Passionate About Wildlife

Winter feeding for Swans & Ducks

Please remember to carry on supplementary feeding of wildfowl through the winter.

They generally feed on aquatic plants, worms, crustaceans and snails, small fish and fish eggs, insects, berries, and small amphibians such as frogs and newts. Through the winter months some of these foods can become scarce and supplementary feeding becomes even more important for their survival.

For generations the feeding of waterfowl with bread has been a wonderful pastime enjoyed by many but it can cause problems for the birds. Bread offers little-to-no nutritional benefit but the birds will readily eat it when it is offered. The problem occurs as the calorific bread fills up the stomach so much that the bird will not forage for their normal natural diet that will give them all the vitamins and minerals they require. In particular, in young birds, a reliance on human supplied bread, and other junk food, discourages them to learn to forage for the natural foods they need to be healthy. In both cases this can lead to malnourishment and, in severe cases in young birds, to a condition called Angel Wing where the wing is deformed and the bird cannot fly (Figure 1)

Figure 1: Angel wing in a Canadian Goose

The condition can be reversed with proper feeding in young birds but once the bird is an adult it cannot be reversed. Although Angel Wing is not life threatening to the bird in a sheltered environment it would be unlikely to survive in the wild.

There can also be problems with bread that is left uneaten as this can attract predators that may be harmful to waterfowl. It can also, if left for long enough, grow mould that if the birds consequently eat can make them very ill.

Using reputable commercial foods such as Brambles Swan and Duck Food will allow families to carry on the pastime of feeding waterfowl knowing that they are benefitting the birds they are feeding. Our Swan & Duck Food is nutritionally beneficial to wild animals and we ensure that they do not contain any added sugar, colours, or artificial flavours. Our Swan and Duck food conforms to recommended guidelines for nutritional requirements, and is also suitable for geese, moorhens and coots, and, as it floats you can easily see when the birds have had sufficient!

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