UK ducks going gluten-free

  • 15/03/2016
UK ducks going gluten-free

In the past year, UK ducks have cut down their bread intake -- a little.

Britain's Canal and River Trust launched a campaign in March 2015, urging the public to end the tradition of feeding breadcrumbs to their feathered friends.

Ducks around the UK are now feasting on a healthier diet of seeds, fruit and vegetables.

The Canal and River Trust, which looks after 3200km waterways in England and Wales, says the number of people feeding ducks a better dinner has doubled.

The trust estimates about 80,000 fewer bread loaves have clogged canals, ponds and avian intestines over the past year, Sky News reports.

But it says well-intentioned people are still annually putting around 3.5 million loaves in waterways.

Bread is bad for ducks because it can cause overpopulation as birds flock to the food.

Uneaten bread can also spread diseases like avian botulism, while excessive droppings reduce water quality and clog channels.

"We're really pleased with the public response to our campaign so far and the way people are changing their duck feeding habits," Canal and River Trust national environment manager Peter Birch told Sky News.

But he urged people to continue helping ducks "eat sensibly".

"It only takes a few simple changes such as swapping bread for healthy food that is closer to a duck's natural diet - like oats, corn or peas," he said.

"If everyone avoids going to the same duck-feeding hotspots and exercises portion control that would also make a big difference."