The Majestic Monthly


Issue 4: April 2005

In This Issue...


Liv and her new home


Building Day Approaches


Joseph Walks!


Fencing Hazards


"Yellow" White Ducks?!


Importance of a Vet


Detecting Illness Early


Egg Binding


Wanted: The Perfect Net


Ducky foods to avoid


Predator Barriers


Thank you Volunteers!


Reader Poll #4

Egg Binding

Egg binding often occurs when a hen cannot pass her egg through her oviduct at a normal rate. This is often the result of soft shelled or misshapen egg that cannot easily be passed because of its shape or texture. Egg binding is often the result of a nutritional problem or genetic predisposition

Some signs that your duck is having trouble passing her egg are:

  • Open bill panting
  • Pumping tail feathers

  • Reluctance to walk

  • Walking with a stiff waddle

  • Standing awkwardly upright

  • Waddling very low to the ground

As soon as you notice your duck having trouble passing her egg, seek out vet care.

If she is not in too much distress, they may suggest that you give her a little more time and place her in a warm bath in a warm and quiet room. We have never had success with this tactic at the sanctuary and find this only wastes precious time. This can also make the difference between your vet's practice being open or closed. Don't wait for it to close!

Egg binding can be FATAL!

Vets will perform an exam to see if they can feel the egg. Sometimes they will also do an x-ray to get an exact picture of what is going on inside. They will often lubricate her oviduct to help the egg along and give her a shot to increase her contractions to further assist egg movement in the oviduct.

Sometimes surgery is performed to remove an impacted egg. Vet's will be very careful to remove the egg without breaking it. If they leave any pieces of egg shell behind it can mean death for your hen.

Once your hen is home, it will be vital for you to re-check her diet and make sure she is on the proper ration of breeder/layer mix AND has 24/7 access to an additional calcium source.

Laying hens should be on a minimum of 1/4 breeder/laying formula. We have had the best results utilizing Mazuri Waterfowl Breeder. As long as your hen's eggs are normal (smooth in texture, symmetrical, of appropriate size and normal thickness and appearance), you can stick with this ratio.

Examine your hen's daily egg, if you notice any abnormal oddities, increase her breeder ratio to 1/3. You can further increase to 1/2 and even higher, as needed. When her eggs appear normal again, stop increasing the ratio.

Too much breeder/laying formula can encourage an overactive laying cycle. It is best to utilize the lowest possible ratio of breeder formula necessary to provide positive results. This way you are balancing mother nature and not pushing her.

Wait for your hen's eggs to appear normal again and then SLOWLY lower the percentage of breeder again. Monitor her progress closely and find the equilibrium where you are utilizing the healthiest ratio of breeder to produce the best quality egg.

Wanted: A Perfect Net

We have been emailing zoos, aviaries, and net producing companies throughout the U.S. in an attempt to find aviary nets that can tolerate wind and the weight of snow as well as being able to withstand a predatory attempt at biting through.

If anyone knows of a source of an aviary net that can live up to these high standards, please contact us.

Ducky Foods to Avoid

Some foods that you may think are good for your ducks and geese may actually be bad for them. Spinach is one of a few seemingly healthy treats that your ducks may love, but that should actually be avoided. Beneficial calcium that your hens need for their egg laying binds with the oxalic acid in spinach and is then removed from their system. Some other snacks that are high in oxalate and should be avoided are:

Beets, celery, collard greens, dandelion greens, eggplant, escarole, green beans, kale, leeks, okra, parsley, parsnips, peppers, pokeweed, popcorn, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, rhubarb, rutabagas, sorrel, squash, swiss chard, tomato sauce, turnip greens, watercress and yams.

Predator Barriers

While researching our best options for building our new sanctuary, we discovered a brilliant anti-predator trick that we wanted to share with our waterfowl friends.

Dig a trench around your enclosure 24" outwards and 6" deep. Attach a piece of wire mesh (rabbit fence that rodents can't fit through or chew through) to the bottom of your enclosure’s fence and bend it downwards and outwards into the trench. Cover the wire mesh with dirt and plant grass. Any predator that digs at the fence line of your enclosure will hit the mesh and they aren't smart enough to back up 24" and try again. This will prevent rodents and other predators from digging their way into your enclosure.

Thank You Volunteers!

Majestic sincerely thanks the Managers of Agway Plainfield, CT and Agway Norwich, CT for displaying our educational brochures and flyers in their stores.

We would also like to extend a special thank you to Elaine for arranging for our information to be displayed at her local Agway in Kittery ME.

An equally special thanks to Glynis and Eric for arranging for our information to be displayed at local stores in Lexington KY.

If you are a manager of a business that sells ducklings and would like to display our information in your local store, please contact us!

Reader Poll #4
Question: Do you have a waterfowl or avian vet you can take your duck or goose to in the event of a medical emergency?
I need to locate one!

Voting Has Closed.
Please see next issue for results.

Results of Reader Poll#3:
Do you think ducks and geese make good house pets?
Yes .....................44%
No ......................34%
Unsure ................22%
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.
Liv Walks Into Her New Home

March 19th was more than a warm and sunny Saturday, it was time to make the call to Liv’s new family and share the good news. Liv has been in our care since her rescue from Spaulding Pond last November. She came to us with a very severe limp that required a long period of rest, an x-ray, and a round of hydrotherapy in our tub 2-3 times a week. Her limp was most likely the result of a torn ligament or severe sprain.

Liv was saddened when her mate Viggo went ahead of her to their new home. She truly missed him, but his moving on before her opened up room for another rescue to come in.

A sign of Liv’s continued improvement became evident by the bucket of water in her enclosure that she emptied out twice a day while splashing it on herself to bathe. Little spurts of energetic strolling turned into the ability to walk and stand as often as she chose. We made the decision that she was ready to go, and we called her new family to let them know. Within a couple hours after calling, her new family arrived and Liv was in a carrier and on her way to her new home to be reunited with Viggo.

We look forward to hearing more about the lovely couple in the months to come!

Building Day Approaches

As building day approaches, we are working on getting the word out that we are looking for equipment to excavate the pond in our new sanctuary. We have had a number of volunteers step forward to help out with the manual part of landscaping and building and we thank all of them for their participation. If you are interested in helping with the building/landscaping of the new sanctuary please contact us at:

The DEP came in for a site inspection in March and determined that our plans to build the 35’ x 75’ sanctuary with enclosed stream-fed pond will also benefit our wildlife. They described the land we are readying to work as being “very disturbed.” The plow work done with bulldozers when the lot was originally developed over fifteen years ago was rather careless. They left very large mounds of pushed dirt piled around the streambed causing land barriers that prevent easy wildlife access. Our work will remove these land obstacles and provide a more hospitable area for our wildlife while providing a sanctuary for domestic waterfowl.

Joseph Walks!

Joseph came into our care only months ago and already he has molted and grown a batch of beautiful new feathers. He is once again waterproof and he can float and swim. His hydrotherapy proved very successful and he strengthened himself up enough to be able to stand up for just as long as he likes.

As if this wasn’t wonderful enough, he has transformed from a meek and shy animal into an extremely friendly, loving and appreciative guest. Joseph loves people and loves giving and receiving hugs.

When the sun finally came out and the skies turned blue, we brought Joseph outside for some nice, fresh air. He amazed us by following behind us and taking a ten foot stroll before settling down to rest. We emailed the Huffman’s and let them know that their new duck is feeling much better and can join them at any time. Glynis and Eric will be flying up from Kentucky in May to drive Joseph home to live happily ever after with their hens Qwaka and Fiona.

The Hazards of Chain Link Fencing

Be very cautious when using chain link fencing around your waterfowl. This is especially true when you have ducks or geese on opposing sides of the same chain link fence who may be tempted to poke their heads through for visits or to resolve pecking order disputes.

Chain link fencing can be made safe for ducks and geese by tie-wrapping deer fencing/deer barrier over the chain link panels to ensure that feathery heads and necks can’t fit through the fencing and get trapped. Ducks and geese can actually poke their heads through one square of the fencing, panic and bring their head back to their own side of the fence through the incorrect square. The result of this action is a sort of weaving in and out through the fencing and it can be deadly.

"Yellow" White Ducks?!

The number one comment we hear about our Young Matthew when we are at Petco locations is, “Why is he yellow?”

When Pekin ducks are healthy and well-nourished, their feathers are creamy in color. This color really stands out in the winter when the ducks can be seen against the snow. If your Pekin is a nice, creamy yellow, it is a sign that life is good!

The Importance of a Waterfowl Vet

Many people will take their dogs and cats to vets, but far less feel that their duck or goose is worthy of vet attention. Broken limbs and injuries resulting from predatory attacks are often left unaddressed. Ducks and geese experience pain and trauma the same as cats and dogs and the same as people. They should not be left to recover on their own or have to endure homemade remedies in lieu of real veterinary care.

Broken bones should not be reset at home using makeshift splints in order to safe time or money. Pain medication, anti-inflammatory and antibiotics are often required.

Infections often result from predatory attacks in bite wounds and need flushing and antibiotics. Further, the animals need special attention given to any pain they are experiencing.

In addition, this is a time when your pet duck or goose will need special attention and re-assurances from you. Special TLC to nurture them back into good health is needed by waterfowl just as it is needed by any other animal.

It is not always easy finding an avian vet who will handle ducks and geese in addition to their normal parrot patients, so it is wise to locate a vet early on--preferably before you acquire ducks or geese. It is never a wise idea to try to track down a vet after your pet becomes ill or experiences trauma, especially when it comes to ducks and geese--who are not treated by many vet practices.

If you need to locate an avian/waterfowl veterinarian near you you can search avian vet directories and call individual practices to ask which ones handle ducks and geese:

AAV Vet Lookup

We are always building our own Waterfowl Vet Finder. You can look here first for known waterfowl vets. If you find a practice not on our list, please let us know:

Majestic Waterfowl Vet Finder

Detecting Illnesses Early & Seeking Vet Care

Ducks and geese are infamous for hiding their illnesses. This is one of their defense mechanisms against predators, that are looking for a weak member of the flock to target. This means that your pet duck or goose will inadvertently be hiding its ailments from you too.

It is vital to watch your birds closely, so that you can detect slight changes early on and seek vet assistance before the masked ailment escalates. Often, by the time you see a noticeably sick bird, advanced stages of illness are already reached.

Some of the things you want to watch out for are:

bullet Respiratory differences; over-exertion while breathing, tail pumping, raspy sounds
bullet Listlessness
bullet Ruffled or fluffed-up feathers
bullet Disinterest in preening, bathing, cleaning
bullet Dietary changes; eating more or less
bullet Any kind of discharge from eyes, bill or vent
bullet Limping
bullet Wings being held in abnormal positions
bullet Lack of energy
bullet Vomiting (yes, ducks and geese do throw up)
bullet Bleeding
bullet Diarrhea
bullet Lack of droppings
bullet Change's in waking and sleeping habits
bullet An instinctual feeling that your duck or goose is just not behaving right. This is commonly the first symptom. It can include lack of interest in activities that they normally would not avoid, delays in coming over to see you. Sudden and abnormal disinterest. It is a vague symptom, but usually the first symptom that their is a health issue.

If you see any of these symptoms you will be wise to see a vet as soon as possible. Avoid trying to treat your duck or goose utilizing over-the-counter or holistic remedies. Often a round of antibiotics (Baytril) will be prescribed by a vet to address any hidden infections.


       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