Feeding ducks bread ‘bad for their health’

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© Wikimedia commons

Feeding ducks. Pic © Wikimedia Commons

The innocent act of feeding ducks bread has been reported as being damaging to birds and canals.

A report out today by Canal & River Trust calls on the public to feed the ducks responsibly, using alternatives to bread.

Every year, six million loaves are said to be thrown into canals and rivers, potentially polluting the water and damaging hundreds of thousands of ducks and their homes. One popular location in the city is Sefton Park lake, where generations of people have enjoyed the pastime down the years.

Nationally, more than 15 million people fed the ducks with their family or friends last year and an estimated 12 million of them admitted to feeding them.

Grahame Madge, Senior Media Officer at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, told JMU Journalism: “The Canal & River Trust has announced today that it is not advisable to feed bread to ducks. That’s something in the past we’ve also said, because bread isn’t the most nutritious item that birds can feed on so there are other alternatives.”

The recommended alternative foods are oats, corn, grapes, lettuce and defrosted frozen peas. Like humans ducks need a balanced diet in order to keep healthy.

Peter Birch, from the National Environment Manager for the Canal & River Trust, said: “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.”

Uneaten bread left in canals can build-up extra nutrients which can lead to algae growth, spread disease and have an increase in rats.

The charity has created a free booklet packed with tips on the right food to feed the ducks which includes lots of activities for children.

For more information on the campaign visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/duck.

About Olivia Swayne-Atherton, JMU Journalism