The Majestic Monthly

WATERFOWL NEWS FLOWN IN FRESH OFF THE PRESS

Issue 17: May 2006

In This Issue...

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Consider Life Expectancy Before Adopting

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Preventing Injuries During Breeding Season

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Recommended Reading:
Ornithology

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Get to Know Your Predators: Domestic Dog

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Reader Poll #17
 

Get to Know Your Predators: Domestic Dog

Domestic dogs can weigh anywhere from 2-200 pounds. They are found in close association with humans nearly worldwide. If you donít have a dog, one or more of your neighbors most likely does, so you will need to keep this potential predator in mind when building your enclosure.

Dogs range in temperament from gentle to ferocious depending on nature and nurture; that is, their breed type and their training. However, even the kindest pet dog, can turn in a moment of excitement and cause harm to your duck, even if there has never been a problem before. For this reason, you should NEVER leave your dog alone in the company of your duck. We have heard many stories of wonderful and friendly family pets suddenly deciding a chase would be fun. When the duck makes a break for it, the dog gets overly excited and bites at the duck. 

When introducing a duckling to a trained and friendly dog, be extremely cautious (aggressive dogs and ducks donít mix, so donít even try it). It is often wise to allow the dog to smell the duckling from the other side of their pen. Be sure the dog is in a calm state of mind before the introductionóas opposed to an excitable or hyper state of mind.

Dogs are often known for their jealousies, so be extremely cautious with your very fragile duckling. As the duck matures and the dog becomes accustomed to your new duckling, the two should begin to become friends. Puppies or young dogs should never be allowed near ducks or ducklings because their playfulness can easily cause serious injuries or even death.

We once heard a comment about ducks and dogs. Someone had left their ducks in their fenced in front yard while they went into town on an errand. The fencing was by no means predator proof, just enough to keep the ducks inside. A passing dog jumped the fence and the ducks could not get away; they were trapped in their little picket fence, making it even easier for the dog to bring them to their demise. A terrible story to remind you that if you are going to put up a fence, you best put one up that keeps predators out, or you will just be doing them a favor. A fence that is not high enough will only trap your ducks inside, at the mercy of the predator. Build a pen, not a trap for your flock, and never leave your ducks exposed and unprotected when you are not right there to chaperone. 

Reader Poll #17

Question: Which types of fresh eggs have you eaten?

Check all types you have eaten:

Duck Eggs
Goose Eggs
Quail Eggs
Ostrich Eggs
Chicken Eggs

Voting Has Closed.
Please see next issue for results.

Results of Reader Poll #16

Which Pekin is your favorite?
 

Donald Duck 15%
Daisy Duck 0%
Aflac 54%
Joey's Duck on Friends 23%
Howard the Duck 0%
Scrooge McDuck 0%
Jemima Puddle Duck 0%
Huey, Dewey and Louie 8%
 

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.

Consider Life Expectancy Before Adopting

When adding a duck or goose to your family, remember to take their lifespan into consideration. Many people mistakenly think that ducks and geese only live a couple of years. The lifespan of a duck averages about 8-10 years, with some of them living up to 15 years. A goose will average about 15-20 years, with some of them living up to 30 years.

We are often contacted by teenagers interested in adopting birds. Our first question is always, who will take care of the animal when you go to college? Life changes fast for young folks setting off into the world. Parents can quickly inherit a couple of pets that they are not as enthused about as are their children. Parents should take this into consideration before agreeing that duck/goose ownership is right for the family.

People living in temporary apartments should also refrain from adopting since their living situation can change very quickly, leaving animals without a home. Most of the surrendered animals who come to Majestic come from apartments. Owners had to find a new place to live and could not find or afford one that welcomed their duck. Owners are often left in a desperate situation and have no choice but to relinquish their beloved pet.


Preventing Injuries During the Breeding Season

This is the time of year when drakes are most interested in their hens. In order to prevent injuries to your drakes and hens (and ganders and geese), there are a few things to keep in mind.

Flocks avoid most mating injuries when a single drake is penned with a minimum of three to four hens.

Drake hormones begin to surge near the end of winter (February). Hormone levels intensify throughout the spring and summer, leading to overly aggressive behavior in drakes.

Drakes often need to be separated from one another to prevent them from fighting and hurting each other, or from hurting the hens they are competing over. It is not uncommon for competing drakes to drown the hen they are vying for.

Hens can be very easily injured if they are housed with more than one drake, a drake too large for them, or if a drake does not have enough hens as companions. Over-mating can lead to serious leg and hip injuries in hens as drakes mount them on land. Excessive mating can also lead to oviduct prolapse. This occurs when the oviduct (egg laying tube) falls outside of a henís body while laying her egg.

If your hen has an always-present bare spot on the back of her neck or has a batch of feathers missing from under her wings, your drake may not be giving her the break she needs. Give your hens some time off and separate them from their drake with a dividing fence, or consider adding another hen or two to your flock to lighten your henís load. This is obviously only an option if you have the space available to accommodate added hens; you donít want to overcrowd your flock.

When choosing a hen, try to select a girl that is equal to or larger than your drake. This will help lessen the likelihood of her becoming injured during mating. A large drake can easily injure or drown a small hen during mating.

Multiple drake flocks with no hens can often lead to peace and harmony. Be careful not to assume that these boys will remain friends if hens are introduced. Even drakes who were raised up together from ducklings will quickly turn to rivals when a hen is introduced to a flockóeven if the hen is kept in a neighboring pen out of their reach.

In the fall (September) and through to mid-winter, drake hormones wane off. At this time it is sometimes possible for multiple drakes (especially those who have been raised up together from ducklings) to be reintroduced and allowed to share enclosures together with hens without incident.


Recommended Reading*

Ornithology
By Frank B. Gill

| Ordering information |

Description:

Frank Gill offers the most comprehensive, up-to-date look at ornithology available. Not just a catalogue of species, it takes a conceptual, research-based approach to communicating an understanding of birds, providing an interpretive context that gives focus and meaning to the details of avian life.

Covers the impact of evolution on birds, especially the integration of morphological, behavioral, and physiological adaptations; contemporary research on communication and learning, social behavior, mating and reproduction, and population and community ecology; and contributions of avian biology to such fields as ecology, sociobiology, population biology, and biogeography.

This textbook is utilized in nearly all college level ornithology classes. It has been highly recommended to Majestic in response to our inquiries to veterinarians and college professors all over the country. This book, in companionship with Noble S. Proctorís Manual of Ornithology, Avian Structure and Function, is a high recommend for duck and goose owners interested in educating themselves on bird structure and function.

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

       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 2006