No more bread for the Shibden ducks: It’s bad for them...and the lake

Friends of Shibden want to warn people to feed the ducks  with wild bird food available from the cafe and boat shed at the park'Pictured are Jane Luczyn, Sue Smith, Chris Booth and John Hamer
Friends of Shibden want to warn people to feed the ducks with wild bird food available from the cafe and boat shed at the park'Pictured are Jane Luczyn, Sue Smith, Chris Booth and John Hamer
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THE Friends of Shibden Park Group has come up with a quacking idea to improve the health of ducks in the lake.

They have been put on a special diet after concerns were raised about members of the public feeding them too much bread.

Friends of Shibden want to warn people to feed the ducks  with wild bird food available from the cafe and boat shed at the park

Friends of Shibden want to warn people to feed the ducks with wild bird food available from the cafe and boat shed at the park

Bags of specialised feed are now on sale for 20p near to the lake, and visitors have taken to the idea like a duck to water.

Christine Booth, of the group, said: “Too much bread gets thrown into the lake and some of it goes mouldy, which can be harmful for the ducks and pollutes the lake.

“Someone contacted the RSPB to make sure we got the right stuff and that it contained the minerals and vitamins that they require.

“The bags have been available for about six-eight weeks now and they’ve proved very popular. Any profit made will go towards further projects by the group.”

Quacking idea: Friends of Shibden John Hamer, Sue Smith, Chris Booth and Jane Luczyn with the new bird feed

Quacking idea: Friends of Shibden John Hamer, Sue Smith, Chris Booth and Jane Luczyn with the new bird feed

Park manager Deborah Comyn-Platt said: “It’s been an ongoing situation for many years that the bread causes the quality of the lake to be not as good as it should be.

“Bread isn’t really the ideal food for them to have and if visitors can throw the proper food rather than bread, it would give the ducks a balanced diet, which would be more preferable.”

Bread is not harmful to birds according to the RSPB, but it does not provide them with any nutrients.

Gemma Hogg, spokeswoman for the charity, said: “It could even prove detrimental, as the birds will fill up on it and not other, more nutritious foods.

“It doesn’t actually contain any of the vital ingredients to provide birds with the energy they need to breed and feed.”

The RSPB advises anyone feeding ducks where the special feed is not available to consider alternatives like porridge oats, cake crumbs and cooked potatoes instead.

A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said bread does causes some pollution by raising the nutrient levels in the water, but added small quantities were not a cause for concern.