Feeding Ducks

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Feeding ducks at a local pond can be a great family activity, but it can also be harmful to the very birds you want to enjoy. Knowing what best to feed ducks, however, can help you enjoy these outings and give the birds a nutritious diet.

 

Bread Is Bad

Bread, crackers, and similar “bready” products are some of the most common foods to offer ducks at urban ponds, but they are also the worst choices. Bread has very little nutritional value for birds, and feeding ducks too much bread can lead to malnutrition and obesity. Surplus bread can also ferment in the water and may attract rats or other pests, and it can lead to diseases such as avian botulism that can kill an entire flock.

 

Better Foods for Ducks

Duck are omnivores and will sample a wide variety of different foods. Good foods to offer ducks include:

  • Grapes cut in half
  • Birdseed
  • Cracked corn
  • Defrosted frozen peas or corn
  • Berries
  • Chopped lettuce
  • Oats or other grains
  • Duck feed pellets

 

More Tips for Feeding Ducks

If you want to feed ducks, not only is it important to feed them the best food, but these tips can help both you and the birds.

  • Only feed ducks occasionally, and avoid feeding them if many other families are also offering treats. If the birds are fed too often, they may become dependent on human handouts. Feeding ducks rarely also makes it a more exciting and unusual family activity that everyone can look forward to.
  • If the ducks seem uninterested in the food, stop feeding. They may have been fed recently or the food may not be suitable. Overfeeding, even with the best food, can still cause problems, and it is best to only feed ducks when they are actively foraging for each tidbit.
  • Always be careful and do not attempt to pet or catch the ducks. Aggressive birds may chase or bite humans, and it is best to stay a safe distance from the birds being fed.
  • Wash your hands after feeding the ducks. While ducks do not tend to carry diseases that can be commonly transmitted to humans, other parasites such as lice or ticks can travel from birds to humans.

Feeding ducks can be a fun family activity, and by feeding the best foods in the safest way, both family members and the birds can enjoy the occasional treat.

 

- Article courtesy of Melissa Mayntz

 


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