We try to discourage people from feeding ducks and waterfowl and recommend finding a bench or somewhere to sit and watch and enjoy them. We also realise that much pleasure is gained by feeding them, so please remember a few things.
If you choose to feed ducks, it is advisable to know what to feed them and where. To keep healthy, ducks and their ducklings require a nutritious and varied diet. Ducks are omnivorous, and feeding the incorrect foods can harm them and the environment in which they live.
You are not the only one keen to feed and interact with the ducks, so some tips:
● First, look for signs to make sure you can feed the birds
● No bread!! It has no nutritional value, is unhealthy and can pollute waterways
● Food should always be fresh. Our view is if you won’t eat it, don’t expect the birds to
● Take small amounts of food
● Only visit with food occasionally
● Only feed out the food while it is being eaten – leftovers will rot, become unhealthy and encourage pests, i.e. rats
● Feed on the grass, away from the water’s edge – uneaten food in the water will pollute the pond
● If other people are feeding the ducks, save your food for another visit. Too much food is unhealthy, especially the wrong food (just as it is for people), and you don’t want food leftovers to rot or encourage rats
● Make sure the size of food you are feeding out is ‘duck size’. They do not have teeth and do not chew their food
● Remember, some waterfowl become used to being fed; they can also come to expect it. They can also become aggressive if they feel they are missing out – take care!
● Keep pets under control – always!
● Don’t allow children to disturb, chase or touch the ducks or ducklings – it can be frightening for the birds, and they could injure themselves
● If there are ducklings in the water without their mother, step well away from the water’s edge and allow them the opportunity to get out. They will get cold if they stay there too long
● Make sure what you brought with you goes home with you and is disposed of properly
What is good for ducks
o Maise – kibbled (cracked)
o Poultry pellets
o Cooked rice
o Peas and corn (defrosted)
o Finely shredded greens, e.g. spinach
o Cat biscuits (soaked and softened in water)
Remember, variety is vital – it is essential for us humans, so it would be necessary for our feathered friends.
Article Written by
Wild Bird Care Charitable Trust/ Learn Bird Care Ltd