We all love to feed the ducks on the Mill Stream, but did you know that bread is harmful to birds? Please help by feeding small amounts of pellets and bird food instead.
Bread is a junk food to birds
The birds will readily eat bread but it has few nutrients for them and can make them ill. It causes obesity making some birds more vulnerable to dog attacks.
It also makes them dependent upon our handouts so they lose their normal natural foraging behaviour and fear of humans.
Too many geese
Large numbers of geese force out other wildlife and eat away the grass and wild flowers leaving bare muddy and unsightly patches. Large numbers are also intimidating to some visitors, especially small children. Some ducks and geese become unnaturally aggressive towards each other and a nuisance to humans.
Uneaten bread and food left on the bank attracts rats. Uneaten bread in the water can cause poisonous blue green algae. And we often see wrappers and carrier bags in the Millstream.
Feeding large amounts of bread, especially to ducklings and goslings, gives them too much protein and too few vitamins. This can cause a condition called angel wing producing deformed bones and sticking out feathers preventing the bird from flying. It can also choke young birds.
No cooked food
Cooked or processed food containing salt or cooked in salt can be poisonous to birds.
Feed small amounts
If you want to feed the birds then please use only small amounts of food. Small quantities of specially formulated floating duck, geese and swan pellets, mixed grain, or uncooked plain porridge oats are best. Harrison & Dunn sell a suitable wildfowl seed mix.
Many people come along to feed the birds so feeding only a small amount gives others a chance to enjoy feeding them as well.
Taken from the leaflet "Happy Healthy Ducks and Geese" by Nene Park Trust, Peterborough