Food Scraps for Wildlife

If you are a mother who periodically finds half a peanut butter sandwich, the bottom of a cupcake or a partially eaten cookie left by a child whose eyes were bigger than their stomach, there is a solution other than the "momism" about starving children in Africa (China, Bangladesh, Uganda ...). In a friend's house, the scraps are deposited in a large, covered, plastic container labeled, "good-will can". The children know that these leftovers will be put out daily for the birds, squirrels and other animals who share the world with us. We have attracted many varieties of birds and small animals that are fun to watch and and have taught the children that they can share with those less fortunate who are not human

I do this with leftover cat food, and food scraps but I put it into a freezer container. When the containers are full and there are a half dozen, I take them out to my daughter's dog who thinks they are a wonderful treat. They arrive in a red grocery bag and this dog KNOWS that they are for him (he shares with his cat too!)

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By Cinnamon from Williams Lake, BC

December 11, 20080 found this helpful

Great idea! I thought I was the only one who did this....I also give the birds/squirrels stale cereal such as cheerios & corn flakes and tostitos and they flock to my yard. I feed them every 2 or 3 days as we cannot allow them to "forget" how to hunt for their own food in the wild.

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December 13, 20080 found this helpful

I also insist on this. We live in the country in AZ and we have a large assortment of wildlife that comes to our yard. Because it is so dry here we do keep a faucet on a steady drip in our yard year round. Left over food, scraps, etc. go out to feed whatever arrives in our yard. It goes out at random times and random amounts and there is not enough to keep all of our wild friends fed; but, it does give them some variation in their diet and supplements what is available locally.

We have small antelope squirrels, cottontail bunnies, jack rabbits, and even coyotes. For birds we primarily have dove, quail, and hummingbirds; but, we also are visited by roadrunners, hawks, and vultures and once a migrating great white owl stopped for water. He was magnificent and very rare here.

I do not believe in wasting food and I also do not believe in eating just so something will not go bad or be wasted. We have enough of a problem in our country with obesity. So giving the food to our wild neighbors is a great solution.

These animals are in no way "tame"; but, they give us hours of enjoyment watching them through our windows. And, they have come to think of our property as a "safe" location. When some idiot gut-shot a coyote; it came to our home and took shelter beside our door. Once we realized what had happened and how severe the injury was, we did the only thing we could to help it. We called the local wildlife authorities and had it euthanized humanely. But, it trusted us enough to come to us for safety and help. We just wish it had not been hurt so badly it could not recover.

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December 13, 20080 found this helpful

Cat food is detrimental to the health of dogs, bad for them, does not support their nutritional needs & does supply things that can harm them (cause early kidney failure, etc). Even though they tend to like it dogs should not eat cat food. Same for cats eating dog food, it is not formulated for them & can actually be harmful by not providing what they require or providing harmful things.

Each needs their own food. It is nice to share w/ wildlife & they probably do need food as it is sometimes hard to come by. If these unhealthy scraps were their only food source it would be bad for them. As a supplement in lean times, they eat what they have available to eat. Some 'junk food' might be better than no food at all.

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December 13, 20080 found this helpful

We also do the same thing an what an enjoyment this is. When moving to the country from the city an I no longer had a food disposal that I thought I could not get along without turn out to be a blessing. not only for the little animals but for us too, I would not give a plug nickle for a disposal now an know we are doing the human thing helping our little friends finding food.

We also have some of the most beautiful animals that come each day to get a bite to eat. when its cold out side I warm the food in the microwave so it will warm them up. If you think about it a food disposal is a "big" waste of food.

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December 18, 20080 found this helpful

I LOVE the way You All think !!! And do. Thank You!! GG Vi

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Anonymous Flag
December 24, 20090 found this helpful

Bless your heart! Any food whether bad for a being or not is better than any being going hungry! And we all need to think more about 'waste not, want not' :-)

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December 25, 20090 found this helpful

Although the idea of feeding wildlife comes from a place of kindness , is just not the right thing to do - it actually hurts the animals you are trying to help. Please do not feed wildlife.

The following information is from a Wildlife Ring website from Tim Susman (http://www.foxes.org/urbanfox/feeding.html): The best thing you can do for wild animals is leave them alone, unless they're injured. There are several concerns with feeding wild animals:

The most serious problem is that the animals may become habituated to people. As they lose their fear of people, they will become bolder in approaching people and may put themselves in hazardous situations they would normally avoid. Not all people are well-disposed towards wildlife, remember. Those who aren't actively hostile may be afraid of an over-friendly animal, especially a raccoon or a fox, notorious rabies carriers (although raccoons and domestic dogs are more likely to be carrying rabies than foxes are).

Another concern is that the animals, if fed regularly, will come to depend on humans for their food. They won't starve if you stop feeding them, but they will be hungry and unafraid of people, and could get very aggressive in approaching other people.

There is always the fact that these are wild animals. They may eat tamely out of your hand for weeks on end, and one day they may be startled by something and bite you. If you are bitten by a wild fox, you should report the injury to a hospital, which will notify the state department of health. You will probably have to get a series of rabies shots, which are expensive and painful (though they are given in the arm and not the stomach). There is even a chance that someone will come out to try to find the fox that bit you, in which case it will have to be killed for tests.

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December 25, 20090 found this helpful

One doesn't need to stand there with foodscraps in your hand in order to harm wild animals. I saw an exhibit at the Grand Canyon which demonstrated just what can happen to deer and squirrels that, for whatever reason, eat plastic containers. I guess it's not common sense to them, they've no idea what plastic is. Let's take the lead from wildlife experts and understand that wildlife is wild. We have the mistaken idea that we're helping wild animals and we're saving the planet by not wasting our leftovers, but again, we're hurting the animals we think we're helping. That's all the common sense there is to it.

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December 25, 20090 found this helpful

I too did this very thing for years, years ago when the children were small. We lived in a very old rented farm house with 10 rooms...the children fed our scraps of food to the animals and then it happened; the house filled up with mice in the walls AND also snakes after the mice. Needless to say we had to move out of the house as I did not need snakes slivering through our homes dining room (which we witnessed one day).

We left the feeding of God's animals up to him from then on.

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December 25, 20090 found this helpful

I see nothing wrong with putting food out for birds or animals, provided they are natural food to them. Most people don't know that most animals have nothing in their systems to dissolve sugar. It is bad for them.

Contact your wildlife center to find out what to feed wild birds and which animals to feed and which ones not to feed.

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September 3, 20130 found this helpful

While it sounds like an educational experience for the children, and sounds like an act of kindness for the animals, feeding them "people" food is a bad idea. Besides the fact it doesn't break down in their systems the way their natural food of choice does, it entices unwanted behavior/guests. For example, now and then when trash day is missed and there might be a piece of fruit or vegetable that should have been thrown out, I would give it a pitch in the woods behind us. That was until we had to replace our entire roof due to raccoons. After that, we never throw food out which might invite critters. It was an expensive lesson to learn : (

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