Seeds, grapes corn and lettuce recommended for Cook Park ducks

The sign in Cook Park.

The sign in Cook Park.

COOK Park’s ducks are set to be the best fed in the region after a sign was erected, advising visitors not to feed them bread. 

Orange City Council put the sign up at the duck pond earlier in the week, saying bread made ducks ill and did not contain the nutrition they needed. 

Bread is known to cause obesity and a crippling condition called angel wing, which causes wings to jut out rather than fold back, making flight impossible. 

The sign went on to say bread polluted the water, attracted algae and also harmed fish in the pond. 

Sport and recreation committee chairman and councillor Jason Hamling said the signs had been prompted by the public after people contacted the council asking what they should feed them.

“Apparently bread is not what you feed them and if the ducks don’t eat it, the pond doesn’t look very good, the bread just sits in the water,” he said. 

Cr Hamling said the population was fairly permanent.

“They’re the same ducks who live there so we’re trying to keep them nice and healthy,” he said.

“We’re not discouraging people from feeding the ducks.”

Cr Hamling said expert advice indicated birdseed was appropriate, as well as rice provided it was cooked – raw rice would expand in their stomachs. 

“If you can find seedless grapes, they’re good because if the ducks swallow the seeds, they could get caught in their throats,” he said. 

“The other thing is chopped lettuce – if you’re going up there, it’s a good experience for the children to get them in the kitchen to chop up some lettuce and give it to the ducks that way.”

The signs dominated social media in recent days – while some questioned the signs, many were grateful for the advice and were shocked they had been feeding the ducks the wrong thing. 

Others pointed out most sliced bread was not good for humans either, given it was processed and contained sugar. 

What ducks should be fed:

  • Cut seedless grapes
  • Cooked rice
  • Birdseed
  • Peas
  • Corn 
  • Oats
  • Chopped lettuce

What they shouldn’t be fed:

  • Bread
  • Popcorn
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Avocado
  • Citrus fruit
  • Chocolate


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