Did you know that in medieval times, bread was used as an absorbent plates and was mostly regarded as food for the poor or less privileged? Then, it was called a different name “Trencher”. Nowadays, bread is a very popular meal around the world now, with millions of people ingesting it every single day with different makes and mix of bread being invented every single day.
With bread being a staple meal which is available all around the year, it has definitely come up in our thoughts multiple times on whether we can feed our animals with bread and its other derivatives.
Questions like can I feed my dogs bread, can I feed my cat bread, can I feed my goat my bread? But today, we will be answering the question, Can Ducks eat Bread.
Can Ducks Eat Bread?
No, ducks should not be fed with bread. With the price of feeds for animals in this present time, it makes sense that the average person may be tempted to feed their ducks some bread to reduce certain costs and expenses but feeding your bread will do more harm than good to their body system.
Should I be feeding my ducks Bread?
It’s a fairly normal sight to see people feed bread crumbs to ducks at the parks and ponds, in fact bread is the go-to meal for ducks, from people walking in parks and enjoying the simple ambience of nature.
While we may have thought that feeding ducks some bread is a good way of being environmentally conscious and a good way of disposing stale or unused bread crumbs, it is potentially dangerous to ducks and even other wildlife in general.
Some critics argue that feeding ducks some bread is not all that but should be done in moderation but the general consensus is that bread is toxic to the health and physical well-being of these precious animals.
Why is Bread Bad for Ducks?
While bread and derivatives like donuts, rolls, cereals, crisps, crackers and popcorns serve as a great source of carbohydrate for humans, it should be noted that bread is the equivalent of junk foods to ducks and other birds. Even if bread is given in moderation, it is difficult to judge the exact food portion that becomes a hazard to the bird.
Ducks need a varied and balanced diet that would ensure they get the adequate and required nutritional basis. Bread may offer many calories but it has very few nutrients which are barely beneficial to the duck.
So while, the duck may feel full and seem to have a lot of energy, the nutritional needs of the bird is severely compromised leading to a compromised immune system and other hosts of nutritional deficient problems.
Problems Associated with feeding Ducks Bread
Since bread is the equivalent of junk food to the duck, it makes sense to say that the most obvious problem would be obesity/over fattening. This is particularly dangerous because while they may seem robust and healthy, the nutritional deficiency that occurs as a result of munching on bread is not easily noticed.
Being overweight may also make it difficult for them to fly away from predators that they would otherwise escape from quite easily. Other serious problems associated with feeding ducks with bread includes;
Ducks are natural foragers when it comes to hunting for their own meal and this plays a role in keeping their weights in check. Ducks who are fed with bread, are almost always full and develop a bad habit of being lazy which leads to over-weight in ducks and obesity.
Calories gotten from breads give ducks an obscene amount of energy and causes them to mate and lay more eggs and the pond or lake will quickly become overcrowded and messy.
Overcrowding may also lead to territorial aggression in ducks where foraging would allow for a widely scattered source of food.
Spread of Disease
As a result of over-crowding and the ducks being packed densely, diseases are easily spread among the birds. A carbohydrate rich diet leads to increase in droppings and defeacation, and bird feces easily harbors bacteria responsible for numerous diseases and infections including avian botulism.
Such is the nightmare of a bird breeder, taking into account the costs of raising and managing the bird.
Feeding ducks with bread may spur other negative behaviors in the birds’ behavior. In the sense that, adult ducks fed with bread slowly become lazy as a result of them being overweight and they may fail to give their ducklings sufficient education in foraging leaving the duckling to the mercy of nature itself and risking starvation.
They may also be reluctant to leave a reliable source of food regardless of weather changes such as winter, summer, autumn, hence affecting their migratory pattern.
In weathers such as winter, it may prove detrimental to the health of the ducks because during the cold season, the temperature falls so low and they may not have access to humans feeding them bread.
Rotting foods left over by both humans and ducks may invite disease ridden animals into the territory of the ducks who have no previous protection from these infections.
Animals like raccoons, rats, mice and insects harbor additional diseases that can be dangerous to humans and threatening to other wildlife.
Better Foods to Feed Ducks instead of Bread
There are many healthier alternatives to feed ducks instead of the nutritional deficient bread that most are inclined to feed to ducks. Since ducks require a variety of foods to provide for their nutritional needs, the following food are good to be included in their diets;
- Corn (preferably fresh, but can be canned or frozen)
- Oats, barley, bird seed and other grains (may be rolled or instant)
- Grapes ( should be cut in half to avoid choking hazards)
- Duck food pellets (may be gotten from farm supply stores)
While bread is advised to be avoided, it may be given as an occasional treat every now and then but sparingly to avoid dependence and nutritional deficient meals.