City's Feeding Wildlife Policy
No Feeding Ordinance Amendment
July 11, 2016
The new no feeding of wildlife ordinance (PDF) amending Section 86-3 of the Code of Ordinances states:
- b. The supplemental feeding of wildlife leads to overcrowding and increases the susceptibility for wildlife to contract life threatening diseases. The Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife discourages supplemental feeding of wildlife in public and private places. The purpose of this section is to control the feeding of wildlife in order to protect the public health, public property, and wildlife.
- 1. No person shall engage in the feeding of any wildlife within any park within the city or within any public property.
No Feeding Wildlife
The City of Bedford does have an ordinance that prohibits feeding of the wildlife at any City park. The City understands that generations of visitors have enjoyed visiting the lake, often with small children, and feeding the wildlife bread, grain, and other food items. However, as new information became available regarding the health risks posed to the wildlife - associated with human feeding - the City of Bedford passed the no feeding ordinance, which is currently in effect and being enforced.
Many people enjoy feeding the ducks, but the effects of this seemingly generous act can be harmful. If you care about the ducks, please stop feeding them. Allow them to return to their natural habits.
Problems With Artificial Feeding
- Food attracts more than just ducks. Feeding ducks attracts rats, pests, and predators that kill ducks and endanger humans.
- Rotting food pollutes the water and breeds deadly diseases and parasites.
- When ducks and geese feed on scattered corn or bread, they eat in the same place where they defecate. This is not healthy for the ducks. In addition, large concentrations of waterfowl facilitate the spread of disease. Diseases generally not transmissible in a wild setting find overcrowded and unsanitary conditions very favorable.
- The New York Department of Environmental Conservation lists that "most waterfowl die-offs in the past 10 years have involved artificial feeding."
- Uneaten food quickly forms a deadly mold called Aspergillus that can be fatal to ducks. The problems associated with the virus, Duck Virus Enteritis (found at the Boys Ranch Lake) is exacerbated by artificial feeding.
- Ducks that are overfed, can lead to an artificially large duck population that is too large for the lake to naturally support. Large duck populations can create dangerous amounts of waste that is harmful to the fish and turtles.
- Corn may seem okay for ducks, but fish cannot digest it and die. Seeds cause severe cramping pains in ducks. Bedford has had 1 example of staff finding a turtle in distress and unable to submerge. Staff took the turtle to a veterinarian who determined the turtle has consumed an excessive amount of dog food and corn - leading to the turtle's distress.