People often go to the local lake or park and feeding the ducks. Duck feeders enjoy this activity and like that it brings the ducks closer to them so that they can get a good look. Most people feed ducks bread, but don’t know the harm they are doing. At many parks, there is a constant stream of people feeding bread all day long. They think they’re doing something good by feeding the ducks, but that’s not always the case. I’ve seen a lot of bread just floating there in the water, getting moldy, because even the ducks can’t eat that much bread. Also, excessive amounts of bread are detrimental and shorten the lifespan of those ducks.
Generally, feeding ducks, even domestic ducks, is not a good thing for both them and the environment. Feeding wild ducks can create an unhealthy imbalance in their numbers and feeding dumped domestic ducks encourages more people to abandon their pets. If you still choose to feed, here are a few suggestions to feeding the ducks while keeping them healthy.
First, be sure that you are allowed to feed them. Many parts of the country outlaw feeding birds on the ground or feeding ducks in parks. Some parks have their own rules about feeding. Second, try to feed only the domestic waterfowl, if possible. Domestic waterfowl are at a severe disadvantage and often can’t forage effectively. Dumped domestic ducks are usually large, non-flying ducks that are usually white, black, or a combination of colors. Domestic geese are usually white or gray.
The best thing to feed waterfowl is specially formulated waterfowl food that one can get at a feed store. Chicken scratch (also known as cracked corn), would also be OK in small amounts. Many ducks and geese love romaine lettuce and some ducks like peas and fresh corn. Chopped apples, without the seeds, and chopped strawberries are also popular. The good thing about feeding these foods is that they don’t tend to attract pests like gulls and rats like bread and crackers do.
For ducklings, be aware that they can easily choke, so all food has to be small and easily soaked. Duckling or non-medicated chick crumble usually works best. Generally, it is not good to feed ducklings because most food will attract the attention of gulls which snatch and eat small ducklings. Some lakes have large fish that are also attracted to food left in the water for ducklings and will pull down and drown a duckling instead.
It’s best not to feed the park ducks every day because of the fact that you are probably not the only one that is doing so. It gives the ducks a little time to forage for natural foods.