Giving Up Your Ducks? Wait Just a Second!

Common reasons why people give up their ducks

1. Too much work. The mess from food and poop is more than the average pet owner is prepared for.

Get ready for your new pet

If you are new to duck ownership, don't expect it to be easy like the pet stores tell you. Only people with experience in duck ownership know and understand how to overcome the difficulties asscociated with having a duck. Being prepared for your duck with the proper shelter, food, and water sources will save you some headaches. Being flexible and willing to adapt or modify your plans is the best advice anyone can give on how to survive the first months.

2. City ordinances. Many people do not bother to confirm that their city allows ducks before they bring one home. People become attached only to find out they have to give their pet away. This is a preventable tragedy.

Just because a pet store sells you a duck
doesn't automatically mean
it's legal to possess one
where you live

Don't give up so easily!

A woman who lives in a city apartment nearby fought city hall to keep her pot bellied pig and won. She proved that her pig was as well behaved and as smart as any dog. She made the point that her pig was a family pet, not a farm animal she was raising for food.

She loved her pet enough to fight to keep it, when it would have been alot easier to give up. Her efforts paved the way for others to have them as pets in the future. So don't take "no" as the only answer if you are told to give up your ducks, if you want it badly enough, sometimes you can change the rules.

3. Neighbor complaints. Quacking at early hours, the smell, the duck escaping into their yard name a few common complaints.

Once you are ordered to give up your ducks because of a complaint, swaying authorites to your side is highly unlikely. Most duck-related complaints are preventable, however.

Take action before problems arise

Greg and I took a proactive approach and visited every one of our surrounding neighbors soon after we moved into our new neighborhood. We introduced ourselves, gave them our phone numbers and asked them to let us know immediately about ANY concerns regarding our pets.

This tells them we are responsible pet owners. It also helps them feel more comfortable calling us rather than going straight to the authorities with a complaint. We follow up with "face time" periodically to say hello and make sure there are no new problems.

4. Relocating. Moving away often results in leaving the duck behind.

Educating people about the responsibilities of owning a duck is not an easy task, especially with so many pet stores telling people "if the duck doesn't work out you can just let it go". Anyone who has read my website knows this is not true. Your pet duck requires the same level of responsible care as any dog or cat. Letting your duck "go free" is as cruel and irresponsible as letting a domesticated dog loose to fend for itself. Even wild breeds who have been in the care of humans are at a much higher risk of injury, illness or death when abandoned.

When your family is relocating for any reason, the same considerations should be made for your ducks as for any other pet. If you simply cannot relocate the duck too, make the effort to find a loving, permanent home for your pet.

Never abandon any duck who has been in the care of humans.

There are agencies that can help. Rehabbers, no-kill farms, adoption centers and wildlife rescue agencies can either provide a solution or help you find alternatives to dumping the duck.

Don't introduce a duck into your family's home if you travel alot, have the potential to move around, are planning on going away to college or are away from home for long periods of time. A duck is not a good pet for people who don't have time or financial means to care for a high maintenance pet.

Many problems are caused by ignoring the facts or being told the wrong information. Before you bring a duck home, do your homework first. Just like a puppy or kitten, ducks need extra work. Domestic ducks are not capable of taking care of themselves, even when they are full grown.

Dogs and cats are hard enough to place in new homes. It is much harder to find homes for unwanted ducks. Shelters are a last resort, and none that I know of will even attempt to find new homes for abandoned ducks. If you bring your duck to a shelter, expect it to be euthanized (killed) within a few days.

I was at our local shelter and heard quacking. They wouldn't allow me to see the ducks and said they were being quarantined until they could be put down. They explained that they did not have the resources to test them to rule out dangerous diseases that can be transferred to humans. Placement in homes was out of the question.

Prevention is the key

• Spend quality time with your ducks so they don't loudly demand your attention.
• Feed them on a schedule, once in the morning and again at night if early morning quacking is an issue.
• Clean up their feces every day and remove unhatched eggs before they rot and begin to stink.
• Remove uneaten food every day to avoid attracting bugs, vermin and other animals.
• Talk to your neighbors periodically and encourage them to tell you if anything about your ducks bothers them.
• Invite them over to meet your ducks - and get to know you.
• If problems do arise, don't be defensive, stay calm, be reasonable and find solutions quickly.
• Don't get a duck if you move around, travel frequently, have little free time or no money to care for a pet that could require expensive medical treatment.

-Lori Goodman

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