Should I feed the wild fowl around the Lake?

Waterfowl are found in local parks or lakes all year round, and feeding waterfowl can be a charming wildlife experience for all ages. However, no matter what the season, or how much the birds beg for treats, they don’t really need handouts to survive.

If you do want to feed the waterfowl around the Lake, you can supplement their wild diet by offering nutritious treats. However, please be aware that too much feeding does not help the birds. If fed too often they can become aggressive, and may become a nuisance if they overcrowd a small area.

You can follow a few simple rules to help provide birds with a healthy diet, ensure only the birds benefit from the food you leave, and to safely enjoy the lake environment both for you and the birds.

Foods

The most common foods used by visitors are the least nutritious and most unhealthy for birds, such as bread-based products.

Bread has no real nutritional value, so eating just bread can harm bird development. Bread also attracts vermin. Spoiled or mouldy food products can also be unhealthy as well as attracting vermin.

The best foods are those that provide the nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that birds need for healthy growth and development such as grass, seeds and berries. Specialist waterfowl feed and/or grain can easily be purchased.

Tips for feeding

  • Feed only occasionally, so the birds don’t get too much food.
  • Don’t put out too much food so that unwanted guests like rats don’t get a supply of food.
  • Avoid putting food in the same place each day so that unwanted guests like rats get confused - the birds won’t be.
  • Place food off the ground if possible to keep food out of the reach of rats.
  • Don't leave food out late in the day so that food is not left out overnight - rats usually search for food at night.
  • Don’t allow old food to accumulate as rats will happily feed on mouldy or rotting leftovers.
  • Stop feeding if birds appear uninterested or are leaving food uneaten - leftovers can quickly rot and attract unwanted pests.
  • Avoid feeding if other visitors are already offering treats, as too much food can be unhealthy for birds, and creates uneaten leftovers.
  • Only offer foods in bite-sized pieces so the birds can eat the treats without choking or struggling.
  • Be sensible and safe - be wary of birds that approach closely as they can be aggressive, particularly larger waterfowl such as swans and geese. Dispose of all litter properly. Do not allow pets or children to chase or disturb the birds, particularly young birds or families, they can become stressed or injured more easily.

Thank you,
Balderton Parish Council

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