Summertime when I was a kid often meant mom picking us up at the pool after an afternoon of swimming. When we climbed into the minivan, we'd see that she was ready with a bread-bag of heels and crusts. Then we'd head to the pond in the park by the pool. When the ducks that lived around that pond saw that bread-bag coming they'd rush to the shore and start begging. So, of course we tossed chunks of bread to the feathered beggars.

Then when I had kids we did the same thing a few times. But, it turns out the only time bread and ducks should go together, is if your eating a duck meat sandwich. Is that a thing? I don't know if I've ever had duck, I've see it on Iron Chef a lot, but would you make a sandwich with it? I don't see why not, a little mayo and spicy brown mustard. Now I'm hungry.

Anyways, I didn't know that it's now frowned upon to feed bread to ducks. It's not like I've been hanging around with ducks a whole bunch or running in duck feeding circles, so it's not really weird that I missed this. But, just like a kid at a fancy restaurant, ducks will fill up on bread and not be hungry when their chicken fingers and fruit arrives. Well, no chicken for the ducks, the ducks need to eat plants.

Yep, bread is duck junk food according to Popular Science.  Ducks love bread, but it can cause lots of problems for them.

  • Bread doesn't have much nutritional value, leading to malnourished birds.
  • A high-calorie, low-nutrient diet can cause waterfowl to develop a condition known as "angel wing."
  • Young ducks may not learn how to properly forage for good plant food if they're always filling up on bread.
  • There are the whole fat and sick thing too because of the high-calorie, low nutrients.

And then there's this:

Even the bread that birds don't eat is bad for them: Rotting bread can grow mold that makes ducks sick, contribute to the growth of algae—which can kill loads of animals—and attract vermin that spread disease to birds and humans alike.

So what can you feed the ducks? Well, think plants. Popular Science said according to one study ducks love kale (at least someone does). A quorum of quackers will also enjoy corn, peas, seeds, oats and leafy greens.

It's also recommended that, along with bread, you should avoid giving ducks avocados, onions, citrus, nuts, chocolate, popcorn, and alcohol.

So, there you go. Good idea: sharing kale and corn with your duck friends. Bad Idea: getting drunk and eating guacamole with your duck friends.

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