not be the best thing for birds.

Have people been feeding birds bread for probably hundreds of years? Yes.

But, like humans, birds need variety in their diets to be healthy. What would happen if you only ate bread?

Now, imagine that but with birds.

The Canal & River Trust claims that three-quarters of the population throw their leftover bread into canals, rivers, reservoirs, and lakes every year.

Seem like a lot, no?

Their website says that “bread is bad” for ducks and humans should stop feeding it to them.

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“Ducks need a varied diet to be healthy. Bread doesn’t have much nutritional value and fills the duck’s stomach so that it doesn’t forage for foods it would naturally eat, which can lead to malnutrition,” the website says. “Uneaten soggy bread can cause a build-up of bad nutrients, which can lead to more algae growing around water, more diseases, and more pests, such as rats.”

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Pixabay

No need to crowd

Their website also states that feeding bread to birds can create overcrowding of bird populations who all come to the same location where they get their carb fix.

This can lead to their habitats being overstretched or damaged.

“This also creates excessive amounts of bird droppings, which, along with being smelly and slippery underfoot, can reduce water quality and clog waterways with harmful algae,” the website says.

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Pixabay

Not everyone feels the same

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, however, says feeding small amounts of bread to ducks is OK, but it’s better to offer them a variety of foods.

Eating too much bread can have them missing out on important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

“So, although bread isn’t harmful, our advice is to only feed small amounts to birds,” said Tony Whitehead of The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

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Pixabay

All a sales gimmick?

Swan Support, a duck, geese, and swan rescue organization says birds ended up starving to death because of the “Ban the Bread” campaign, which they said was started by a company that sells bird food.

“They wanted people to buy their food and that’s where it all started,” said Wendy Hermon from Swan Support. “We were picking them up dying everywhere.”

She said birds in the area had become established there and learned to rely on the humans who fed them.

“It’s absolutely fine to feed bread. Bread has been fed to swans, ducks, and geese for hundreds of years,” she said.

Hermon says it’s just important to not leave extra bread behind to decay and to only feed birds what they are able to eat at once.

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ABC 27 News suggests feeding ducks cracked corn, thawed frozen peas, barley, oats, birdseed, duck pellets, or halved grapes (whole grapes can cause choking).

Kristin Norris, a veterinary technician at VCA Bridgeport Animal Hospital, says that birds should be fed in moderation.

“You don’t need to bring a whole bag of seed, a whole bag of grapes,” Norris told ABC 27 News. “You don’t want to just throw a whole bunch of stuff at them.” Instead, a handful of snacks should suffice.”

Wondering how the ducks feel about it all?

Watch them demolish a bowl of peas in the video below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By D.G. Sciortino
hi@sbly.com
D.G. is a contributing writer in Shareably. She's based in Connecticut and can be reached at hi@shareably.net.
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