Canal & River Trust

10 things you should know before you feed the ducks…

1. Bread is junk food for ducks

Bread is nothing like a duck’s natural diet. It’s just starchy junk food. It’s much better, and kinder, to feed them things like oats, corn or defrosted frozen peas. Honestly.

10 things you should know before you feed the ducks…

2. Bread creates algae.

Uneaten soggy bread in canals and rivers causes a build-up of bad nutrients, which can encourage algae growth and spread disease. It also attracts less cuddly creatures like rats.

3. Bread damages ducks’ homes.

It’s estimated that 6 million loaves of bread are thrown into our rivers and canals every year – that’s the equivalent of 20 double-decker bus loads a month! All the uneaten bread can hang around, polluting the waterway and destroying natural habitats.

4. Bread clogs up our waterways.

People tend to head to the same places to feed ducks, and the uneaten bread at popular sites can have a big impact on the flow of the river and habitats of other water-loving wildlife.

5. Bread makes lots of poo.

Really. Ducks are, of course, attracted to areas where people come to feed them – this leads to big crowds and excessive amounts of bird poo. Which, in turn, means slippery and smelly towpaths, poorer water quality and harmful algae. Enough said.

6. Bread stresses ducks out.

Overcrowding at popular feeding places can be really stressful for all the birds attracted by your starchy treats. And you can imagine what eating in a big flapping crowd can do to your digestion…

7. Bread is bad for babies.

In areas where ducks are fed regularly, the ducklings won’t receive enough nutrition to develop properly. And being offered dinner on a plate means they won’t learn to forage for food as easily.

8. Stale bread is good to eat.

If you’re concerned that changing your duck-feeding habits is going to lead to a bread-bin full of stale crusts, fear not. There are lots of tasty dishes that positively demand bread past its best-before date. Bread-and-butter pudding is a classic, but it’s also perfect as a binding agent for meatballs and sausages, a topping for macaroni cheese or a stuffing for pies. Google it.

9. Duck quacks don’t echo.

Actually, they do – and to be honest, it’s got nothing to do with bread.

10. We all do it…

Last year, 12 million people admitted to feeding bread to ducks. If we all committed to turning our stale bread into delicious puddings and chose alternative treats for our feathered friends, we could keep both them and our precious waterways healthy.

Click here for your FREE Waterways Quests guide today. It’s packed with great ideas for family waterside activities and a good-food guide for ducks – plus your very own Quack Snacks bag to fill with healthy, nutritious dinner for the ducks.