The Majestic Monthly

WATERFOWL NEWS FLOWN IN FRESH OFF THE PRESS

Issue 20: August 2006

In This Issue...

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Mating for Life

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This Duck's No Lemon!

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Waterfowl Enrichment Activities

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Something...

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Splinting Broken Legs:
Part II

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Get to Know Your Predators: The Bobcat

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Phipps Country

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Recommended Reading:
Animal Tracks Guides

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Reader Poll #20
 

To Make a Donation, please click here:  Donation

Check out our new arrivals

Click Here to view our adoptable ducks and geese and you too can make a difference in someone's life!

Splinting Broken Legs:
Part II

We received some excellent comments regarding our article on broken legs. One person commented that if you canít find a vet in your area, you can sometimes turn to a certified wildlife rehabber for assistance. Be sure they have plenty of experience with leg splints on birds and remember to make a healthy donation. Another great suggestion is the Ornithology Department at your local college or university. These helpers may remember an anti-inflammatory or antibiotic, but they will often forget to provide your duck or goose with much needed painkillers. Be sure to insist upon them for the comfort of your feathered friend.

Click here to locate a Wildlife Rehabber near you.

Get to Know Your Predators: The Bobcat

Bobcats can be anywhere from fifteen to thirty pounds (males 20-30 pounds, females 15-25 pounds) and can jump up as high as twelve feet. Bobcats are solitary animals who, like the fox, are very adaptable and can live in very close proximity with humans without being detected. If you do come in contact with a bobcat, they can be provoked to attack, so use extreme caution.

Motion sensing lights around your duck pen can be helpful, but a large guard dog can be of greater assistance if this predator is a known trouble-maker in your area.

Phipps Country To Donate Portion of Proceeds

Phipps Country Store and Farm in Pescadero California sells a number of duck and goose related items you may be interested in:

Blown Goose Eggs
Egg Decorating Book
Jackite Bird Kites
Jackite Kite Flying Kits

If you purchase any of the items above through the Phipps Country website, Phipps will donate a percentage of the proceeds from these items to us!

To view these products and place an order, simply visit the Phipps Country website.

When checking out, answer "Yes" when asked, "Were you referred by Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary?" That way Phipps will know to send us a percentage of the proceeds for the part of your order that contains any of the items above.

Recommended Reading:
Animal Tracks Guides

Animal Tracks of New England (Lone Pine Field Guides)

By Ian Sheldon et al.

Each book in the series is aimed at a precise geographical area, insuring the most relevant information for the reader.

Concise descriptions of the animals and their tracks are combined with detailed drawings of the front and back prints, stride patterns and other important identifying aspects. Each animal is captured in accurate black-and-white illustrations, including pattern and print comparisons. A perfect guide for teachers, parents, hikers and urban adventurers.

The following is a list of all the Animal Track books by region. To learn more about a title and/or to order it from Amazon.com, simply click on the title link below. If you order from Amazon.com by way of this link, Majestic receives a portion of the proceeds!

Animal Tracks Books:

Alaska
Alberta
Appalachians
Arizona & New Mexico
Atlantic Canada
British Columbia
Carolinas
Florida, Georgia, Alabama
Great Lakes
Great Plains
Indiana
Kentucky & Tennessee
Manitoba
Maryland, Delaware, Virginia
Minnesota & Wisconsin
Mississippi & Louisiana
Missouri & Arkansas
Nevada & The Great Basin
New England
New Jersey
Northern California
Ohio
Ontario
Quebec
Rockies
Saskatchewan
Southern California
Texas
Washington & Oregon

Reader Poll #20

Question: What kinds of enrichment activities do you do with your ducks and geese?

Voting Has Closed.
Please see next issue for results.

Results of Reader Poll #19

What would you do if your duck or goose broke a leg?
 

Take it to the vet 100%
Try to splint it myself 0%
Have a friend splint it 0%
Post to forums for advice 0%
"Wait and see" approach 0%
Euthanize the duck/goose 0%
 

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.

Remembering Joven in Photos...


Joven (L) and Elijah (R)

Mating for Life

Itís easy to see that many of the domestic ducks and geese at Majestic share deep friendships, but do they mate for life?

We find that domestic ducklings and goslings raised up together form the tightest bonds. As a result, when we rescue ducks off of ponds, it is usually evident which of them were raised together. In addition to preferring one anotherís company over that of other flock members (especially when the mating season comes to a close), they exhibit similar behaviors and preferences. As an example: Puddles, Echo and Jeru were all rescued off of the same pond together. Although the three are very close friends, Puddles and Jeru enjoy being held and pet in a particular way, which differs slightly from Echo and the other ducks in the sanctuary. Therefore, we know that Puddles and Jeru were raised together and subsequently abandoned together.

It is worth mentioning that ducks who have spent a great deal of time together and who are later separated will often recognize one other upon being reunited again, even after long periods of time. Furthermore, we have also seen them recognize owners who they have not seen in over a year. Their memories are quite good, as with geese.

We have a few ducks and geese listed as adoptable on the site who we are trying to place together in a home. They are usually boys with tight friendships who have definitely been around each other for a long time, if not always. We try to place these duos and trios together, but ultimately, ducks can be fickle. Most often, it is more important to find wonderful homes for ducks rather than trying to ensure that everyone goes together (geese are another story).

Just because ducks do not mate for life, doesnít mean that they do not feel loss when a member of their flock is no longer presentómale or female. As we adopt ducks out, sometimes their close friends, still remaining at the sanctuary, feel remorse. On these occasions, they will actively search and call for their missing partner. When this happens, we immediately introduce a new roommate or put them in a different pen with new neighbors. This adds a great deal of excitement to their routine and will usually provide an instant distraction for them, which will ease them through their transition. We have had excellent results utilizing this tactic.

Drakes and hens that are adopted out will normally form immediate bonds with their new flock mates of the opposite gender and never look back. They get very excited upon introductions and get right to becoming acquainted with their new friends.

Normally, a single drake will try to mate with as many hens as are available to him, although he may single out a few favoritesówith the favorites frequently changing. Hens may tend to favor a particular drake, but they often change their minds and can be quite fickle as well. New sanctuary drakes often tickle a henís fancy upon arrival and coax them into changing their loyalties. Most ducks are very curious and very flirtatious.

There are rare occasions when a pair of ducks seem to prefer one otherís company solely above all others. In fact, of all the rescues we have done, only Tiny Tim and Phoebe ever demonstrated this trait. Timmy and Phoebe came off of the same pond with nearly a dozen other ducks. It didnít take us long to learn that when Phoebe was not in Timmyís immediate presence he grew unruly and was a ferocious biter. Once we discovered that she was the source of his happiness and we set the two in their own pen together, the barn was a much happier place. Even though Timmy fawned over and favored Phoebe, when he went to his new home with other hens he did not remain monogamous.

For the most part, domestic ducks do not mate for life; however, there are always exceptions when it comes to the heart.

Geese on the other hand are more widely known for their close and loving bonds between pairs. A gander will ferociously protect and covet his hen, much more so than ducks. Geese are known to mate for life. If separated, both geese will mourn the loss, frequently calling out. Whether or not they find a new mate often depends on the bird. However, as with ducks, there can be exceptions. Geese also differ than ducks in that both parents will tend to the goslings; whereas, ducklings are only tended to by their mothers.

Sanctuary geese Ali and Chan are both ganders; still, when Ali left the site for a brief trip to the vetís office, Chan desperately called out for his best friend during the entire two hours that Ali was away. Even when we sat with Chan and kept him company, his sorrow was not eased. When Ali came home and was released from his crate, the two boys ran to the pond together, took turns draping their necks over one another other and then swam in joyous circles.


This Duck's No Lemon!

We are so accustomed to receiving emails regarding hatching programs gone awry in schools and the homeless ducklings that are the result, that we were pleasantly surprised to receive a different kind of email. This is the story of a responsible teacher who hatched out a lame duckling named Lemon in her classroom.

Laura is a Kindergarten teacher who prearranged a good home for four Pekin ducklings before hatching them out in her classroom. She was well educated on proper techniques and had her waterfowl vet lined up in case of emergency. Upon hatching, she discovered that one of the ducklings, a little hen named Lemon, was lame and had some neurological issues. She brought the duckling to the vet for examination and she also contacted us for some general care advice.

Lemon not only taught students about egg to duckling development, but also an important lesson about animals with special needs. Lemon is not a throw away duck, not a mistake, not a project gone wrong, but rather a very special duck with very special needs. Students learned a valuable life lesson from Lemon and from their teacher. Imperfections do not make animals disposable or unworthy of love. Students and teachers alike assisted in Lemonís special care, holding and petting her frequently throughout the day.

Laura kept custody of Lemon, taking her home every day and allowing her daily swims in her tub to ensure that her legs are as strong as they can be. To strengthen her neck muscles, which help her reach her oil gland, Laura holds earthworms (one of Lemonís favorite snacks) over Lemonís oil gland and makes Lemon reach back both to her right and to her left to get her snacks. Lemon also takes vitamins to help her stay strong and vibrant.

Laura and her friends have constructed a harness out of a small life preserver, which enables them to hold the straps and allow Lemon to feel what itís like to stand up. They also put her in a stroller and take her for walks at their local park. Although she will most likely never walk, Lemon is given experiences and exercises that stimulate and enrich her life.

Lemon's Website


Waterfowl Enrichment Activities

Turn on the sprinklers!
Lawn sprinklers or even a simple garden hose sprayed in the air can make a ton of fun for your ducks and geese. Waterfowl who are new to this experience may run at first, but eventually a hot day will come and they will just turn their bellies to the spray for a good cool off. Ducks and geese model behavior from one another, so if you can get one of your flock members to turn their belly to you, the others will most likely watch and eventually learn to do it too.

To avoid injuries, be careful not to chase your waterfowl with water spray. Let them learn to come to you. Begin by getting them accustomed to the site of spraying water and then, over the course of time, close the gap. Aim the water at their feet when teaching your waterfowl not to be afraid; when they get used to this, lift the spray up to their tummies.

Make 'em mud wrestle!
We can never say enough about this enrichment activity. Whatever the attraction is, it will keep your flock happily engaged for a long time as they sift through it. Make a mud puddle and let them play in it. Be sure to have your camera ready because you are about to be pleasantly surprised.

This adventure is best followed by a good swim!

Break out the kiddie pool!
Kiddie pools
are a yearlong adventure for your flock. Be sure to keep pools clean, and by clean we donít mean ďclearĒ we mean ďfresh.Ē Ducks and geese will often mess up their water with mud within minutes of a filling. Be sure water is not allowed to go stagnant or ferment. Pools should be emptied and refilled daily, especially in summer. For added fun toss some treats into the kiddie pool. Healthy veggie snacks added to a pool can provide an excellent source of enrichment for your waterfowl.

Another great idea is to buy a dozen live bait fish from your local bait shop. Let them go in a kiddie pool and watch how your ducks and geese react. Some ducks and geese will simply watch curiously, others will jump in and try to catch lunch, yet others may take some time to get used to the idea of sharing their pool.

Join them for a swim!
Swimming is not only enriching for them, but for you as well. If you have a water source on your property and are accustomed to standing on shore and watching your flock play around, shake things up a bit and jump in the water with themóor take a ride out on a small inflatable boat. You will experience a whole new level of interaction with your birds when you share the water with them. Donít have a pond? Get a big kiddy pool and sit down in it with themódonít worry, a little duck poop wonít hurt you!

Dig up some tasty critter snacks!
Nightcrawlers
are one of the favorite treats of most ducks. You can either dig them up yourself or purchase them. If you purchase them, your flock will soon recognize the container they come in and will get very excited at the site of the snacks approaching. Ducks will actually hop up to snatch these little buggers out of your hands. They canít get enough of them!

If you are going to dig up your own earthworms, be sure to keep your waterfowl away from your shovel. Our flock members know that when they see a shovel come out of the barn worms will be served. They get very excited and must be penned away from the digging site to avoid any safety hazards. Overeager waterfowl will poke their bills dangerously out under a shovel blade in an instant.

Make them do the work!
Another fun way to introduce worms to your ducks is to take a small bucket, dump a dozen worms into the bottom, add a small amount of water. Then, dig up a clump of grass, with plenty of soil in the roots. Get the soil good and wet without washing it away. Set the clump of grass into the bucket and give the worms a few hours to work their way into the soil of the roots. Later, take the grass clump out of the bucket, get it good and wet, so the soil is muddy and workable. Lay it down on the ground in your duck pen, so the soil/root side is face up. Your ducks will love digging through the roots and mud in search of the treasures hidden inside.

Set up lights to attract bugs!
This is a great evening adventure for your flock. As the sun sets, place a flashlight or lantern in your waterfowl enclosure. Your flock may be nervous of it at first, but once they see the bugs begin to gather around it, they will lose their fear quickly and come in for a tasty treat.

Go exploring!
Adventures to new and unexplored areas of the yard are a great treat for your flock. After inspecting an area and confirming that there are no hazards, escort your flock members on an exploration. They will love you for it.


Majestic Farewell...

Joven was an amazing rescue who has been sharing his hugs openly with us and with nearly every visitor who has passed through the doors of our sanctuary.

Our hearts were saddened by his sudden and unexpected loss this July.

 

Best friend of Elijah, our arms will always miss you, dear boy... Your spirit is so beautiful and has inspired so many to love...

       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