Hands up who’s ever grabbed a stale loaf and trotted down to the nearest pond or creek to feed the ducks? We do it all the time – it’s great for the kids, right?
Well, my mate Penny over at Wildlife Fun 4 Kids says: STOP! Put down that sliced white and step away from the water. Penny is a Wildlife Education Officer and she know about this stuff. Birds that are fed a whole lot of bread don’t get enough nutrients and this can shorten their lifespan, meanwhile ducklings don’t learn natural behaviour such as foraging, which will affect their growth and development.
Anyone else feeling really guilty right now?
Before you write yourself off as a duck murderer, Penny has developed an alternative to bread so you can still feed the ducks without compromising their wellbeing. Thanks luv!
Wildlife Fun 4 Kids Healthy Duck Food Recipe
- 1 cup Brown Rice
- Greens (I used broccoli, carrot and apple)
- 2 hard-boiled eggs (with shells)
- 2 tablespoons of wholemeal flour
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
- Cook the rice, either in a rice cooker or as per the instructions on the back of the packet.
- Finely chop the broccoli.
- Grate carrot and apple.
- Smash eggs and ensure they are crushed and/or chopped well. The egg shells need to be very small.
- Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
- Roll the mixture into small marble-sized balls and place onto an oven proof tray.
- Cook in the oven for 10-13 minutes. The mixture should come out soft and a little crumbly but still hold its shape.
Penny says it’s important not to overfeed ducks. The recipe above will give you at least three trips to the pond. While you’re there, talk to your kids about why it’s important not to give ducks too much “human food” and why you won’t be giving them bread anymore.
Should you be feeding ducks at all?
The short answer is probably “no”, but as Penny explains in this great post, there are some benefits to feeding wildlife small amounts of food that suits their dietary requirements. Think specialist pellets for kangaroos as opposed to cheeseburgers for possums. If there’s a popular duck-feeding spot near you, you could print out the recipe flyer from Wildlife Fun 4 Kids and stick it up in prominent places.
What do you think? Are you a duck feeder? Will you try Penny’s duck balls?