Charles, a Rouen duck, came to us in 2018. Like many domestic ducks, he was "dumped" or abandoned at a local pond. Thankfully someone rescued him when they noticed he was struggling to survive.
Andes-Straley Veterinary Hospital in Kingsport, Tennessee provided initial care while making arrangements with TTAS to give him the forever home he deserves. His feathers were in poor condition most likely due to an unhealthy diet common for abandoned ducks.
But it did not take long on the right diet for Charles to transform into the handsome duck he is now. Charles now resides in our waterfowl enclosure spending his time grazing, foraging, and swimming with his other feathered friends.
From young and scraggly
To Charles in Charge
Why is this an issue? Ducklings are common gifts in the spring especially around Easter time. Many do not realize how intensive their care can be. While domestic ducks can live to be 15 years or older, the average life span is five to 10 years. Ducks as pets require a safe outdoor space where they can forage for insects and graze along with a clean source of water for swimming and bathing. They need suitable housing to provide shelter during extreme weather and protection from potential predators. As social and intelligent beings, they are not meant to be alone and need to be placed with other ducks.
Responsible owners will invest in a quality diet. We use Mazuri Waterfowl Feed which is $44 for a 50 pound bag in addition to healthy supplements and enrichment treats. Having a veterinarian with waterfowl experience is essential. Domestic ducks can be susceptible to bumblefoot, parasites, improper feather growth, upper respiratory infections, and predation especially if not provided proper care and shelter. These feathered fowl are a serious commitment and not an impulse buy or an Easter gift. And as cute as ducklings are, there are numerous, mature domestic ducks needing a permanent, loving home.
"Duck dumping" happens all too frequently. Domestic ducks may not survive on their own when abandoned due to predation, territoral issues with wild waterfowl, and the inability to find enough food through the winter.