Don't go quackers over ducks!

FEEDING the ducks at Rushmere St Andrew too much bread is just plain quackers – say residents in the area.Visitors are ignoring signs not to feed the ducks after 2pm at the tranquil beauty spot on the outskirts of Ipswich.

By Amanda Cresswell

FEEDING the ducks at Rushmere St Andrew too much bread is just plain quackers – say residents in the area.

Visitors are ignoring signs not to feed the ducks after 2pm at the tranquil beauty spot on the outskirts of Ipswich.

Residents say feeding the ducks so often at Rushmere Pond attracts vermin into their gardens.


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It is thought the parish council – who is responsible for the land – had employed contractors to put rat poison down to solve the problem.

But some residents say the whole knock on effect is that it could affect other wildlife.

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"People come on a regular basis to the pond to feed the ducks but they don't realise that ducks are self-sufficient," said pensioner and wildlife lover Milly Howard who lives opposite Rushmere Pond.

"The pond attracts a number of visitors and it is lovely for people to come here because it is so close to the town.

"But there are signs not to feed the ducks after 2 pm. They are in plain English for everyone to see but no one takes any notice of them.

"We are not being kill-joys or anything it's just the wider issue that it could lead to wildlife decline.

"We have got grandchildren and I understand with people bringing little children and taking with them a piece of bread to feed the ducks. But people are bringing armfuls of it.

"There is one person in particular we have issue with who is bringing not just bread, but lays down masses of grain.

"It means we as residents have a problem with rats. The ducks are so full so the rats come and get the food. I had a big rat in my garden and contacted Suffolk Coastal District Council.

"We have written letters back and forth to the council but there is nothing they can do about it. A lot of people are really concerned."

Grahame Madge RSPB press officer, said the affect on birds would depend on the poison.

Although the poison, Warfarin, which has been used for decades has a low risk to birds of prey RSPB were worried about some newer generation more potent chemicals people were using.

They advised the local authority to use poison in accordance with strict guidelines.

"There is some risk to birds of prey if they use it but in an area where there is public access you must ensure there is not a risk to say pets and foxes, etc," said Mr Madge. "The local authority also has a duty to remove the rat corpses."

He said RSPB were concerned about people feeding ducks in a closed water area like Rushmere pond because of the affect on water quality. He advised

people to feed the ducks in moderation.

Meanwhile Suffolk Coastal said they had put rat poison down in areas where they didn't want other animals to go in the autumn of 1999. The parish council clerk, however, blatantly refused to comment on whether or not the council had been using rat poison.

Other problems include motorists ignoring speed limits and tearing past the pond – posing a danger to wandering ducks.

Terry Howard, Milly's husband, said that since the extra traffic lights were put up on Main Road in Kesgrave, motorists use the Rushmere village as a detour turning it in to a rat-run of a different nature.

"They put the speed limit signs up but I don't think anyone really observes them," he added."

Two years ago the Evening Star spearheaded a campaign to warn motorists to slow down to save the ducks.

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