Bread is quackers for ducks, warns St Albans mum

Hannah Knight is on a mission to look after the ducks of Verulamium Lake

Hannah Knight is on a mission to look after the ducks of Verulamium Lake - Credit: Archant

A concerned mother and duck lover is on a mission to educate the district about keeping our feathered friends healthy.

Hannah Knight, 28, of Batchwood Drive, St Albans, set up a petition to stop the feeding of bread to ducks at Verulamium Lake, which she said was extremely bad for them.

Hannah said: “Bread to birds is similar to junk food for humans, it can cause excessive weight and malnutrition.”

She asked for a duck feed dispenser and signs to help combat the issue.

The district council has reacted to her proposals with plans to cut out duck feeding altogether.

Councillors agreed that feeding ducks bread was bad for their health but think pellet dispensers are not a good solution.

Richard Shwe, the council’s head of community services, said their decision to fade out feeding altogether aimed to stop the ducks’ dependency on park-goers for food.

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He added: “Feeding the ducks and other waterfowl can be harmful to their health and lead to overcrowding, spread of disease, poor quality water and delayed migration.”

The council has agreed to put up signs around the lake and will go into local schools to educate pupils about feeding ducks properly.

Hannah said that feeding ducks bread could result in a long list of diseases including angel wing, where wings don’t form properly and prevent ducks and geese from flying.

Mouldy bread can cause fatal lung infection aspergillosis, and uneaten bread attracts unwanted vermin and predators.

Bread sinking to the bottom of the lake is also responsible for pollution of the water which lead to the eradication of fish.

The council intends to fade out grain/pellet feeding by February 2016 to allow people time to adjust to the idea of not feeding at all.

It will be holding a competition in schools for pupils to design ‘don’t feed the birds’ signs, set to be dotted around the lake.

In addition, flyers will be given out to park visitors explaining why it is important not to feed birds.