Completely quackers: Mother is told off by park warden for feeding ducks 'unhealthy' white bread

A mother feeding the ducks with her two children was stunned when she was told off by a council warden - for giving the birds 'unhealthy' white bread.

Lisa Taplin, 34, was told by the park ranger to bring granary or wholemeal bread next time as it was better for the ducks.

The fluorescent-vest clad official said giving ducks white bread was tantamount to feeding her two sons chips with every meal, she said.

Mrs Taplin described the episode as crazy and said she walked away feeling both angry and guilty for apparently leaving the ducks malnourished.

Mrs Taplin went to the duck pond in her home town of Hailsham, East Sussex, with sons Luke, four and Dylan, two, when the bizarre incident happened.

She said: 'It was a nice day so I took the boys to our local pond. There were loads of ducks around us and they looked quite hungry.'

'We had about five slices of bread and we all threw bits of it towards them. The ducks fought a little over it but they seemed to enjoy it.'

'Then a man in a fluorescent waistcoat who was holding a litter pick up stick came over to me and said "I know you mean well but giving them white bread is not good for them".

'I was a bit stunned and just replied "oh right, I only have a few slices" and he said it was like giving children chips with every meal.'

'He then said next time if I brought wholemeal, granary or bird seed that would be better for them.

'He then walked off and made me feel slightly guilty for apparently leaving the ducks malnourished but also a bit angry at the crazy world we now live in.'

Mrs Taplin, a dance teacher, added: 'What can be more wholesome than taking your two children to a duck pond to feed the ducks? It seems you can't do that anymore without being told what to do.'

The age-old tradition of throwing bread to ducks has come under threat in recent years.

In 2008, Herefordshire Council banned people from feeding the animals bread as it was deemed to be harmful to them and discouraged them from foraging for food.

In the same year the RSPB urged the public not to feed any bird, including ducks, with bread as they claimed it fills up their stomachs and doesn't give them nutrients.

But naturalist Chris Packham, presenter BBC's Autumn Watch, said people, especially children, should not be discouraged from feeding ducks.

He said: 'I wouldn't stop anyone from feeding birds. We send out the message that wildlife needs our help all the time so it seems a bit churlish to tell people what food to use.'

'Here is a mother letting her two young sons get up and close to wildlife, she should be encouraged but saying don't feed them this and that seems counter-productive.'

'One of my earliest memories as a child was feeding the ducks at Arundel, there was an extraordinary variety of shapes and colours and that helped form my love for wildlife.'

'Bread is not the best thing to feed birds, but I would be reluctant to tell people to stop.'

But Nickey Caria, deputy town clerk at Hailsham Town Council, said they were merely passing on advice they had received from vets.

He said: 'We have been advised by an animal rescue centre here in Hailsham that the public should be urged not to feed wild birds white bread as it is bad for them.'

"The vets did some research which showed birds struggle to digest it.

'We do have a pond warden who looks after the site and he has been advised to pass on this advice. It was the right thing for him to do.'

'This is just advice that we are giving members of the public, we won't take any action against anybody.'


By: gmccuiston (688.68)

Tags: ducks,white bread

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