Feeding ducks

Dacorum is home to hundreds of ducks, as well as other waterfowl such as geese, swans, moorhens and coots. It is important to know what is healthy to feed these birds as the wrong food could harm them and the environment.

Why bread is bad

Poor nutrition

Bread is low in protein and contains ingredients that ducks can't digest properly. This causes them to become malnourished and slow. They may find it difficult to escape from predators such as foxes.

Some may suffer from Angel Wing, a disease that affects the growth of flight feathers. It can reduce their life span. Bread is a poor alternative to natural foods such as water plants and grains.


Feeding bread attracts more birds, which can then overcrowd the area. They can become more aggressive, spread diseases and overgraze the grass on the river banks. All that bread can also attract pests, such as rats and foxes.

Water pollution

Rotting bread and the bird mess in the water causes a build-up of algae that makes the water smell and can be harmful to fish. 

What you can feed

Alternatives you can feed ducks include:

  • Sweetcorn
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Oats
  • Seeds 
  • Rice

More information

The Canal and River Trust has more advice on feeding ducks.

Page Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 January 2024 at 10:53 AM