04:20PM, Tuesday 17 March 2015
A call for healthy treats to be fed to ducks instead of bread has been made by the Canal and River Trust.
The trust is asking people to consider dishing up a varied diet including frozen peas, oats, corn and exercise ‘portion control’ when feeding their feathered friends.
Every year, six million loaves of bread are thrown into canals and rivers in England and Wales, potentially polluting the water and damaging hundreds of thousands of ducks' homes.
Uneaten soggy bread can cause a build-up of bad nutrients and lead to greater algae growth, spread disease and encourage pests such as rats.
Richard Bennett, environment manager for the Canal & River Trust, said: “Please come and feed the ducks but do it sensibly so your children and future generations can enjoy it too.
"The charity is asking the public to make a few simple changes. Bread’s not great for a duck’s health as it’s nothing like their natural diet so don’t overfeed them with large quantities of it.
"Try to vary what you give them and swap it for healthier more natural treats like oats, corn, or defrosted frozen peas. And exercise portion control!"
Throwing bread into a canal or river can create overcrowding of bird populations and too many ducks or waterfowl in one place can stress the birds and lead to their homes being damaged.
He added: “Don’t follow the crowds, spread the love, and visit a new family of ducks to prevent large quantities of the starchy duck ‘junk food’ from clogging up the same places and potentially damaging the environment.”
Text DUCKS to 70060 for a free booklet from the charity and a pouch to keep food for the ducks in.
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