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Tonight, the Cooper City commission will discuss creating a law to prohibit residents from feeding wildlife. The impetus for the law is a long-running dispute between one local woman who likes Muscovy ducks and her neighbors who are tired of duck poop on their lawn and patio.

We understand how duck droppings can be unpleasant, and although we appreciate that feeding Muscovy ducks is enjoyable, feeding wildlife is often not in their best interest and feeding bans can be a good solution to conflicts. A feeding ban is preferable to another solution Cooper City is considering: “removing” the ducks. Killing ducks or allowing a trapper to take ducks and sell them to a farm are bad ideas.

Feeding Ducks. The feeding of ducks may encourage an increase in population and lead to problems with humans. The best food for ducks is what they eat naturally— algae, insects and a variety of plants. If you do feed Muscovy ducks, feed them in or near the water (so they will not defecate on private property). Feed them cracked corn, which has more nutritional value than bread. Don’t feed ducks more than they can eat; uneaten food will rot quickly in warm weather.

Feeding-ban ordinances. Several cities in Florida have enacted ordinances in an attempt to reduce conflicts between humans and ducks. Feeding-ban ordinances take many forms. Some cities, such as Tamarac, have a broad prohibition of feeding any wildlife within city limits. Other cities, such as Margate and Lauderdale Lakes, only prohibit the feeding of ducks. The City of Sunrise prohibits the feeding of ducks, except if it is done near a canal or lake. The City of Hollywood, Florida, prohibits the feeding of ducks and pigeons in a way that creates a public nuisance.

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