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Is it bad to feed ducks bread?

The local ducks at your pond haven't decided to go Gluten Free

They're not on a Low Carb diet for the approaching summer

They're not protesting against always being given the old stale bread

So why is one of the longest park time traditions, and for many of us our first introduction to nature being turned on it's head?

Mallard Duck splashing in a pond

Experts in birds and specifically ducks have concluded that feeding ducks bread is not the good deed and wholesome activity that we have all been led to believe.

Father and child feeding the ducks on the water

There are two main reasons for this

1. Bread, similar to how it's perceived for humans, is not as nutritionally dense as many other options, it's usually processed stodge and mostly unnatural. It can be regarded as 'junk food' for birds as it would be for us.

2. In extreme moderation, a little bit of bread isn't harmful for ducks. But how do you judge the diet of a wild bird? You may be rolling your eyes, thinking 'what a load of nonsense' but while you might take your little one out to feed the ducks bread every so often... how many other families in the local area are also doing the same?

Two white ducks by the water

So, what are the implications of feeding bread to the ducks?

- It's fattening (no surprises there) which can make it harder for ducks to fly away from predators

-Ducklings get used to being handed food, it's easier after all, and do not hone the essential skills of foraging, not to mention that ducklings need a rich diet of plants and insects.

- When too much bread is given to ducks, it isn't eaten. The soggy bread will turn bad produce less than pleasant sights and odours, while also increasing the amount of algae in the pond, throwing off the natural balance of the ecosystem. It really is a snowball effect!

Group of yellow baby ducklings


If you're not convinced.. and we get it! Feeding the ducks is after all an enchanting experience, we'd highly recommend doing these alternatives to bread!

- Grapes cut in half

-Defrosted peas and corn

-Bird seed

-Dressing your little one in this adorable jumper from Boofy.co.uk to show your love for the ducks and responsible approach to feeding them to best protect their health and habitat!


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