Bread out, veges in for Lagoon’s ducks

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - VIR­GINIA FAL­LON

Porirua’s ducks may soon be en­joy­ing a health­ier diet.

Matt Pol­lock spear­headed the com­mu­nity clean up of Aotea Lagoon and now he has one more re­quest for the city’s res­i­dents - stop throw­ing bread to the lagoon’s ducks.

It’s a two-fold so­lu­tion to keep­ing the lagoon clean. It kept bread out of the wa­ter and en­sured its web-footed res­i­dents were healthy, he said.

‘‘I knew for years that bread was bad for ducks, but you put it in the back of your mind.’’

He ac­knowl­edged it wouldn’t be an easy thing to get an­i­mallov­ing peo­ple to stop feed­ing the birds bread, but hoped res­i­dents would em­brace the idea - for the ducks’ sake.

Too much bread in a duck’s diet could re­sult in con­di­tions like An­gel Wing - where wing joints be­come twisted, he said.

‘‘If peo­ple are made aware of the harm they could be do­ing, I’m sure they’ll stop. No­body wants to crip­ple an an­i­mal.’’

Pol­lock said there was a no­tice­able im­prove­ment in the wa­ter qual­ity at the lagoon after the com­mu­nity clean ups last year and ban­ning bread would help main­tain it.

It was when Pol­lock got ducks of his own that he started think­ing about their diet.

‘‘It opened my eyes as to how to care for them.’’

Welling­ton duck ex­pert Craig Shep­herd said a move away from bread could only be a good thing for Porirua’s ducks.

‘‘Bread is not a com­plete diet and has lit­tle in the way of the nu­tri­tional good­ness that ev­ery an­i­mal needs to grow and to main­tain good body func­tion.

‘‘It is fine as a sup­ple­men­tary diet but at Aotea I sus­pect it would al­most be a com­plete diet and par­tic­u­larly bad for duck­lings, who need so many vi­ta­mins and min­er­als, which bread sim­ply does not have.

‘‘So in re­al­ity a diet that in­cludes bread for duck­lings is harm­ing their growth.’’

Peeled ba­nanas, diced fruit, cooked and diced mixed veg­eta­bles, let­tuce and other green leafed veg­eta­bles were ideal sup­ple­ments for feed­ing to ducks and duck­lings, he said.

Porirua City Coun­cil chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Tamsin Evans said coun­cil was happy to pro­vide signs ask­ing peo­ple to not feed the ducks.

The long-stand­ing duck pond next to Aotea Lagoon would be re­placed by a splash pad, with work due to start in March. Ducks will still have the main lagoon to swim in.

PHOTO: JESS LEE/FAIRFAX NZ

A goose with An­gel Wing Syn­drome - it stops wings from de­vel­op­ing and is caused by poor nutri­tion.

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