I’m not a whole-hearted fan of feeding wildlife, including ducks, as it can impact heavily on our native fauna and their habitats. If done the right way, however, there are benefits to feeding animals – especially for young children who want to connect with nature.
Activities like feeding ducks creates an important bond between a child and the natural world that stays with them long after the activity is over. Many people have fond memories of feeding ducks at their local pond as kids; it really is a wonderful and exciting opportunity for children.
So, let’s find a safe way to feed the ducks, shall we?
Why you shouldn’t feed ducks bread
Watching the poor little birds at our local park being fed copious amounts of bread makes me cringe.
Even though it’s a great experience for children, it makes the the ducks quite ill. They can’t receive all their nutritional needs from bread alone, and in parks where that’s their main source of food, it can cause abnormalities and shorter lifespans.
In addition to this, ducklings growing up in this environment won’t learn to forage for food naturally. Their growth and development can suffer dramatically.
Easy wild duck food alternatives
Try feeding your ducks:
- Chopped grapes
- Chopped apple
- Grated Carrot
After our family tried these alternatives, I found that the ducks just weren’t interested. They had developed an addiction to white bread that floated delicately on top the water.
So, I set out to develop a nutritious alternative to bread that wild ducks would eat!
Healthy Wild Duck Food Recipe
This recipe was created with advice from a zookeeper.
- 1 cup Brown Rice
- Greens (I used broccoli, carrot and apple)
- 2 hard-boiled eggs (with shells)
- 2 tablespoons of wholemeal flour
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
- Cook the rice, either in a rice cooker or as per the instructions on the back of the packet.
- Finely chop the broccoli.
- Grate carrot and apple.
- Smash eggs and ensure they are crushed and/or chopped well. The egg shells need to be very small.
- Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
- Roll the mixture into small marble-sized balls and place onto an oven-proof tray.
- Cook in the oven for 10-13 minutes.
The mixture should come out soft and a little crumbly but still hold its shape.
Feeding wildlife ducks
It’s important to never overfeed ducks. Your meal should be given in small portions. Read more about the positives and negatives of feeding wildlife.
This recipe makes enough for three visits to feed the ducks. A nutritional snack containing carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, calcium and protein – all the things a growing native duck needs. It looks good enough to eat, doesn’t it?!
No, don’t include BBQ sauce. It was just for the photo!
Here are the results!
Help spread the word about healthy wild duck food alternatives and encourage others to stop feeding bread to ducks.