A pair of Canadian Geese patrol the shores of one of the lakes at Clayton County International Park Wednesday. County commissioners approved an agreement to provide vending machines that will dispense duck, geese and fish food at the park Tuesday. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)
JONESBORO — Clayton County Parks and Recreation officials hope new vending machines at International Park will be all they’re quacked up to be.
County commissioners unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with Vaulted Vending to install gumball machine-style dispensers for the park during their business meeting Tuesday. Parks and Recreation Director Detrick Stanford said the vending machines will dispense duck, geese and fish food at a cost of 25 cents.
The machines are being purchased, Stanford said, because of a growing issue with fowl droppings. In other words, officials have decided there’s too much poop in the park.
“We have an influx of constituents that go in and feed the geese bread and its hard for us to control the feces,” Stanford said. “Therefore, by having a machine that dispenses it [the proper food], it still gives them a chance to interact with the wildlife, but we can control the feces.”
The county will not spend any money to maintain or fill the the dispensers, according to the agreement. That will be the responsibility of Vaulted Vending.
However, the county did agree to split proceeds from the machines 50-50 in exchange for allowing Vaulted Vending to install them at the park, the agreement states. County documents show a full dispenser is expected to hold about $200 worth of food.
The county will receive its share of the proceeds each year on April 30, June 30, Aug. 31, Oct. 31 and Dec. 31.
While the purchase may sound odd, what a duck or goose eats can have a serious impact on its health, according to the Duck Rescue Network. Officials with the group warn that feeding human foods, such as bread, to fowl can increase the amount of fat in their organs and put them at risk of developing health issues such as heart disease and liver problems.
Stanford said there have been cases of ducks and geese dying at the park, possibly because of what visitors are feeding them.
“But they’ve become so domesticated,” Stanford said. “We can’t change that, but we can change some of the digestive tract issues that’s causing them to defecate all over the park.”
But only time will tell if the dispensers will help the ducks and geese quack another day.