Here’s a short summary of common advice and sense to help you feed wild ducks responsibly.
Stay safe around water
Yes, you do already know this – but let’s not take even the apparently tranquil setting of a pond in your local park for granted. Where there’s water, there’s danger. Stay a safe distance from the water’s edge and keep young duck feeders under supervision at all times.
Feed only where it’s permitted
Take a good look around for any signs about the ducks or other wildfowl and follow what they say. You’re most likely to find signs asking you to not feed bread to the ducks, but you weren’t going to do that anyway….or at least, not anymore!
Feed the right foods – never bread!
Bread, chips, crisps, confectionery and other such junk food is bad for ducks. Instead the Canal & River Trust recommend sweetcorn (tinned, frozen or fresh), lettuce (ripped up into small pieces), peas (fresh, or frozen – and defrosted first!), oats, seeds (bird seed, or seeds from the healthy foods section of your supermarket) or rice (leftover cooked rice).
If there are already lots of people feeding the ducks in a particular spot, move on to find a spot where there are other ducks.
Don’t overfeed – think “Quack Snacks” not feathered feast!
Offer small portions so that you don’t overfeed the ducks – what they don’t eat can pollute the water and you don’t want to ruin their appetite for natural foraging. Also, bear in mind that at popular duck feeding spots, they could be offered lots of food throughout the day. So just offer a small quack snack – and if you want to keep feeding the ducks, just move on and find some more ducks.
Scatter food over the water
Some suggest that it’s not good to encourage ducks onto land to feed – as it could put them at risk of predators or over inquisitive dogs. You will however often find them sat there themselves anyway. However, if nothing else, if you scatter your quack snacks over the water – it may discourage boisterous swans and geese from getting out of the water and trying to help themselves direct from your quack snacks bag! Well, hopefully so.
Dispose of your litter carefully
Yes, you do already know this too – but please, please, please use any bins or take your litter home with you. Plus perhaps any you see lying around if it’s safe to retrieve it?