DON'T BE A DUCK DUMPER
Ducks can live for 10 years, and geese can live for twice that long. But few people think of that when they make an impulse purchase of these traditional "Easter pets."
Every summer, a few months after Easter, animal shelters across the country find themselves inundated with discarded Easter pets (ducks, geese, chicks, and bunnies) who have outgrown their cuteness. Animal rescue organizations receive continuous calls to pick up starving or injured domesticated ducks and geese who have been dumped by people who realize they cannot care for the birds.
Many of these "duck dumpers" are well-intentioned people who think they are doing their pet a favor by setting him or her free on a big lake with a lot of other waterfowl friends.
Unfortunately, not only are domesticated ducks unable to fly, but they lack the natural instincts to avoid predators. They last an average of a few weeks before being picked off by predators -- raccoons, foxes, coyotes, and domestic dogs. Those who manage to avoid predation are prone to starvation, because they cannot forage for themselves, and the white-bread diet commonly tossed to them by park visitors is so nutrient-poor that they slowly die of malnutrition.
Even those ducks who manage to survive the warmer months are doomed when winter hits. Lakes freeze over, wild ducks migrate, and park visitors stop coming around. The abandoned domesticated ducks and geese either freeze or starve to death.
All of Hen Harbor's waterfowl are Easter pet purchases gone awry, either dumped at a park or an animal shelter.
Hen Harbor recently completed a 2200-gallon duck pond for our waterfowl, thanks to a grant from the Pollination Project