by Lori Goodman

Help Put an End to Duck Dumping
Easter is over and the ducklings are big and demanding alot more care and attention. To kids, the novelty has probably worn off. To parents, the responsibility of another mouth to feed may be too much and they are seriously thinking about getting rid of their pet.

Please take a few minutes to find out what it means to release a duck or Easter pet into the wild. Another phrase that means the same thing is "duck dumping". Most people who buy a duckling mean well, and their intentions are not bad, they simply don't realize that "returning" a domestic animal to a wild environment is a virtual death sentence. I've actually overheard pet store owners say it's OK to drop a duck off at a local watering spot once it gets big. NOT TRUE!!!

These are the facts: Very few domestic breeds can survive on their own. Even when they are "fed" by people, the odds are stacked against them. My articles on Feeding Wild Ducks and Breaking the Bread Habit talk about the consequences in greater detail. Domestic ducks are exotic pets that cannot survive without lots of love and attention, continual care, protection from predators, proper feeding and shelter!

I recently read a report that said 98% of all Easter ducks are dumped within a month of being purchased! This is a huge problem that can be solved with basic education. It starts with YOU. Don't be part of the problem, become part of the solution.

Start by taking action through education. If you are a teacher, read my articles and talk to your students before Easter. Urge them to ask for a stuffed animal instead of a live one.

Print out copies of my Duckling Care Flyer and distribute them to local pet stores. It's a great way to educate first time duck owners (and store employees). Ask the owner's permission to leave a stack of flyers on the check out counter or in a display next to the ducks. My flyer encourages sales for the store and gives the new pet a better chance for a healthy life. My website is listed as a resource on the flyer so the new pet owner can get all the information they need to care for their duck.

If you realize you made a mistake and are considering "releasing" (i.e. dumping) your pet, please (PLEASE!) consider the alternatives.

There are no-kill farms, animal shelters and rehabbers that sometimes take in unwanted ducks. You may have to do a fair amount of legwork to find one in your area, but you owe the duck that much. You can get leads from Avian (Bird) vets, animal hospitals, wildlife rehabbers, animal shelters, etc. I've heard of some pet stores taking them back, but that's rare.

If I still haven't gotten through to you and you're determined to dump your pet, please take just 5 more minutes out of your life to read the articles in the section below.

So you made an emotional, implusive decision and now you have an unwanted pet. In life, everyone messes up, so turn it around and step up to do the right thing THIS time while learning a valuable lesson. Find the pet a new home, and do whatever it takes. One way to redeem yourself is to educate as many people as you can.

Some easy ways to do this are: Blog about it, write to your local newspaper, educate your classroom, rally to get your Parks and Rec departments to post no duck dumping and no bird feeding signs. Get creative and teach your kids how to be a responsible citizen too!

If you know of anyone considering a first time duck, please make sure they see these articles BEFORE they act. Once they get to the pet store and see those adorable little babies it's too late; their emotions take over.
- Read my Articles page before you buy a duckling or any other pet for Easter
- Read my Care & Health page to find out exactly what it requires to care for a duck
- My Duckling Diary walks you step-by-step through 30 days of raising domestic ducklings

I t   S t a r t s   W i t h   Y O U !

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