Feeding bread to ducks down at the local pond is a fond pastime for many of us. Whilst we thought we were giving the birds a treat, we are actually causing more harm than good to birds and the environment. Let’s look at why bread is bad for ducks and swans, and what you can do to help.
Why is bread bad?
Eating bread can cause swans and ducks to develop a condition called Angel Wing. Due to the high amounts of starch found in bread, making their feathers to grow too quickly causing their wings to twist and drop open, sadly loosing their ability to fly. Uneaten bread also develops bacteria and can attract rats and other vermin.
According to Swan Lifeline, 2018 has so far seen a reduced amount of birds dying from breed-related illnesses and we have the ability to continue this.
Feeding bread and other artificial food to waterfowl can cause a deformity called Angel Wing. Too much calorific bread causes birds feathers to grow too quickly and this excess weight causes their wings to twist and drop open, meaning they can no longer fly. This often results in wing amputation, so many birds must be re-located to private lakes or rescue centres where they won’t face any danger from predators such as foxes. Bread also causes a deficiency of vitamin E which can be detrimental to bone growth.
An excess of human food in the water can cause an illness called Botulism. This occurs when harmful bacteria grows on discarded food. Botulism is fatal for swans unless they are found and treated within five hours of collapse. The treatment is intensive and can take many months before recovery.
Bread doesn’t remain accessible on the surface of the water, as it sinks very quickly. Sinking bread rots at the bottom of rivers and lakes, causing harmful changes to the natural ecosystem. It leads to algae growth, spreads disease and attracts pests such as rats to rivers.
Decomposing bread can also become a home for a mould called Aspergillus, which can get into the lungs of ducks and can prove fatal in some cases. Aspergillosis treatment requires long-term antifungal therapy, often required for a minimum of 8 weeks.
Don’t feed, do feed!
There are many healthy alternatives that you can take down to your local lake, including sweetcorn, frozen peas and lettuce.
*Always make sure you do not feed in excess!
How can you help?
WildThings have specially developed Swan & Duck Food to ensure a nutritious and wholesome alternative to bread which:
- • Provides essential vitamins & minerals
- • Floats on the water surface
- • Remains accessible to the birds for longer
- • An environmentally friendly alternative
- • Is used by Swan Lifeline
- • Very tasty for the birds!
Now you can help protect our wildlife!
WildThings and Swan Lifeline are working together to protect our wildlife from the inside out. By feeding break to swans & ducks, we are unknowingly harming their health and the surrounding environment.
WildThings have developed a range of nutritious feeds that contain all the vitamins and minerals our wildfowl need, protecting the future of our wildlife and ecosystem for generations to come. To read more about their Better than Bread campaign and for a special Pets Corner offer click here.
WildThings also make nutritious food for Badgers & Foxes and Hedgehogs. To see the full WildThings range at Pets Corner click here.