The Canal & River Trust are on a mission to improve the health of their wild birds and their habitats so they’re asking everyone who feeds their ducks to consider swapping the usual white bread for something a little healthier.
Every year six million loaves of bread are being thrown into canals and rivers in England and Wales - potentially polluting the water and damaging hundreds of thousands of ducks’ homes.
Last year more than 15 million people fed the ducks with their family or friends, 12 million of them admitting to feeding our feathered friends with bread.
Uneaten soggy bread can cause a build-up of bad nutrients which can lead to greater algae growth, spread disease and encourage pests such as rats.
Throwing bread into a canal or river can create overcrowding of bird populations, as the birds will flock to the same location in search of their starchy treat.
Too many ducks or waterfowl in one place can stress the birds and lead to their habitats being damaged. It also creates excessive amounts of bird poo which along with being smelly and slippery underfoot, can have a negative effect on water quality and create harmful algae which can clog the waterway.
To make it easier for you they’ve put together a list of alternative duck snacks:
It turns out that ducks are quite partial to a grape or two. You’ll need to cut them up into quarters to make it easier for them to chomp on.
As a nation we’re guilty of throwing away a vast amount of lettuce, especially the bagged variety. Instead of consigning it to the bin, rip it into pieces and treat your local ducks.
3. Frozen peas and sweetcorn
There’s no need to cook them but make sure you defrost them first!
Flapjacks, rolled oats and even instant porridge oats will be a huge hit with ducks.
Whether you buy bird seed or seeds from the healthy aisle in the supermarket – the ducks will be very grateful for these nutritious nibbles.
Wild ducks will appreciate a handful of leftover rice from a takeaway. Just remember to keep the crispy duck all to yourself!
Use your loaf! Recipes using stale bread:
The aim of the campaign is to stop people filling the ducks up with large quantities of white bread. However, we all hate waste and don’t want you to start throwing your old bread in the bin. Cook up something tasty and eat it yourself!
Bread and butter pudding
It’s the obvious choice for using up stale bread but still one of the tastiest. Just spread your leftover stale bread with butter or margarine. Layer it into an oven-proof dish adding your choice of dried fruit or jam between each level. You can even add mixed spice or nutmeg if you have any.
In a separate bowl mix 400ml of milk with two eggs and 50g of sugar and then pour over your bread.
Push your bread down into the mixture to make sure it’s all covered.
Leave it to stand for half an hour and then bake it for about 40 minutes at 180 degrees until it’s golden on top.
Perfect at any time of the day, French toast is a great way to use up the odd slice of old bread.
This one doesn’t take much effort. Simply mix up an egg on a plate, put a piece of old bread in the mixture, let it soak up all of the egg and then fry it.
Perfect with maple syrup, fruit, cinnamon, sugar or even bacon.
Dry out your old bread in the oven at a very low temperature, pop it in a food blender and then put the breadcrumbs in an airtight container in the freezer.
You can use them to top macaroni cheese, for stuffing, in treacle tart and even to make ice cream!
The charity has created a free booklet packed with tips on the right food to feed the ducks which includes lots of activities for children. To receive this, along with your free Quack Snack pouch to store your healthy duck treats, Text DUCKS to 70060
For more information on the campaign visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/duck