The Majestic Monthly


Issue 21: September 2006

In This Issue...


The Trouble with Free-Range Flocks


Donnie the Duck


The Function of the Oviduct


Thank You to Our "Wish List" Donors


The Opening of West Wing


Get to Know Your Predators: The Timber Wolf/Gray Wolf


Recommended Viewing:
Sitting Ducks: Season 1


Reader Poll #21

All The Opening of West Wing

Between cleaning pens, transplanting trees, digging trenches, hog ringing aviary nets, building ponds, raising fences and keeping our guests comfortable and entertained, we somehow found the time to build and open our new quarantine pen. This was a much needed addition to our sanctuary. We want to thank Lew for donating the grassy mat that will keep webbed feet nice and cozy and Dad for building the duck houses.






West Wing is located at the west side of our barn. It measures 10'W x 26'L x 6'H. It is completely predator proof and a nice place for new rescues to relax and enjoy themselves before being relocated to our other pens.

This pen has enabled us to increase our bio-security by raising our quarantine period from a minimum of 2 days to a minimum of 14 days. This allows us more time to observe new ducks and geese before making the decision to move them over to other enclosures. West Wing is hosed down on a daily basis. We keep a 10% bleach solution in a spray bottle at the door and our gear is cleaned as we step out of the enclosure. When birds pass quarantine the pen is emptied and all of its contents are completely disinfected in preparation for the next batch of rescues. These added measures protect our waterfowl and provide a high level of comfort and security to our adopting families.

Get to Know Your Predators: The Timber Wolf/Gray Wolf

The average weight of a Timber Wolf (or Gray Wolf) is sixty pounds for a female and seventy-five pounds for a male. As with coyotes, they will eat anything they can take down, so your best defense is a good offense. The same kind of precautions taken to prevent a coyote attack should be utilized, if not increased, if you have wolves in your area.

Large Wolf Hounds or Anatolian Shepherds are known to be good dogs to keep a wolf at bay.

Recommended Viewing*

| Ordering information |

Sitting Ducks: Season One

Sitting Ducks follows the adventures of Bill, a duck, and Aldo, an alligator. Bill's neighbors in idyllic Ducktown, Ed, Oly and Waddle, often drag the mismatched duo into wacky, and sometimes dangerous adventures. Aldo shows remarkable restraint and patience with his feathered friends, but other gators, who reside in neighboring Swampwood, are more interested in ducks as snacks than as pals.


Reader Poll #21

Question: What kinds of predators are in your area? (Check all that apply):

Bobcats/Mountain Lions
Domestic Dogs/Cats
Snapping Turtles

Voting Has Closed.
Please see next issue for results.

Results of Reader Poll #20

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

Giving grapes for treats
Giving Other Snack Treats
Talking to Them

Contact Us

Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary
17 Barker Road
Lebanon, CT 06249

Our Newsletter

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

The Trouble With Free-Range Flocks

We get inundated with emails from families who have suffered losses to their flocks due to predators. Nearly all of these attacks befall ducks and geese in free-range flocks.

It always seems to start with someone emailing to tell us that they don't understand our concerns about free-ranging. They tell us how their flock has been free-ranged for a year without any losses and then further go on to tell us they don't even have predators where they are. Understand, there are predators everywhere, especially as we encroach further and further on their land and diminish their hunting resources. Predators are patient and resourceful. They will find their moment and then they will take it.

Domestic ducks and geese don't have teeth or claws, most cannot fly and they have little odds of outrunning and escaping a predator that enters their yard. If a dog, coyote, fox, weasel, fisher cat, owl, hawk, eagle or raccoon can gain access into their yard, it is usually just a matter of time before they will. And when they do, they often make short work of your feathered friends.

Although first the emails tend to come to us explaining how safe their free-range ducks and geese are, the next emails that come are not nearly as optimistic. Sadly, most follow-up emails in these situations are desperate. It is a terrible thing when a predator comes and leaves only one lonely bird behind. 

The other misconception is that if duck owners have a family dog in their yard, predators will not come in and ducks are safe. This is not true. Most dogs are not on guard 100% of the time, right where your ducks are and fox and coyotes have been known to raid a flock despite a dog's presence. A fox will bide their time and wait for a dog to go inside the house or fall asleep in the sun, while coyotes will burst right into a yard, not fearing many dogs. Eagles and hawks are also not thwarted by a dog.

Ducks and geese in free-range flocks rarely die of old age; most only live a couple of years at best, which is a shame since their life expectancies are so much longer than this.

Flocks should ONLY be allowed to free-range when they are directly chaperoned by a responsible adult and can be protected from any danger. At all other times, they should be protected in enclosures that keep out flying, climbing, and digging predators.

Donnie the Duck

It is not uncommon for us to get emails regarding domestic waterfowl on ponds. Many emails come from locales far out of our reach, where we are unable to physically assist in the rescue. In these cases it can be difficult for us to coax the message sender to get actively involved in the actual rescue.

Donna's email to us was much different. She contacted us regarding two ducklings who had been dropped off on a pond in her area. She came to us for advice on how to catch them and for our assistance in finding them a loving home. She took control from there.

Donna and her husband were relentless in their efforts, and although one of the ducklings disappeared from the pond, the other duckling was brought safely into captivity. We had someone local to her area come in to adopt the duckling almost immediately. The adopting family was no other than the Kentucky Huffmans! We want to thank them for reacting on such short notice and offering the little duckling a place in their home and hearts. They decided to name the duckling after its rescuer, and have dubbed him Donnie.

Donna, we thank you and your husband for your dedication and persistence in getting this little guy off of the water. Your efforts, time and commitment saved his life. He will forever be loved and well cared for because of your devotion to the task. You set a wonderful example!

The Function of the Oviduct

The ovum (egg) is released from the ovary.

The egg enters the ostium (infundibulum). Over the next half hour the egg is moved via contracting muscle fibres. These contractions reduce the diameter of the oviduct and push the egg along into the magnum region.

Within the magnum region the egg receives a coating of albumen. This process takes approximately three hours.

The egg moves into the isthumus region. Here, the shell membranes are deposited on the egg. This process takes approximately one hour.

The egg moves into the uterus region where it receives its outer shell and pigmentation. The egg may twist and turn as it moves through this region. It takes approximately twenty hours for the hard outer eggshell to reach completion.

The egg moves through the vagina and into the cloaca and is laid.

Single Oviduct

The reproductive system in birds is usually reduced to a left ovary and oviduct. This unilateral reduction is thought to have two major benefits:

  1. It reduces the bird's body weight
  2. It prevents the problem of the bird simultaneously carrying two eggs.

Hens retain a vestigial right oviduct, which is greatly reduced in size and no longer functional because it has become unnecessary through the course of evolution.

       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