Feeding bread to ducks is a tradition that most people have partaken in at some point in their lives. But it’s important to know that this attempt at a charitable act is actually bad for the health of ducks. Read on to find out why bread harms ducks and what you can feed them instead.

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The Spruce

Bread causes multiple problems for ducks. For one, it has very little nutritional value. So when people feed ducks all of the bread they can eat, the ducks stop foraging for their normal diet. This can leave them unhealthy and susceptible to illnesses.

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News.com.au

One potentially devastating condition that ducks and geese can develop after eating too much bread is called angel wing or airplane wing. Birds get this syndrome when they have a diet high in carbohydrates and protein and low in vitamin E, calcium, and manganese. In other words, ducks and geese that eat a large amount of bread are particularly susceptible to this syndrome.

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Wikipedia

Angel wing causes the last joint on a duck or goose’s wing to be twisted. The syndrome prevents the bird from flying and is incurable. This condition generally leads to the death of the duck or goose because they can no longer fly.

Bread can be especially hard on ducklings. Because they are still growing, they need nutritionally beneficial foods such as plants. These are easy for a duck to obtain if they aren’t distracted by an endless supply of bread thrown to them.

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Popular Science

Besides the detrimental effects on the ducks’ health, bread is simply bad for waterways. An excess of bread in ponds can cause algal blooms and mold, which attract rats and other vermin to the area.

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NEEF

If you’re looking for something more beneficial for ducks, try lettuces and other greens. Corn, peas, and oats are also fine for ducks and geese. Other foods that are no good for ducks include onions, nuts, chocolate, and popcorn.

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Flickr

In general, it’s best to remember that ducks are wild animals that can take care of themselves. Overloading their ponds with food can unbalance the natural state of the water and make ducks reliant on human help. 

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MNN