Newsbeat

Feeding ducks bread: Should you do it?

Duck and feeding sign Image copyright Getty Images / Twitter

There was a time when streets across the UK would echo with the clang of bread-bins slamming shut of a weekend.

And as children, there was no greater thrill than being walked - stale crust from your nan's house in hand - down to the local pond and feeding the ducks.

But that all changed when the public was told that feeding bread to ducks was bad for them.

So why, in 2019, is a photo like this being shared on social media, saying carbs are back on the duck menu?

Radio 1 Newsbeat got in touch with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds to try and get to the bottom of this.

"Just like us, birds need a varied diet to stay healthy," a spokesperson for the RSPB tells us in a statement.

"Although ducks and swans can digest all types of bread, too much can leave them feeling full without giving them all of the important vitamins, minerals and nutrients they need."

The RSPB did not know where the poster shared online was put up, or which organisation was behind the campaign.

But like health-conscious humans, it's advised that if you must feed ducks with bread, then you use something other than leftovers from a cheap white loaf.

RSPB England's Twitter account describes granary bread with seeds as "marginally healthier" than white bread, in advice it gave to a concerned wildfowl-feeder.

"Although bread isn't harmful, our advice is to only feed small amounts to birds. We encourage people to use things like sweetcorn, porridge oats and defrosted frozen peas as well as bird seed," adds the RSPB.

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Media captionA Berkshire charity says that misinformation has confused the public.

In 2018, a swan charity told the BBC that many swans in the UK are underweight and "starving" due to lack of food in British ponds and lakes.

It was reported at the time that campaigns to stop people feeding breads to ducks and swans could be responsible for this, as people may have stopped feeding birds entirely, rather than use other foods from their homes.

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