By Janet Vargas - Owner of this Website
Have you ever had the pleasure of watching Ducks in a Park with a Lake or by a Riverside somewhere? They are friendly little creatures. And they look so Cute, the way they walk with their colorful little web-feet - especially when they congregate close to your feet when you're feeding them.
I've had this experience in a few places through the years (3 Riversides and 3 Parks with artificial Lakes in total). They're such peaceful and happy creatures, and quite friendly, when they get to know you.
There's some things we need to know about Feeding them. And I hope for my little Friend's sake that everyone reads this because in a little Park with a small lake nearby, where I go to have some quiet Nature relaxation, many visitors including myself, like to Feed the Ducks. They welcome the free food that comes their way and get quite excited - pecking and nibbling away:) It's a really nice experience. They're such happy little chappys.
Something came to my attention 5-6 years ago, that Feeding Ducks Bread is actually Not Good for them, and most of the people who feed ducks in the Parks etc give them bread. There are reasons for that and I found out more about it today when further researching Duck Food.
There will be Positives in this Post - Stay with Me
Because I've had experience with Natural Health Research for many years (part-time independent) I am aware that Most Breads sold in Bakeries and Shopping Centres are not good for us, much less our little-feathered-friends. Modern Wheat is far from the Natural and Wholesome Staple it was generations ago.
It has been hybridized so many times (tampered by man) for maximum yields and making light fluffy loaves of bread, it does not resemble the Original Wheat Grains. The Gluten content is a lot more than it should be and the type of Gluten in Modern Wheat is actually foreign to our body, to digest and metabolize correctly. It's bad for our health - not just for Celiacs. Imagine how unsuitable it is for these little creatures?
I used to break one small slice of Seed and Grain Bread into tiny little pieces for them and scatter it well, thinking that would be a better idea than two or three slices. Mind you, I have seen some people throw whole slices of very cheap bread into the water without even breaking it up, and that has alarmed me.
I went shopping, to find some Duck Food - something right for them - and have been feeding them Bird Seeds in preference to Bread, these 5-6 years, and 2 years ago, someone in one of the Parks told me I could buy Duck Pellets from a Pet Store or Fodder Store not far away, for a reasonable price. So I have been combining Wild Bird Seeds with Duck Pellets (that specifically looks after their nutritional needs) since I met that person.
Since I have been doing this, I have come across some other visitors to 2 different Parks, who feed them Seeds too, instead of Bread, and a few other people who have discovered the Duck Pellets. On a few occasions, I have placed some in a child's hand for their parents who were happy to receive them., and everyone is happy:)
I learnt some things about Ducks Nutrition in my Research today. It's all about Balance: they need a certain amount of Vitamins and Minerals and Protein with a small amount of Fibre and Fat (naturally occurring) in the specialized Duck Pellets, and certain Seeds on occasions.
I also found out the Duck Pellets are much better for them than Bird Seeds because they have more Protein in them and Ducks need more Protein than Birds. But not in excess of-course.
I also read that a certain amount of Bird Seeds are good for their Immune Systems, but an Excess of Bird Seed is not good for their Health.
One article said that Bird Seeds is one of their Favorites - they like them a lot and don't have the sense to stop if you give them too much. Kind of like us sometimes:)
I find they do Favor the Duck Pellets when I give them to them. And they also favor Rolled Oats as well. Some folk tell me they love the Oats, and I have seen them with a small snack-size snap-lock bag of the Rolled Oats, throwing some from their hand.
New Discovery: I just found out 15mins ago that we should pour boiling water over the Rolled Oats and Cool them down before giving them to our Little Friends. It releases more Nutrients in them that benefit their Health.
Caution here: when we give Dry Oats to Ducks, they can build up in their stomach and make them struggle with digestion afterwards.
Nifty This: when we cover the Rolled Oats with boiling water for 2-3 minutes and pour the water off when they Cool, we still have the convenience of placing them in the little zip-lock snack bag or small container to take to the Park with us. And this simple process takes only the same amount of time as making a Cup of Tea, hey?
AVOID Quaker Oats. They have Sugar added to them which is bad for Ducks. When shopping for the Rolled Oats, go for the plain basic packet there which has 0% Sugar, and NO additives. Check the Label to make Sure! Wish they wouldn't mess with Our Food, hey? And Ducks are not used to all the insults to their Digestive System we have grown accustomed to over the years.
All that said, OATS are Beneficial to Ducks (when the advice above is taken)
They have Protein and Minerals they need, plus Fibre and Antioxidants that agrees with their system when taken correctly - it helps the Ducks build stronger muscles thanks to the high protein level.
How Much Can We Give Them?
A small amount In Moderation, to avoid Excess Fibre.
Oats are nutritious and good for the duck’s health. As long as you are feeding them with oats occasionally and in a controlled manner, you are good to go.
This is also a good way to teach children to "Care for Creatures" like we learn to "Care for Kids"
Bye the way, I also heard a week ago that Ducks like Lettuce and one of the Parks in a different suburb that does not allow people to Feed the Ducks (because of bread) makes an exception for Lettuce. How good is that?
I tried some small bits of Lettuce - I cut into squares - this week with some Seeds. I tried some on it's own first and they favored it. They also like a small amount of Sweetcorn - from the freezer, thawed out first and be sparing. That should only be an occasional treat.
A word of Caution here: please don't give Ducks spinach leaves or beetroot leaves, because they have Oxalic Acid in them which is really bad for them.
If You Don't Believe Me About Feeding Bread To The Ducks
Our local Park with a nice Artificial Lake and Fountain for the Ducks had to undergo a Major Clean-up last New Year, due to people's ignorance, persisting with whole slices of stale bread being thrown into the water.
The Park Caretakers had to pump out the entire water, leaving only mud for the Ducks to waddle on (temporary) in order to restore the Lake to it's former state with a Fresh supply of Water. And also replacing a small discreet Notice with a better one people have to take notice of.
Is it fair that those dear little Creatures had to have "Their Home" disturbed because of people's selfishness? I don't think so, and I have been feeding our little friends with Birds Seeds and Duck Pellets, with occasional Rolled Oats for 5-6 years now. Some other visitors there tell me they are feeding those to the Ducks, and they don't like giving them Bread either.
So a lot of people are getting to know these things because it's all over the Internet…….."Don't feed the Ducks with Bread. It's Bad for them" and they show you a list of what you can feed them.
Personally, I am not feeding them liberally with Bird Seeds anymore after what I learnt today.
I've decided to change the ratio and give them more Duck Pellets than Bird Seeds. Regular visits to the Park with those, and some Lettuce some days, may perhaps help to off-set bread that is being fed to them by some visitors. So I am kind of adopting them. Just between you and me:)
Good Tips: If you can only find Duck Pellets in 15 - 18 Kilo bags (not always) try buying a 5 Kilo Bag of Peckish Performance Layer Pellets from PetBarn only $12.00. I have been advised, they are a very close match to Ducks Pellets. Another option is Layer Pellets Vella Stock feeds Made 5kg on EBay Australia $8.95 + $9.95 postage. That is from iPetStore. I have had some experience with PetBarn and I made a recent purchase from iPetStore.
Please do remember to keep your Bird Seeds and Duck Pellets or Layer Pellets
dry in an airtight container in a cool or shady place away from heat and sunlight, so they keep well and fresh. A 5 Kilo bag of each lasts me a very long time.
And the Key in whatever we Feed them: Bird Seed, Rolled Oats, Duck Pellets and Lettuce is MODERATION hey? Placing their Needs before ours.