A new scheme has been set up at Roundhay Park in north Leeds to try and discourage park-goers from feeding potentially-dangerous bread to the ducks.
Friends of Roundhay Park have begun providing bags of duck food for people to buy – for a minimum donation of 50p – in a bid to curb the use of bread.
Use of the food can be damaging for ducks and had also been leading to fears that rats were being attracted to the lake, where piles of rotting bread had been building up.
John Ferguson, webmaster at Friends of Roundhay Park, said they had put up banners around the park, warning about giving bread to the ducks and swans.
The group has also provided a rack of alternative, ‘proper’ duck food - in the entrance of the park’s Lakeside Cafe - which he said had been a great success.
He said: “The first day we did it, we were there for two hours offering to swap the bread for proper food.
“In just two hours, we filled a dustbin with all the bread. People had come with whole loaves. Since then we’ve got through something like 50kg in a couple of weeks and they’re roughly a quarter-kilo bags. It’s been incredibly successful.”
Chris Collett, a spokesman for the RSPB, said: “Bread fills birds up and doesn’t have any nutritional value to them, so it’s detrimental to a bird’s health if they’re getting it all the time.
“We would advise people not to give birds bread but to give them the food that is being provided at Roundhay Park.”
He said bread can affect bird’s bones, rendering them unable to fly, and in the worse case scenario can lead to death.