The Do’s and Don’t’s of Waterfowl Dining Habits
by Melissa LaScaleia
We all love our feathered friends: the ducks, geese, and swans, who with their graceful charms enhance the beauty of the waterways in the Market Common and make any outing to the area that much more pleasurable.
Interacting with wildlife is just plain fun, especially for children and visitors to the area. We love the wildlife, and it’s human instinct to feed those we love. But alas, in the case of our wildlife animals, it can be problematic.
Just as what we eat affects us as humans, it also affects ducks. And some of our familiar duck friends are becoming sick from carbohydrate overload from well-meaning and enthusiastic feeders overzealous in tossing them hunks of bread.
Ducks naturally don’t eat bread-like foods, and this addition to their diet causes a host of problems for the animals and our community.
It creates imbalances in their excretion which breeds disease-causing organisms that can affect pets and people and attract pests and rodents. The improperly digested matter also increases waterway pollution, and over time, causes illness in the ducks.
We want to keep our feathered friends healthy, alive and disease-free, ensuring happiness for them and for us, who so enjoy their company. Please follow the guidelines below if you want to feed the ducks.
Together we can keep the Market Common the beautiful community, and natural waterfowl habitat that it is.
What to Feed the Ducks
Ducks and waterfowl are omnivores, and feed on insects, mollusks, seeds, wild grains and plants that they forage on their own. If you’re inclined to feed them, offer them:
- Fresh or dried corn
- Wheat, barley or other whole grains
- Uncooked oats (rolled or quick)
- Cooked or uncooked rice
- Small grapes
- Unsalted and unflavored nuts
- Pieces of lettuce
- Raw vegetable peels or pieces
Remember to cut or break the food in small pieces, as they can choke on larger grapes or long pieces of lettuce.
Please don’t feed the ducks:
- Moldy, stale, or packaged foods