Stop throwing bread for duck’s sake

Jack Knight's cartoon re advice to feed ducks pea instead of bread.
Jack Knight's cartoon re advice to feed ducks pea instead of bread.

Ducks should be fed with frozen peas lettuce and grapes instead of the traditional bread, a wildlife charity says.

For generations families have thrown their stale bread to the birds, but The Canal and River Trust says it is the equivalent of ‘junk food’ which attracts rats and algae and causes disease.

A spokesman for the Trust said: “ We’re on a mission to improve the health of our wild birds and their habitats so we’re asking everyone who feeds our ducks to consider swapping the usual white bread for something a little healthier.

“To make it easier for you we’ve put together a list of alternative duck snacks. Time to raid your cupboards.”

Grapes: It turns out that ducks are quite partial to a grape or two. You’ll need to cut them up into quarters to make it easier for them to chomp on.

Lettuce: As a nation we’re guilty of throwing away a vast amount of lettuce, especially the bagged variety. Instead of consigning it to the bin, rip it into pieces and treat your local ducks.

Frozen peas and sweetcorn: There’s no need to cook them but make sure you defrost them first!

Oats: Flapjacks, rolled oats and even instant porridge oats will be a huge hit with ducks.

Seeds: Whether you buy bird seed or seeds from the healthy aisle in the supermarket – the ducks will be very grateful for these nutritious nibbles.

Rice: Wild ducks will appreciate a handful of leftover rice from a takeaway. Just remember to keep the crispy duck all to yourself.

Coun Philip Shields, Portfolio Holder for the Environment at Mansfield District Council, said: “We do not want to discourage people from feeding birds at our parks and open spaces.

“We would, however, encourage people to follow advice from wildlife organisations about the type of food best suited to various birds.

“This will help ensure birds get the nutrients they need from a healthy diet and prevent an increase in rats, which feed on scraps of uneaten bread.”