Ducks on a diet...

Canal Boat - - News -

A call by the Canal & River Trust to feed health­ier food to ducks has been taken to heart by an­i­mal lovers.

Since the char­ity launched its cam­paign in 2015 there has been a 20 per­cent drop in the num­ber of peo­ple feed­ing bread to ducks.

In 2015, 97 per­cent ad­mit­ted to feed­ing ducks with ei­ther white or brown bread and by 2016 the fig­ure had dropped to 83 per­cent. This year it has fallen even fur­ther to 71 per­cent

Now, the char­ity is again re­mind­ing peo­ple avoid feed­ing bread when visit­ing their favourite waterside lo­ca­tion this spring and swap to health­ier treats such as kale, let­tuce or por­ridge oats.

Peter Birch, Na­tional En­vi­ron­ment man­ager for CRT, said: “Our water­ways are won­der­ful places where peo­ple can spend time to­gether and feed­ing ducks is one of the most pop­u­lar pas­times, en­joyed by peo­ple of all ages. The Canal & River Trust launched this cam­paign be­cause we were con­cerned about the ef­fects of too much bread be­ing thrown into our water­ways which are home to hun­dreds of thou­sands of ducks and other wa­ter­fowl.

“The re­sponse has been as­tound­ing. The pub­lic are help­ing to pro­tect ducks’ habi­tats and are mak­ing a real dif­fer­ence.” Peo­ple are swap­ping to health­ier treats with a rise in the pop­u­la­tion opt­ing to feed their feath­ered friends left­over veg­eta­bles and salad in­stead of bread – from ten per­cent in 2015 to 23 per­cent in 2017.

Peter Birch added: “It only takes a few sim­ple changes such as swap­ping bread for healthy food that is closer to a duck’s nat­u­ral diet – like oats, corn or peas.

“If peo­ple avoid go­ing to the same duck­feed­ing hotspots and ex­er­cises por­tion con­trol that also makes a big dif­fer­ence.”

How­ever, it still means nearly three-quar­ters of the pop­u­la­tion are throw­ing their left over bread into canals, rivers, reser­voirs and lakes across the coun­try.

And nearly 40 per­cent are us­ing the worst of­fender – white bread, which can be full of nasty preser­va­tives, salt and sug­ars and can pol­lute wa­ter by caus­ing harm­ful al­gae.

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