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Wildlife officials say visitors have to stop feeding the ducks

ducks at park.JPG
Posted at 3:07 PM, Oct 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-26 18:44:32-04

We've received several calls lately about dead or dying ducks at Girard Park.

We reached out to Lafayette Consolidated Government about it, and they told us that some wildlife experts had come in and determined that there are three problems.

First, there are too many ducks for the area. That problem is being addressed with a local duck farmer who has agreed to come and pick up some ducks.

Second, local residents have reported there's a family of foxes coming in the park and killing some of the ducks.

And lastly, and a perpetual problem, people are feeding the ducks the wrong things. There are signs up asking the public not to feed the ducks, but it's problem that has been going on for a long time.

"They are part of the park and part of the park experience and we wanna make sure that we maintain that experience and make sure that our ducks are as healthy as possible. So, we just ask that people just treat them as they are which are wild animals. They are a wild population of ducks that do inhabit the park. Just recognize that sometimes the things we feed them aren't the best things for wild animal," LCG CAO Cydra Wingerter said.

Feeding ducks bread, crackers and other human food is not good for the ducks or their environment. Here's an article about feeding ducks - and why we shouldn't - from the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

"Wild ducks and geese feed on a variety of grains and grasses, aquatic plants, and invertebrates, all naturally found in the wild. When eaten in combination, these foods are nutritionally balanced and provide everything a wild duck or goose needs to survive," the article states. "In contrast, foods commonly fed to waterfowl in public parks, such as bread, crackers, popcorn, and corn, are typically low in protein and essential nutrients and minerals (such as calcium and phosphorus). While a single feeding of these “junk foods” may not harm waterfowl, it adds up! If everyone visiting a park “only” gives a few pieces of bread or crackers to ducks and geese, it quickly becomes the bulk of what wild waterfowl consume, and results in a variety of nutritional disorders."

These disorders can lead to malformations of bone and wings, and the junk swells in a duck's belly, making him feel full and causing him to stop foraging for the nutritional food he needs, the article states.