You've done it. I've done it. We've all done it...

Who among us hasn't gone to the State Hospital grounds in Evansville and casually tossed bread crumbs to the geese, thinking we're doing them a favor? Or those spontaneous chip offerings to the ducks chilling at Alcupulco in Newburgh? Seems innocent, doesn't it? I mean, they seem to enjoy it, gobbling up every crumb. Turns out, it's doing more harm than good. Like, permanent damage kind of harm. Who would've thought?

Why Is Feeding Ducks and Geese Bread and Chips Bad?

According to, "Bread, crackers, popcorn and other high carbohydrate foods are like junk food to birds.  Birds filling up on them will not seek out other, nutritious food.  This can cause the birds to become malnourished, contributing to a host of health problems for both adults and babies."

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So, we're handing out snacks like it's a bird buffet, right? But, when our feathered friends get too used to the easy snack life, they start slacking off on their bug and seed hunt. It's like a vicious cycle. This can lead to something called Angel Wing. It's not as celestial as it sounds. When our geese and ducks miss out on their balanced meals and fill up on carb-loaded, sugary treats, their wings can end up all wonky and deformed. Not exactly the kind of makeover they were hoping for, huh?

Get our free mobile app says "It causes the carpal joint (or wrist) on the wing to grow awkwardly, leaving the wing unable to sit flush at the bird’s side. This affects their ability to fly and the growth of their primary flight feathers — making them look more like sticks than feathers."

Angel Wing can be a death sentence for our feathered pals. A bird that is stricken with Angel Wing will likely die since it can't fly, find proper food sources, and will probably be rejected by their flock. Imagine being grounded for life, unable to soar, scavenge, or even fit in with your crew. It's a lonely and tough road for these birds.

Feeding Water Fowl Can Cause Other Issues Too

And hey, it's not just their physical health that takes a hit. Feeding them snacks messes with their behavior too. Suddenly, they're like grisly bears with beaks. Aggression and territorial behaviors become the new norm.

Plus, let's talk poop. With all those extra carbs, their bathroom breaks hit the fast-forward button, leaving behind a messy, bacteria-filled scene which leads to disease among the birds, people and animals that walk through it. Not exactly what we had in mind for our serene outdoor spots, right?

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And, by playing the snack-provider role, we're inadvertently turning them into fearless city slickers. Sure, it sounds cute, but it's a recipe for disaster. Birds that lose their fear of humans and the human world are more prone to accidents.


I Can't Stand It - I MUST Feed the Ducks/Geese

I get it. It's fun. If you absolutely must feed the fowl, take these treats along instead.

The Canal and River Trust recommends these foods for wild ducks:

  • Sweetcorn, tinned, fresh or frozen (defrosted first)
  • Lettuce, ripped up
  • Frozen peas, defrosted
  • Oats, flapjacks and instant porridge oats
  • Seeds from the pet shop or supermarket
  • Rice, cooked or uncooked
  • Watermelon, Grapes, or Other Fruit
  • QuackSnacks – responsible, convenient wild duck pellets

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