Dumped ducks and waterfowl
I made this hub so that I could introduce and educate people about the lives of pet ducks and geese after they've been dropped off at a public park or lake. I will try not to be preachy or show all the bad things that happen to waterfowl after they're abandoned. I just want to let people get to know the lives of the ducks as individuals. This is a lens that celebrates the lives of these creatures that were given a fate they did not choose.
Most of the domestic waterfowl one sees at their park or lake has been dropped off there against their will. Usually, these are Easter ducklings or ducks and geese that were purchased and then, later, realized that they were too much of a problem to keep. Many people think domestic ducks and geese do fine in the wild or they belong there, but they were bred to be around people. Many of their wild instincts were bred out as well as their ability to fly. Some ducks "disappear" (often a euphemism to mean a predator got them) right after being dropped off, some live for a few years longer.
I will also try to post a few suggestions as to what to do if you can't keep your pet duck or goose any longer and where to go to find help to find it a forever home.
The photos on this page were mostly taken by me. The one to the upper left is of a sweet little Indian runner duck named Oreo.
All photos in this lens were taken by me unless otherwise noted.
Who are the Dumped Duckies?
Dumped ducks and geese come in all types of colors and body types. The most common breed of duck dumped into a park is the Pekin, which are the fuzzy yellow ducklings that one often sees around Easter. The most common type of geese dumped in parks are Chinese and African. Usually, it's male ducks and geese that are dropped off. Male ducks are rough on girls, so having too many around is not a good thing. Ganders tend to get aggressive, especially around breeding season, and Chinese ganders are very aggressive. Both African and Chinese geese are also extremely loud.
The majority of waterfowl that is dumped have very limited flying ability. There are breeds of flying domestic ducks around the parks, but most of those are escapees and not dumpees. For the non-flying birds, there is no way for them to escape the area if there are too many predators or not enough food, unlike their wild cousins. It also makes them even more vulnerable to predators, disease, and starvation.
Two Easter Ducklings Dropped Off Before a Storm
These two Easter ducklings, about 4 weeks old in this photo, were dropped off right before a wet storm hit. Many people didn't realize that these two were ducks in trouble. In the morning, a heron was eying the small one. They were unlikely to live another day. When I got a hold of them and gave them some food, they were starving. One of the ducks was very boney. They didn't have any feathers at all and had no idea what to eat.
This duckling found near his dead friend's body
This duckling was found the morning after a wet, cold storm hit the area next to his dead friend. It is unknown how long both ducklings were there before the one duckling died. Originally, they were thought to be recently hatched goslings because there were found near the park's geese. But, they were jumbo Pekin ducks that were almost old enough to not need a heat lamp, probably almost two weeks old. However, they were not old enough to be in below 40 degree wet weather. This duckling was lucky, he was saved and taken to a good home before hypothermia and starvation got him as well.
More ducklings dumped too young
These Pekin ducklings, though a little older than the three in the two modules above, are still too young to be off on their own. I estimate their age to be about five weeks old. Though they were very observant of the adult ducks in terms of finding something to eat, they were way too young to integrate into the wild flock and often stayed on their own, which made them more vulnerable to predators. Adult ducks can sometimes kill ducklings at this age as well.
One of the ducklings got a metal fishing lure in its mouth and his more dominant brother was attacking and biting him, possibly thinking that he was withholding food from him. But, they were best buddies otherwise.
They were at the lake for about three days and just disappeared. Hopefully, they were rescued and are in a good home.
A sweet girl that didn't deserve to be there
The Cayuga female (the black duck on the right) was a real sweetie. Very affectionate and loved people. It was hard not to like her. She was found dead seven months after this photo was taken, right in the middle of breeding season. Breeding season is hard on female ducks because males can gang up on them and accidentally crush or drown them. When I last saw her, she seemed OK, but sometimes young ducks have problems laying eggs and can die suddenly. Also, she was crested and males tugging on her head feathers can elicit seizures.