Reporting by Cara Bills

Feeding ducks ‘junk food bread’ can cause algae, disease and rats, according to the Canal & River Trust. Give them frozen peas, lettuce or grapes cut in half instead.

Most of us will remember the seemingly innocent family pastime of tossing leftover bits of bread at our local riverbank. But were we actually doing more harm than good?

A report from The Canal & River Trust has shown that bread can actually be pretty crummy* for a duck’s health. And to make matters worse, the soggy remnants of the loaves that we throw into the river encourage all kinds of disease, algae and vermin to grow in the water. Yuck!

The charity, which looks after the maintenance of British waterways, is warning against tossing bread at ducks as it can have such a damaging effect on their health, in some cases even resulting in death.

The trust is now promoting ‘healthier alternatives’ that are more fitting to their natural diet, such as frozen peas, lettuce or grapes cut in half.Studies have shown that ducklings are affected especially badly.

Ducklings fed on bread are more likely to grow to be malnourished, as it discourages them from foraging for themselves.

So let’s look after our feathered friends and give them something that will nourish them, rather than damage their health.

After all, we’re not all that dissimilar to ducks. Who else is trying a pre Christmas low carb diet…


Just some ducklings, having a lovely time on a duckling slide

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