We’ve all fed bread to the ducks at the pond, and though it’s likely satisfying to both parties, it is in fact detrimental to the ducks’ health.
Bread (especially white) can lead to “angel wing” among ducks; an incurable disease causing the last joint of their wings to point outward. Since the bread is packed with calories, ducks develop a craving for it and turn to humans to provide it for them. This reliance can lead to duck malnourishment because they begin to desire less of their appropriate diet.
A side effect of “angel wing” is the inability to fly, brought on by a high calorie diet with low Vitamin D and E. If a duck cannot fly, colder climates will cause it to die.
Not only is the bread bad for ducks, it also poses a risk to the waterways. If uneaten, the bread can form poisonous molds and attract harmful pests to the surrounding area.
There are, however, alternatives to feeding ducks bread that don’t pose a risk to their health. So next time you go to the park to spread joy to your local duck population, bring along some frozen peas, grapes cut in half, or chopped lettuce.
(Photo by eskimo_jo via Flickr)