Ducks And Swans Are Dying Because No One Feeds Them Bread Anymore

by : Emma Rosemurgey on : 18 Oct 2019 17:52
PA/Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Ducks, swans and geese are said to be dying of starvation because people have stopped feeding them bread.

There are now urgent calls for people to begin feeding the birds once more, after recent campaigns asked people not to throw bread in duck ponds over claims it’s not good for wild birds.


However, there are now fresh claims our favourite park animals are dying over the lack of food from visitors.

Ducks And Swans Are Dying Because No One Feeds Them AnymorePA Images

Posters have begun being placed all over the UK, telling residents, ‘It’s OK to feed us bread!’, according to reports in Birmingham Live.

The posters read:


Please feed us again, especially in the winter! Everyone has stopped feeding us because they wrongly think bread will make us poorly and now some of us are dying of starvation without your bread.

Yes, it’s not the healthiest for us but nothing in our bellies will kill us!

While people have been left in two minds over which advice to believe, according to the Royal Society for the Protection, the information is partly correct.

Ducks And Swans Are Dying Because No One Feeds Them AnymorePA Images

An RSPB spokesperson told the publication:


For many of us feeding the ducks or swans is our first memory of interacting with nature in the wild, this experience can be an important step towards understanding our natural world and appreciating that we all play a role in caring for it.

Just like us, birds need a varied diet to stay healthy. Although ducks, swans and geese can digest all types of bread, too much can leave them feeling full without giving them all of the important vitamins, minerals and nutrients they need.

So, although bread isn’t harmful, our advice is to only feed small amounts to birds. We encourage people to use things like sweetcorn, porridge oats and defrosted frozen peas as well as bird seed.

Ducks And Swans Are Dying Because No One Feeds Them AnymorePA Images

A campaign called Bin the Bread was previously launched by charity Swan Lifeline, saying that bread was bad for swans. However, earlier this year it revealed more and more ducks and swans were being found severely underweight or having starved to death.

Now, the Queen’s official swan keeper David Barber insisted there is ‘no good reason’ not to feed the swans bread, given many are now underweight because of the ban.


He said:

Swans have been fed bread for many hundreds of years without causing any ill effects.

While bread may not be the best dietary option for swans compared to their natural food such as river weed, it has become a very important source of energy for them, supplementing their natural diet and helping them to survive the cold winter months when vegetation is very scarce.

There is no good reason not to feed bread to swans, provided it is not mouldy.

Most households have surplus bread and children have always enjoyed feeding swans with their parents.

Ducks And Swans Are Dying Because No One Feeds Them AnymorePA Images

One wildlife charity shared a heartbreaking story of a swan who had starved to death as a result of the ban.


They wrote on Facebook:

Sadly another swan that may have suffered from the ‘ban the bread’ campaign. He was massively underweight, he weighed just 4kg. When our rescuers arrived they were met by a few members of the public who said they were told to stop feeding bread.

He starved to death. He died in transit. The lake he was on doesn’t have much natural food, they rely on being fed by humans. Please if you’ve always fed bread please do not stop, it is better than nothing.

We are not posting this for a debate. We are merely stating the facts.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

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Emma Rosemurgey

Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.

Topics: Animals


Birmingham Live
  1. Birmingham Live

    Brits urged to keep feeding bread as ducks face dying of starvation