Do Not Feed The Ducks!

We visited Cahir recently and just between the car park and the castle there’s a lot of geese, ducks and swans. After we had a poke around the castle we walked passed the birds on our way back to the car to see the fluffy goslings.
There was several people there feeding the ducks, they had whole loaves of sliced pans. One kind man offered Tabitha two slices of bread to feed the ducks with. I said “no thank you” to him and explained to Tabitha that feeding the birds bread can make them sick.

There was a man there who overhead me and obviously thought I was depriving my child of an important childhood experience by not letting her feed the ducks (if only he knew) and walked passed me talking loudly to his wife and small child how the ducks were thriving on the bread and that they were going to go straight to the shop to buy another sliced pan to feed the ducks with. That was purely for my benefit because I’m a terrible person (seriously, if only he knew).

We visited Cahir recently and just between the car park and the castle there’s a lot of geese, ducks and swans. After we had a poke around the castle we walked passed the birds on our way back to the car to see the fluffy goslings.
There was several people there feeding the ducks, they had whole loaves of sliced pans. One kind man offered Tabitha two slices of bread to feed the ducks with. I said “no thank you” to him and explained to Tabitha that feeding the birds bread can make them sick.

There was a man there who overhead me and obviously thought I was depriving my child of an important childhood experience by not letting her feed the ducks (if only he knew) and walked passed me talking loudly to his wife and small child how the ducks were thriving on the bread and that they were going to go straight to the shop to buy another sliced pan to feed the ducks with. That was purely for my benefit because I’m a terrible person (seriously, if only he knew).

To put it into context there were several people there with a couple of sliced pans each, thats a lot of bread! I imagine it’s a regular occurrence during the summer. Lots of the bread (whole slices) were floating down the river and getting caught in rocks leading to a build up of unsightly soggy bread. Yuk!

There are several very important reasons not to feed wild birds slice after slice of bread;

  • Causes poor nutrition (empty calories)
  • Leads to over population
  • Spread of diseases (Angel Wing, deformity in birds’ wings that can hamper the way they fly or even stop them altogether)
  • Pollution (affects water quality)
  • Delays migration
  • Promotes unnatural behaviour
  • Weakens the gene pool
  • Attracts rats and other vermin

Water fowl eat:

Worms, plant matter, moths, flies, dragonflies, stems, beetles, seeds, crustaceans, aquatic vegetation.

Okay, so you’re not going to go out and catch flies and moths and things but there are a few things you can feed them that are relatively easy to get your hands on;

  • Cracked corn
  • Wheat, barley or similar grains
  • Oats
  • Rice (cooked or uncooked)
  • Birdseed (any type or mix)
  • Grapes (cut in half)
  • Frozen peas or corn (defrosted, no need to cook)
  • Earthworms
  • Mealworms
  • Chopped lettuce or other greens or salad mixes
  • Chopped vegetable trimmings or peels
  • Duck pellets

There is a sign near the ducks welcoming people to feed them, it’s just a shame that it doesn’t explain with what!

So, the next time you are off to feed the ducks with your kids raid your freezer, fruit bowl and tub of bird seed instead of the bread bin!

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