Feeding bread to baby geese is bad idea, Regina naturalist says

Lots of people like to feed bread crumbs to the baby geese at Wascana Centre Authority, but officials say that's a bad idea.

Eating a lot of bread could leave Canada geese deformed

Feeding baby geese bread can deprive them of vital nutrients, experts say. (CBC)

Lots of people in Regina like to feed bread crumbs to the baby geese around Wascana Lake, but officials are warning it's a bad idea.

Eating bread can deprive goslings of vital nutrients, leading to a growth deformity called angel wing. 

"We do see a couple [of] cases of it every summer in the park, where the bird's wing will twist when it's growing so it will never be able to fly," Wascana Centre Authority naturalist Matthew Tokaruk said. 

Bread, to the birds, is candy- Naturalist Matthew Tokaruk

In high traffic areas, such as near the Legislative Building in Regina, people feed goslings bread every day. 
The people CBC News spoke to said it never even crossed their minds bread was bad for geese, but Jolene Rupcham said learning that will make her stop.

"No, we will not feed them bread anymore," she said. "Absolutely, we saw him with the strange little wing."

One of the problems is that these birds seem to love bread.

"It would be the same as with a young child, feeding them only candy for their first few years of their life," Tokaruk said. "It probably wouldn't be that good. Bread, to the birds, is candy." 

Wascana Centre Authority says it's OK to feed geese on the east part of Wascana Lake, but discourages the practice on the west side.

Like humans, young geese need foods that will help them grow. That includes leafy greens such as parsley and spinach or grains such as barley and wheat.

Meanwhile, Wascana Centre Authority says it does not encourage people to feed geese at all around the west side of the lake.

That's to preserve flower beds and turf, and to reduce the number of goose droppings on walking paths.

With files from Rikkeal Bohmann

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