Don’t buy that Easter Duck!!!
That cute little ball of yellow fluff with an adorable little bill and webbed feet looks up at you from the tub in the ranch/farm store or cage at the pet store. Your heart leaps in your chest and you are so sure that your child would be thrilled to have that little cutie in their Easter basket …. STOP!!! Don’t let the “cuteness factor” win out before you are aware of the amount of effort it takes to care for domestic waterfowl. Unless you have read up on how to care for ducks and geese, please don’t buy the little cutie.
First off, ducks and geese poop ALOT. The gift really loses a lot of charm when it poops in the Easter basket. Ducks are also quite messy. I have never been able to keep a duck brooder clean for more than three seconds. There is no way the brooder floor can stay dry once the little ducklings find the water and food containers.
Ducklings and goslings need to be kept in a brooder with proper heat and cool zones. It is also important to feed them the proper diet or they may suffer permanent physical damage.
There is always the issue of taking care of the duck once it gets older. Ducks kept in a safe and healthy environment can live over ten years and geese can live to 20 or more years. That is a rather long commitment.
For many of these reasons, people tire of their feather friend and drop them off at the local park and drive away feeling they have, “done the little thing a favor.” It really is no favor and, is quite often, a death sentence to the animal. Due to breeding, domestic ducks do not have the ability to fly and their waddle does not give them a very fast rate of speed. Both these factors, plus the fact they tend to trust people, leads them to fall prey to predators such dogs and people who might wish to harm them. Many have also gotten entangled in fishing lines. Walking on hard surfaces can lead to sores on the feet and sometimes lameness.
People generally get up in arms, and rightly so, when they hear of the abandonment of dogs, cats and rabbits. However, willfully abandoning a domestic duck or goose isn’t much different and all are a misdemeanor in the state of California subject to a $500 fine and/or 6 months in jail.
Turning domestic ducks and geese lose is wrong in three ways, it is illegal, inhumane and damaging to the environment.
If you no longer want your feathered pet, instead of just dropping him/her off at the park, call the local animal control. If they can’t take them, they may know someone who would be interested and willing to give them a new home.
In spite of all the frustrations, I am a duck owner but before I ever brought a duck on my property, I read at least three books about their care so, please, consider the welfare of the duck or goose before you take it home.
By the way, please consider the same factors before purchasing any live animal for an Easter present. Probably a stuffed animal would be a better choice.