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Warning about feeding bread to ducks

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Feed the ducks: Grain not bread

Feed the ducks: Grain not bread

WITH half-term approaching, it’s probably likely that you, along with your little ones, will go along to ponds and rivers such as the Millenium Coastal Park in Llanelli, to feed the ducks, geese and swans.

However, many people are unaware of the hidden dangers of feeding them the wrong types of food, especially bread.

Feeding ducks bread has been a passtime for families since the 19th Century, and it would seem that providing food for them would make them healthier and stronger.

However, it’s since been recognised that feeding them artificial foods can cause deformities in the birds, and can cause them to become severely ill, sometimes resulting in death.

Ducks eat a variety of foods, such grass, weeds, aquatic plants, algae, seeds, grains and berries, and the carbohydrate filled dinner they’re being fed rather than their protein rich dinner isn’t what they should be eating.

Once the bread has hit the water, the naturally occurring surface algae can react, giving off toxins that damage fish populations and create a horrible smell. It can also deprive sunlight to underwater plants, causing them to die.

If the bread has been left and started to rot, the decomposing bread can spread a deadly mould named aspergillus, which can get into ducks’ lungs and kill them. The rotting bread will attract rats, whose urine transmits Weil’s disease, which can be deadly to people.

A spokesperson from the RSPB told The Herald: “Bread, or white bread in particular, has no real nutritional value, so while birds may find it tasty, the danger is that they will fill up on bread instead of other foods that could be more beneficial to them.

“There’s also a risk that ducks and other water fowl could get an illness known as angel wing, which is caused by not getting the right nutrients in their diet. The illness causes a deformity in birds’ wings that can hamper the way they fly or even stop them flying altogether, which could obviously be fatal.

“This doesn’t mean that you can’t feed the birds however, but maybe just try to vary what you give them and swap it for healthier more natural option like seeds, oats, corn, or defrosted frozen peas, for example.”

Peter Morris of the WWT Llanelli Wetland Centre confirmed this, saying: “Being around nature and water is good for us all physically and mentally. The simple pleasure of feeding the ducks is a great way for small children especially to connect with wildlife and love it rather than be afraid of it.

“Ducks are fine with a bit of bread, but it can be dangerous for them where it forms too much of their diet. They can become bloated, become ill, and the water can become polluted.

“We recommend feeding ducks grain, which you can often get cheaply from pet stores or garden centres. Otherwise, cooked vegetables like potato or broccoli can be good. Many ducks, geese and swans in the open countryside graze these sorts of foods already in agricultural fields.”

The Llanelli Wetland Centre also display signs to encourage visitors not to feed the ducks bread, and offer alternatives to those who have brought bread to the centre.

According to the Canal and River Trust, we throw away around 1,200,00 tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables each year, with salad making up a large proportion of the waste. So, next time you’re about to throw away your fruit and veg, take it to feed the ducks!

It seems their favourite food is kale, which is a highly nutritious plant and currently gracing the table of many restaurants, and something that ducks can’t get enough of. This is closely followed by pea shoots, which are best when torn up into bite sized chunks.

Iceberg and rocket lettuce aren’t high in the rank of favourite foods, but they’re better than watercress. Whilst watercress is a great food for them to eat, they’re not all that interested!

So, if you’re at home with your stale bread and wishing you had someone to give it to, you’re in luck – you can eat it! There are plenty of ways to cook something up that’s tasty, so you don’t waste your bread.

Bread and butter pudding is an obvious choice for many, and is one of the tastiest ways to use up your stale bread. Spread your leftover sale bread with butter or margarine, then layer it into an oven-proof dish, adding your choice of dried fruit of jam between each level.

You can even add mixed spice or nutmeg if you have any.

In a separate bowl, mix 400ml of milk with two eggs and 50g of sugar, then pour over your bread. Push your bread down into the mixture to make sure it’s all covered, and leave it to stand for half an hour before baking for around 40 minutes at 180 degrees.

Other than that, you can make French toast, which is perfect at any time of the day. Simply mix up an egg on a plate, put a piece of old bread in the mixture, let it soak up all of the egg and fry! It’s delicious with maple syrup, fruit, cinnamon, sugar or even bacon!

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Community

Nearly £50,000 of National Lottery funding for community groups in Carmarthenshire

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FIVE local community organisations across Carmarthenshire are celebrating after being awarded a share of £49,575 of funding from The National Lottery Community Fund over the past month.

One successful project was MolTân Makers who will use their £9,820 grant to provide metal working workshops for people wishing to improve their mental health and well-being. The group will reach out to mental health groups and the wider community and also allow people to reconnect with the community following the pandemic.

One participant with MolTân Makers explained, “ The course was professionally run by four hard-working people who helped us with one to one tuition when needed. They were so welcoming and adaptable to individual needs and allowed me to attend the course at different hours due to health reasons.

“They were great company and created an interesting and positive atmosphere to help people with mental and physical health problems feel included and understood and we all took home what we made in the course.”

The Hangout received £10,000 and will help young people improve their mental health and wellbeing through structured outdoor activity programmes. The project will build on a previous pilot project that led to more young people becoming re-engaged in school following the pandemic and continuing to volunteer with the group after the initial sessions finished.

The Alternative Learning Company in Llanelli were awarded £9,955 and will recycle plastic bottles to build full size greenhouses. They will propagate plants for growing schemes in local schools and communities. The project will reduce the levels of plastic sent to landfill or polluting open spaces, and give young people an understanding of the impact of climate change.

Newcastle Emlyn Town Council will build an outdoor structure in collaboration with the community, to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Jubilee. This £10,000 grant will fund building and design materials, and a water harvesting kit.

Messy Projects will use their £9,800 grant to run the activities and events they missed due to the pandemic. Activities will include celebrating the Queens platinum jubilee, a BBQ, and a Bonfire party.

John Rose, Wales Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said “These groups play a vital role in supporting their communities and these grants will allow them to continue being there for people in future. 

 ”National Lottery players raise more than £30 million each week for good causes across the UK and the projects funded over the past month show the crucial difference players make through their tickets. I look forward to following all of their progress.”  

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Tesco makes it even easier for shoppers in South Wales to help local food banks

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TESCO is making it easier than ever for shoppers to give a helping hand to food banks and charities feeding people in their local community, with ready-prepared donation bags at local stores in South Wales this summer.

The Tesco Food Collection is taking place in every large Tesco store across the UK from Thursday, June 30 until Saturday, July 2, and shoppers are being urged to donate long-life food to support local food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network and thousands of frontline charities supplied by FareShare. Tesco will top up all food donations made during the collection with an extra 20% cash donation to support the two charities.

The pre-filled donation bags, available during the collection, will contain items that are most-needed by the local Trussell Trust foodbank or frontline charities supplied by FareShare.

Shoppers will be able to scan the contents at the till as part of their usual shop before dropping the bag into the food collection donation trolley.

It is one of a number of new ways that customers can give their support during this summer’s food collection. Shoppers can also for the first time round up their bill at the checkout to make a small donation to both the charities.

From this week it is also easier for customers who shop in Express stores to support the charities, with new permanent donation points being placed in every Tesco Express store in the UK for the first time, meaning shoppers will now be able to donate at Express stores year-round.

Shoppers can also donate their Tesco Clubcard points online to either of the charities.

Tesco Head of Community Claire de Silva said, “This collection marks ten years of us working with the Trussell Trust and FareShare. During that decade our customers have been amazingly generous, donating more than 100 million meals during our food collections and at permanent collection points in stores. This summer we wanted to make it even easier for customers to donate as we know that every can donated really does help.”

Donations are more important than ever as the charities have reported increasing need for food.

Sarah Germain, CEO at FareShare Cymru, said: “Our charities are telling us that the need for food has vastly increased as a result of the cost-of-living crisis, and over the last year we’ve continued to deliver four meals every second to people facing food insecurity across the UK.

“That’s why we would be immensely grateful to anyone who is able to donate a bag of pasta or tin of vegetables over the Tesco Food Collection weekend – your generous donations will help us continue providing vital support to families struggling to cope this summer.”

Emma Shepherd, Project Manager at the Trussell Trust Cardiff Foodbank, and Becky Morgan, Manager at the Trussell Trust Vale Foodbank, added: “Every year, we are amazed by the generosity of Tesco customers who donate to the Food Collection. We know that many families on the very lowest incomes have been forced to the doors of food banks to get by, as the nation faces a rapid rise in the cost of living and continues to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic. So, once again, we are calling on shoppers to give generously and make a difference to people who need our support over the coming weeks and months.”

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Charity

Hywel Dda Health Charities’ annual Pet Competition is back

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HYWEL DDA HEALTH CHARITIES, the official charity of Hywel Dda University Health Board, has launched its 2022 Pet Competition.

The competition gives members of the public the opportunity to win prizes while also helping the charity to raise funds which make a positive difference to the lives of NHS patients, service users and staff in the Hywel Dda area.

Owners of fabulous felines, perfect pooches, gorgeous guinea pigs or beautiful budgies are invited to enter the annual competition.

Pet-owners can enter as many times as they like in the categories of Cutest Dog, Cutest Cat and Cutest Other Pet. Each photo entry costs £3.

It’s easy to take part, all participants need to do is send a photo of their pet to fundraising.hyweldda@wales.nhs.uk and follow the instructions in this link: https://hyweldda.enthuse.com/cf/pet-competition.

The competition is open to everyone in the Health Board area. Entries close on 30th June 2022. The final three in each category will be chosen by the Hywel Dda Health Charities team. The winners are then chosen by an online voting poll and will be announced in July.

There are 1st place prizes in each category donated by Wynnstay, Burns Pet Food and Vincent Davies Department Stores.

Diane Henry, fundraising support officer, said: “Each time people enter our Pet Competition with pictures of their fabulous pets, they are helping us to provide services and activities above and beyond what the NHS can provide.. Thank you for your continued support.”

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