The Majestic Monthly

WATERFOWL NEWS FLOWN IN FRESH OFF THE PRESS

Issue 12: December 2005

In This Issue...

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Season's Greetings!

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Where Are They Now: You Let Us Know!

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Does your barn need heating in Winter?

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A great Holiday gift idea

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Get to know your predators: Raccoon

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The Month in Photos!

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Recommended Reading:
Duck Skates

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Reader Poll #12
 

A Great Holiday Gift Idea

The holidays are upon us, and our sponsorship package (pictured below) is a great idea for the waterfowl lover in your family!

Sponsors receive a certificate, a welcome letter, a post card, a canvas painted by a Majestic resident, and the recipient’s name is listed on our Sponsorship Hall of Fame web page along with a brief message.

[Sponsor Information]

Get to Know Your Predators: The Raccoon

Raccoons weigh around thirty pounds. They prefer to do most of their dirty work in darkness; however, they can sometimes be seen during the day. 

The number one thing that raccoons do is look for food, so do not underestimate the determination of this crafty predator. They are lured in by duck food and the ducks themselves. They are very good problem solvers and excellent lock picks. I can remember a few occasions as a youngster when a raccoon let our chickens out while getting at the grain. Padlocks, thankfully, are beyond their capabilities.

Raccoons are capable of tearing and biting through aviary netting and poultry fencing to get at your ducks. A raccoon will employ every tactic at its disposal to get at your flock. Worst of all, raccoons have been known to eat a duck right through the fencing if they can get their paws on any part of the sleeping bird.

Avoid luring raccoons into your yard by keeping attractive food items out of their reach. Predator urine (available at your local grain store) applied often around your enclosure may help keep raccoons away, but don’t rely on this measure alone. You may have some added success by keeping motion lights around your barn at night, but once they grow accustomed to this, it will lose its effectiveness. A dog is not necessarily a good idea to keep raccoons away from your pens since a confrontation will most likely end with your dog in a vet office. As with any wild animal, be extremely cautious of rabies when dealing with raccoons. They are known carriers in many regions.

A REMINDER ABOUT RABIES…
Whenever you are dealing with wild animals, be it the animal itself, or the remains of its kill, ALWAYS wear protective clothing. DO NOT touch wild animals or prey animals (either living or dead) with your bare skin. Thoroughly clean or discard any clothing or items that have touched the wild animal or prey animal.

The Month in Photos!

Daphnee

Daphnee SPLASHES!

Clean up detail!

Bottoms up!

Elijah & Joven... best friends...

The boys SPLASH!

Recommended Reading*


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Ordering information |

Duck Skates
By Lynne Berry
Illustrated by Hiroe Nakata

* For our full recommended reading list, click here. If you order from Amazon.com by way of our web site, Majestic receives a portion of the proceeds!

Book Description

Five ducks spend the day frolicking in the snow, then return home to cocoa and sleep. Their activities are described in clever, rhyming verses with one or two sentences per page that subtly present simple math concepts: Five ducks tramp. Ten boots stamp. Their antics often divide them into smaller groups. Three ducks slip down the hill and slide. Two ducks, stomping, tromp inside. When they skate past a sign that reads STOP! SNOW! they crash into a deep pile and begin a snowball fight.

The illustrations follow the text exactly, allowing children to count the ducks engaged in each activity. The watercolor-and-ink pictures convey the playfulness in warm, cozy tones, and a surprising amount of expression is conveyed in simple lines. The steady rhythm makes this an appealing choice to read aloud, particularly one-on-one or with a small group.

Reader Poll #12

Question: What is your favorite part of the Majestic Monthly newsletter?

Health Articles
Predator Articles
"All About" Breed Articles
"How To" Articles
Updates on Ducks/Geese
Featured Books
Current Events/News
Other

Voting Has Closed.
Please see next issue for results.

Results of Reader Poll #11

What topics/subjects would you like to read about in future Majestic Monthly newsletters?

Answer: Do we need to heat our barns in winter? (Read article in this newsletter to find out!)

Contact Us

Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary
17 Barker Road
Lebanon, CT 06249
director@majesticwaterfowl.org

Our Newsletter

The Majestic Monthly is published 12 times per year. Back issues can be obtained online from our Newsletter Archives.

Season's Greetings!


 


Where are They Now: You Let Us Know!

Dodger, Delia & Doris

Dodger, Delia, and Doris are still shy, but they talk to me when I come into the barn to let them outside. I love all animals, so I'm glad to be able to give these birds a home. Our geese were in a bad situation, too. They were given to me by a lady who kept them in a very small pen. They are much happier now. They all have a lot of room and a safe place to sleep in the barn at night. The geese tend to rule the roost, in that they get first pickings on the greens and treats. So I feed the ducks separately in their pen. But during the day the ducks steal food from the goose pen, so it all evens out.

Six Duckies to Kentucky

While at a golf course the week before Easter in 2003, we could not have imagined how much our life was going to change. We found a couple-day-old duckling, and decided to take her home. We knew nothing about ducks, but spent a lot of time on the internet learning everything we could...that's how we eventually came across Kim and Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary, which led to adding six more wonderful ducks to our original Qwaka.

In January of this year we decided to adopt Fiona from Majestic because we thought that Qwaka could use some company. They were quick friends. Then, while keeping up with Kim and Majestic, we read the story about Joseph and we knew we wanted to give this sweet duck a home also. When I drove to Connecticut to pick up Joseph and saw what great friends he was with Jonah we decided, heck, what's the difference between three ducks or four? Jonah and Fiona recognized each other from Spaulding pond (where they were both rescued from) immediately! Qwaka wasn't too sure about boys, but it didn't take too long for her and Joseph to be inseparable!

Our "what's a few more" philosophy came into play in September with a visit from Kim, which resulted in a rescue on Waterford pond that brought us our darling three new girls, Sharona, Leona, and Dixie! They are all one big happy family and love their lives on Sideways Farm in Wilmore, Kentucky. And we couldn't be happier with our flock...they make our lives so much more full!

Dale (Formerly "Standish"): A Big Boy!

We thought Dale was the biggest drake we had every seen…well, you should see his kids! He hooked up with Joyce, a rescued Blue Swede hen, and they were right to name their son Godzilla! Dale is enjoying life in the lap of luxury. He has a roomy daytime run with kiddy pool and a safe night time lock up that he and his flock share. Dale and his family enjoy a daily treat of leaf lettuce and have even been known to play some soccer with the other ducks using the leftover lettuce core!

Melusine (Formerly "Lucky") & Jake the Drake

Jake and Mel are wonderful! I love to watch them swim and waddle around my back yard. They are enjoying our big backyard buffet of food, their kiddie pool and the adventures of the yard (it’s so big to them they have only explored half of it). They get to share the space with the dog and neither gets in each others way. They easily go into their cage at night and out in the morning, they come to us when we go outside. Mel is still getting used to us holding her, but Jake is a big picker-upper; he loves it!

Donald & Daisy

Donald and Daisy are doing great. They are beautiful birds, and we are having fun with them. They are getting along pretty well with the others (Wilma, Wellington, and Webster). We started digging another yard for the ducks! 7.5' X 16' I have a nice big fish pond and would like to put it in for them. I know they would love it.

Viggo, Liv, & Anna

The ducks enjoyed the pond by day in the summer—however shallow it became, and a cozy barn at night that they share with the guinea hens and chickens. Anna and Viggo join Daisy and Daffy venturing throughout the large yard in search of tasty morsels while Liv prefers to sunbathe by the side of the pond—never venturing far from the edge. She is capable of getting around quite well on foot and in the water, but prefers to relax pond-side most of the time. They spend most days out in the fresh air and willingly return to the comforts of the barn at night.

Talulah

 

Talulah is very happy in her new home with her new flock of friends!

 

Abby & Amelia

 

How about these spoiled ducks in a heart-shaped tub?! We love it! Both girls are doing great and enjoying their new home with their companion drake Ping

 

John  

John has fully integrated into his flock. Priscilla, his Pekin lady friend, is quite the flirt—courting both males, who have been quite cordial to each other, under the circumstances!

Clark Cluck, Petunia, & Violet
(Formerly Hewey, Dewey, & Lewey)


The beautiful trio are doing well, enjoying their new life and apparently enjoying their little pond as well!

Phebes

Look at the coloring on this beautiful Muscovy hen! Phebes came to us with pale white feet and bill. If you recall she came to us with the tip of her upper bill missing.

A few months after joining her new family and getting on a good diet, her feet turned yellow and her red mask appeared. Phebes shares her heated barn with indoor pond and her outdoor enclosure with her pal Joey.

Aflac

Since my rescue, I have enjoyed steady eats, great shelter, bathing facilities, and the companionship of three other ducks, as well as Shirley, our guardian goose. While Shirley is our guardian, I quickly appointed myself as leader of the pack! After eating breakfast, my friends and I will patiently pace back and forth at the gate. Finally, our owner will open the gate, and as I lead my friends out to the freedom of the yard, we all vocally express our heartfelt "thank you"! Once "on the loose" I generally take the lead and all ducks and a goose are on a treasure hunt!

A large country lawn may provide for the usual grass, bugs, and the like, but dessert consists of the scrumptious flowers lovingly planted by the owners. Because the owners believe in healthy eating, we are not allowed to indulge endlessly on flowers, leaving us to find other dietary delights. After our mid-morning nap and a swim, we huddle and I again motivate the gang, giving orders and leading them into temptationmy favorite being that of the wooded area at the edge of the lawn. This area is great in the summer, providing cool shade and numerous eating delights. However, once again our owner only allows this adventure to last for a limited time before we are lovingly escorted back to our swimming pool in the backyard.


Does Your Barn Need Heating in Winter?

For most regions of the U.S., the answer to this question is no. If you have some kind of wall insulation and a thick layer of bedding (at least 4 inches compacted) under their feet your ducks will be fine during colder temperatures. The more ducks and geese you have cuddling together, the warmer your flock will be.

Be wary of weather warnings in your area; during extreme cold (temps below freezing) you may need to periodically heat their enclosure with a space heater or heat lamp. Plug it in only while you are present and able to monitor its functioning—you can visit your feathered friends while it works. If your shelter is properly insulated and draft-free, the heater will take the chill out of the air. REMEMBER to turn the heater source off and unplug it before you leave. Availability of warm drinking water is always a nice way to keep your ducks warm from the inside on cold days.

Some sources will say a heated barn will disrupt or confuse waterfowl’s molting cycle, but since ducks survive without any difficulty or confusion in our lower, warmer states; we believe this is a myth. Ducks and geese always appreciate heat, but try to avoid using any heating devices while you are not present. If you have a heating system, be sure it is professionally installed and maintained to avoid fire hazards.

Remember, ducks still need to bathe in the winter to keep their feathers preened for good insulation. In extreme cold weather, be sure they get a chance to bathe at least 2-3 times a week for 10-15 minutes in a basin or tub.


       Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee in connection with any guidance provided on this website. Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility for loss or damage resulting from its use or for the violation of any federal, state or municipal law or regulation with which such guidance may conflict. Any guidance is general in nature. In addition, the assistance of a qualified professional should be enlisted to address any specific circumstances.
 

© Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary 2005