Why feeding ducks bread is slowly ruining New Zealand's lakes

Publish Date
Wednesday, 22 March 2017, 2:10PM
Photo / Getty

Photo / Getty

Stopping by the supermarket, grabbing a cheap loaf of bread, and feeding the ducks at your local river/lake is a part time that almost every single New Zealander remembers fondly, but you may actually be doing more bad than good.

This news has come out of the pleasant little town of Cambridge in the Waikato, where there has been a sign erected that instructs against feeding the birds bread due to the environmental damage. 

There are quite a few reasons not to use bread, but the main one is to stop the algae that the rotting bread causes from forming on top of the water. This algae then start smelling and the lake isn't as pleasant as it once was.

Other reasons include the fact that the duck's digestive system can't handle the gooey texture of the bread once it touches the water.

Animal welfare sites suggest any of the following alternatives:

 - Cracked corn
 - Wheat, barley or similar grains
 - Oats (uncooked; rolled or quick)
 - Rice (cooked or uncooked)
 - Milo seed
 - Birdseed (any type or mix)
 - Grapes (cut in half or quartered if very large)
 - Nut hearts or pieces (any type but without salt or flavoring)
 - Frozen peas or corn (defrosted, no need to cook)
 - Earthworms
 - Mealworms (fresh or dried)
 - Chopped lettuce or other greens or salad mixes
 - Vegetable trimmings or peels (chopped)