Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Quit Feeding Ducks From Your Pantry

Phillip Elden

Oregon native and Native Oregon founder Phillip Elden says that ducks should never be fed bread. 
Kids across the country get excited every spring to throw breadcrumbs to their quacking little buddies. However, according to conservationist Phillip Elden, this can have negative consequences on ducks and their environment. 
While no one will dispute the deliciousness of warm toast, bread contains a high level of carbohydrates with very few nutritional elements. As such, when ducks are hand-fed bread more often than nutrient-dense options, their health can suffer. High levels of carbohydrates wreak havoc on avian digestive systems and can cause them to defecate more often. Unfortunately, added levels of stool on the ground can increase localized levels of avian botulism, which can cause death. 

Phillip Elden also says that mold from uneaten bread can trigger widespread lung infections and lead to potentially hazardous algal bloom, which can interrupt the local food chain. 
Instead of bread, Phillip Elden implores goodhearted park visitors to consider the following snacks instead: 
  • Grapes – cut in half 
  • Corn 
  • Fresh or thawed peas 
  • Oats 
  • Birdseed 
  • Duck pellets 
Unfortunately, even when you are feeding ducks healthy snacks, overfeeding can also lead to health issues. As many people are likely tossing food at ducks each day, Phillip Elden recommends sticking with just a handful of treats, and then enjoying the view from afar. 
Ultimately, we are responsible for the health and well-being of the ducks in our communities. Although not a completely domesticated animal, ducks in most suburban and urban areas have learned to rely on people for their next meal. Feed them responsibly, and Phillip Elden says that you may just get to see the next generation thrive at your local duck pond.