What effect does feeding unnatural food have?

Gladstone and District Wildlife Carers has information about the effects of feeding wildlife unnatural foods

emu neck and head, big eyes

Kookaburras, currawongs & magpies

will readily eat meat or bread.​
These foods can produce imbalances in their nutritional requirements causing severe deficiencies. You may encourage overpopulation of these species which is a problem as they predate smaller species. They can lose the ability to source food themselves.

They naturally eat insects, invertebrates, small reptiles and small mammals such as rodents.

Encourage them to your garden by leaving leaf litter in your garden as it will attract insects, vertebrates and lizards. Leave safe dead trees and hollowed limbs of live trees. Plant native trees.

Rosella’s cockatoos and galah’s

eat bread, fruit, food scraps and seed mixes.
However bread has poor nutritional balance and introduced fruit is not a natural part of their diet. Seed mixes are rarely nutritionally balanced and many are difficult for the birds to eat.
This encourages a population that would normally be nomadic to become sedentary , living on an unbalanced diet.

Normally they consume nectar and pollen from eucalypt and other native flowers, native berries and blossoms, and insects and their larvae.

You can provide a balance of vegetation in your garden by avoiding hybrid native plants. Provide water with protection from neighbours cats by planting different height plants around the water source. Leave ‘safe’ dead trees and hollowed limbs of live trees – the hollows provide nesting sites.

Native ducks

are often fed bread, chips, vegeatable scraps and leftovers.
These foods do not provide the correct nutritional balance causing deficiencies and predisposing them to disease. Bread can ferment in the gut causing bacterial infections. Food settles on the bottom of ponds and rots causing levels of bacteria to rise and can cause things such as botulism which can kill ducks.

Contact your environment centre or council to clean up and regenerate the local pond, lake or lagoon. Record your observations on the condition of your local ducks, their environment and any changes. This may be useful to your environment centre.

Kangaroos

are sometimes fed bread, left overs and milk.
Kangaroos are designed to eat large amounts of low protein roughage such as native grasses and browse shrubs. Human food is a poor substitute with little nutritional value and will disrupt their natural intake. If fed milk, the gut becomes aggravated causing diarrhoea and dehydration which can result in death. Bread is a soft food and if eaten regularly it can result in gum problems. Once this occurs, it only takes a hardened grain or twig to puncture the gum allowing the disease ‘lumpy jaw’ to infect the gum area.

Possums

can often eat bread, fruit, food scraps, and milk.
Fruits are not digested easily by ringtail possums, it ferments in the gut and produces vast quantities of gas – death is usually the end result. Feeding milk, aggravates their digestive system causing diarrhoea and dehydration which can result in death. Introducing a new food source ultimately reduces the possum’s territories creating over population of areas, predisposing them to disease.

Their natural diet consists of bark, grass and leaves, eucalypt trees being the favourite for both the leaves and flowers. They also eat native fruit and small insects.

You can provide a balanced range of vegetation in your garden, avoiding hybrid native plants. If possible keep your compost heap enclosed to prevent possums from scavenging and using this as their only source of food. It also discourages rodents.

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