Is there any simpler pleasure than walking down to a near lake or pond and feeding the ducks? They are so appreciative and beyond lovable. Feeding the ducks is a tradition that dates back further than any of our own lives. My mother told me stories of tossing bread to the waterfowl as a little girl. Having spent most of my early life enjoying this activity, I never imagined I could be causing harm to my water-bound friends.
Your feeding site may just be a leisure spot for you but for your duck friends, these sites are grounds of competition. When tossing food onto the ground, these ducks will race and even squabble a bit over the scraps. The smaller and younger ducks are typically unable to compete for these food sources. This can lead to malnutrition in the ducks who are unable to compete with their larger brethren.
Despite the dangers, I believe duck feeding can be done safely if simple instructions are followed.
1) Do Not Feed the Ducks Bread! Bread does not contain the nutrients our water-bound friends need. While they seem to love it, they gain almost nothing from eating the grains. Popcorn, chips, crackers and other junk foods are also bad for our friends.
2) Give them Nutritious Treats. Ducks enjoy grapes. Grapes are just as good for the ducks as they are for human beings. Ensure you cut the grapes in half first, to avoid strangling our friends. Waterfowl also enjoy peeled lettuce and other greens. I’ve found great success in feeding them cabbage. The ducks enjoy these treats and they will not cause the health issues that are caused by breads and junk foods.
3) Ensure All of The Ducks Get Fed. As stated earlier, the smaller ducks are unable to compete for the scraps given. To avoid starving the young ducks, toss some of the food further away and as the larger ducks flock to it, drop more close to the smaller ones. This ensures that all of the ducks are fed without competition for the young.
4) Do Not Feed Them Often. While it can be fun to feed our water-bound friends, ducks are wild animals. They must learn to survive on their own. Overfeeding the ducks will cause them to rely on you for food and may delay or even eliminate migration. I find that feeding them no more than bi-weekly allows them to seek their own food and not grow a dependence on me.
Feeding the ducks can be fun and should be enjoyed. By following these simple rules, you can feed our water-bound friends without causing them harm. While many believe that avoiding feeding them entirely is best, I think that there is a right and a wrong way to do everything and feeding our water-bound friends is no different. Please take this advice into consideration if you plan on feeding local ducks anytime soon.