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Is Bread Bad For Birds?

Feed the Birds . . . but Not White Bread!

I remember going to ponds and lakes near my hometown with a bag of bread in one hand and my mom gripping the other. We were going to feed the ducks our leftover stale bread, a common practice back in the day. But a study suggests that feeding the ducks your bread may not be helping them stay as healthy as we once thought.

While white bread does its job of filling up the tummies of the ducks, geese, swans, and other birds seen around lakes, it doesn't do a good job of giving them any nutritional assistance. Birds quickly get full from the bread, so they can't eat anything else that may contain the nutritional value they need to breed and raise their young. Val Osborne, head of wildlife inquiries at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in the UK, said: "There are many other household foods that would be much better for them."

It's much better to feed the ducks alternatives like oats, potatoes, breakfast cereal, and overripe strawberries in place of the traditional slice of bread. It's a great practice to put into place when we want to give our own children the memories of trekking out to feed birds at the lake.

— Additional reporting by Hedy Phillips
Image Source: Flickr user dakiny
Join The Conversation
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 9 years
It makes me so sad when I see people feeding the birds at the lake--especially when they're feeding them bread. It's detrimental to them for more reasons listed here. Cracked corn and sunflower seeds are better than bread, but it's really not in THEIR best interest to feed them at all.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
This is good to know since I have plans on doing this soon. I guess I'll be feeding them some cheerios. I'm curious though, how would you feed them potatoes??
Anabellatc Anabellatc 9 years
I always feed bread to the ducks in my backyard, especially when my niece&nephew come over...i guess i'll start looking for alternatives!
ElleJay ElleJay 9 years
we used to do stale popcorn
ualili ualili 9 years
This is great to know. I just installed a new bird feeder in the backyard and when I use up all the wild bird feed I bought its good to know what I can use as feed out of my own kitchen.
lizs lizs 9 years
The oats are a good idea...oatmeal is really cheap and easy to keep around! We always used to bring stale bread when I was young, so it's good to know what the alternatives are.
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
aww I used to love feeding the birds. We had a park near our house that we always went to. And across the street was a lot with 2 horses on it, I would bring them carrots every day!
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