Animal Services Parks and Recreation Quick Scoops

Reasons why feeding the ducks isn’t all it’s quacked up to be

ducks near body of water

Guys, we don’t care how much you hated the casserole Great Aunt Belinda brought over last night, or the fact that your kids didn’t like your new meatloaf recipe…please don’t go feed it to the ducks! Aside from leftovers (yes, this happens), even feeding the ducks bread and crackers can lead to: ~ them relieving themselves everywhere ~, poor nutrition, overpopulation, unnatural behavior, delayed migration, and the spreading of disease. We know they’re cute, but let’s admire them in other ways (like from afar), rather than with something that makes them sick.  

Harmless Gestures Lead to Harmful Consequences 

For generations feeding ducks has been a pastime shared by many of us who have grown up thinking that this was an environmentally responsible and humane way to dispose of old or stale bread. However, feeding ducks and geese is actually unhealthy and potentially dangerous for the birds. This seemingly generous act, in fact, can be extremely harmful. 

Bread and similar products such as crackers, chips, doughnuts, and popcorn are a great source of carbohydrates but have little nutritional value. In fact, feeding bread is equivalent to feeding your child nothing but candy. Without healthy food and proper nutrition, the ducks and geese will quickly succumb to disease and death. 

The Problems With Feeding Ducks 

Feeding ducks and geese can lead to the following problems as well: 

  1. Duckling malnutrition — in areas where ducks are regularly fed bread the ducklings will not receive adequate nutrition for proper growth and development. 
  1. Overcrowding — Where food is easy to come by, ducks and other waterfowl will lay more eggs and the pond or lake will become overcrowded. This makes it more difficult for the birds to seek out healthier food sources and increases territorial aggression, especially during mating season. It will also cause ducks to cross busy streets in search of food. 
  1. Pollution — What happens to all that bread that is not eaten? It causes algae growths, pollution, and can eventually eradicate fish and other life in the vicinity. 
  1. Diseases — A diet rich in carbohydrates leads to greater fecal production and bird feces easily harbors bacteria responsible for numerous diseases including avian botulism. 
  1. Attraction of pests — Rotting leftover food attracts other unwelcome pests such as rats, mice, and insects. These pests can also harbor additional diseases that can be dangerous to humans. 

Caring For Ducks & Geese 

If you care about ducks and geese, do not feed them. They can live longer, healthier lives by relying on natural food sources such as aquatic plants, seeds, grasses, and insects rather than taking handouts from well-meaning humans. Now that you know, you can help by not feeding the ducks and geese and by educating other duck lovers. 

For more great resources on ducks in Sugar Land, visit:  

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