For ducks' sake: bread is out and vegetables are in for Porirua's feathered friends

A goose with Angel Wing Syndrome -it stops wings from developing and is caused by poor nutrition.
PHOTO: JESS LEE/FAIRFAX NZ

A goose with Angel Wing Syndrome -it stops wings from developing and is caused by poor nutrition.

Porirua's ducks may soon be enjoying a healthier diet.

Matt Pollock spearheaded the community clean up of Aotea Lagoon and now he has one more request for the city's residents - stop throwing bread to the lagoon's ducks.

It's a two-fold solution to keeping the lagoon clean. It kept bread out of the water and ensured its web-footed residents were healthy, he said.

Sarah Gibbison, Matt Pollock, Steven Beddie and his son Diontae Marsh Beddie pitched in to help clean out Aotea Lagoon ...
JAISON NGATAI

Sarah Gibbison, Matt Pollock, Steven Beddie and his son Diontae Marsh Beddie pitched in to help clean out Aotea Lagoon in Porirua on October.

"I knew for years that bread was bad for ducks, but you put it in the back of your mind."

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He acknowledged it wouldn't be an easy thing to get animal-loving people to stop feeding the birds bread, but hoped residents would embrace the idea - for the ducks' sake.

A goose with "angel wing" caused by poor nutrition.
PHOTO: JESS LEE/FAIRFAXNZ

A goose with "angel wing" caused by poor nutrition.

Too much bread in a duck's diet could result in conditions like Angel Wing - where wing joints become twisted, he said.

"If people are made aware of the harm they could be doing, I'm sure they'll stop. Nobody wants to cripple an animal."

Pollock said there was a noticeable improvement in the water quality at the lagoon after the community clean ups last year and banning bread would help maintain  it.

Feeding bread to birds can cause health issues like Angel Wing Syndrome - where the wing joints don't develop properly.
PHOTO: JESS LEE/FAIRFAX NZ

Feeding bread to birds can cause health issues like Angel Wing Syndrome - where the wing joints don't develop properly.

Wellington duck expert Craig Shepherd said a move away from bread could only be a good thing for Porirua's ducks.

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"Bread is not a complete diet and has little in the way of the nutritional goodness that every animal needs to grow and to maintain good body function.

"It is fine a supplementary diet. but at Aotea I suspect it would almost be a complete diet and particularly bad for ducklings, who need so many vitamins and minerals, which bread simply does not have.

"So in reality a diet that includes bread for ducklings is harming their growth."

Peeled bananas, diced fruit, cooked and diced mixed vegetables, lettuce and other green leafed vegetables were ideal supplements for feeding to ducks and ducklings, he said.

Porirua City Council chief operating officer Tamsin Evans said council was happy to provide signs asking people to not feed the ducks.

The long-standing duck pond next to Aotea Lagoon would be replaced by a splash pad with work due to start in March. Ducks will still have the main lagoon to swim in.

 - Stuff

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