What do ducks eat? Not bread — or at least they shouldn't be nibbling on the carb-heavy food. Tossing stale bread into your local pond to feed wild ducks does more harm than good. Learn why you should avoid it entirely and what options are better for these aquatic animals.
Why You Should Avoid Feeding Ducks Bread
There's a reason parks post signs asking visitors not to feed the wild waterfowl: It can be harmful to them. White bread — as well as chips, popcorn and doughnuts — do not provide any benefits to ducks.
According to a Sugarland, Texas, government website, giving ducks and other wild birds people foods is the equivalent of "feeding your child nothing but candy." If they do not eat a balanced diet, they "will quickly succumb to disease and death."
And even if they do not eat the bread, it will still affect them and other animals. You are polluting their home, as well as the homes of other animals, like small fish in the water. It can also be harmful to humans. If left to rot, leftover food will bring more insects and rats.
So What Can Our Feathered Friends Eat?
A duck's diet includes both plants and animals but varies depending on where they live and the type of species. Dabbling ducks eat insects and aquatic plants. Diving ducks would rather eat crustaceans and fish.
And the foods that a pet duck eats will likely differ from the natural diet of other ducks of the same species. You can give duck food to domesticated ducks, but ensure that it is not too wet. Moist feed can produce toxins and mold that are harmful to a duck's health. The feed will also lose some of its nutritional value.
If you cannot find duck feed, opt for chicken feed. Also make sure that ducks always have water to drink. While pet ducks will do best with duck feed, things like frozen peas, uncooked oats and mealworms will not hurt them.
You Still Shouldn't Feed Wild Ducks
Wild ducks are omnivorous birds that eat aquatic vegetation, fish eggs and aquatic insects. Even if you are cognizant about what you feed ducks, this behavior can hurt them.
When ducks do not have to put too much effort into getting their food, they will lay more eggs. This overcrowding will make it harder to find the best foods for them, and it can lead to territorial aggression. It also changes their natural behavior, which can also make them more aggressive with humans.
Original article: What Do Ducks Eat? Why You Shouldn't Feed Ducks Bread
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