Backyard feeding of wildlife gives us the feeling of intimacy with nature and helping animals survive, but it is not always best for the animal. City ordinance prohibits the feeding of wildlife such as deer, raccoons, turkey, coyotes, feral cats, foxes, skunks, etc.; and water fowl such as geese, ducks, herons, egrets, swans, etc. The one exception is feeding birds with feeders provided feeders are a minimum of five feet above the ground or structure.
Reasons not to feed wildlife
People food isn't good for animals, even "healthy" food is harmful because it alters the animals' foraging patterns and can cause overpopulation, which can lead to starvation. Feeding the wrong diet to young animals can permanently damage developing muscles, bones and tissues. Deer, for instance, have unique digestive systems. They must eat enough specific plant proteins to stimulate the the growth of vital intestinal bacteria. Human food does not produce these organisms and without them, a deer can starve to death on a full stomach.
Animals who learn that people are an easy food source often lose their natural fear of humans. This can be dangerous to humans, pets and other animals.
Migration to human-populated areas to be fed increases the risk of vehicle accidents and property damage.
Feeding creates a dangerous dependency on humans that diminishes the animals' survival abilities.
Feeding interferes with the animals' natural habits and upsets the balance of their lifestyle.
Most wildlife need to migrate a large distance to be in good physical condition. If they know food is available in a particular location, they will remain in that area.
Providing an artificial food source causes adults to produce large families which the natural food supply cannot support.
Unnatural crowding and competition may result when wildlife gather for food handouts. Such unnatural conditions increase the incidence for fighting and injury, attract unwanted rodents, and may increase the spread of diseases, some of which may be transmitted to humans and pets.