Many of the ducks who live on the Safe Haven pond flew there from a nearby gun club after being released from dark boxes to be shot at by humans with guns. Of course, after being held in dark boxes while being transported to the shooting range, the ducks are dazed and confused when they are released. They fly up into the air and many are killed for sport; a few of them make it to the safety of Safe Haven.
Other ducks come to Safe Haven from people who purchase young ducks around Easter for their children. As the ducks grow, the purchasers find they can no longer care for the ducks and their children lose interest. These ducks are unable to fly and have no idea how to live in the wild since they were raised for a few weeks on a factory farm without their mothers to teach them how to live on their own.
Ducks are raised in crowded cages on factory farms for meat and killed in unbelievably cruel ways. Many are force fed through metal tubes jammed down their throats until their livers become huge with fat. The ducks are killed and their livers ground up to make fois gras, a so-called delicacy that humans choose to eat without concern for the animals from which it is made. Other wild type ducks, like mallards, are often raised on factory farms, unable to learn how to live in the wild, and then shipped to gun clubs where they are released to be shot by hunters hiding nearby in duck blinds.
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Stanley joined the Safe Haven family in 2011. When we went to pick up a sheep who was about to be sent to slaughter because she couldn’t have live babies two years in a row, the owner handed over a duck who was being used to train sheep dogs how to herd. We eagerly took him home where he would never have to be used for anything again and could roam around in the grass and swim in the duck pond whenever he wanted to. At Safe Haven he met a nice young duck named Clyde and they became great friends, going everywhere together. Stanley is a meat duck and serves as an ambassador for the millions who suffer and die too young after a short, harsh life on a factory farm.
Muscovies are often referred to as the “quiet” or “quackless” duck. The males vocalize with a “hissing” sound while the females make a sound called a “pip” which is similar to the sound of a flute. Muscovies have a “crest” on the top of their heads that they use to express themselves. The males often raise their crest during mating season to fend off other males and show dominance. The crest is also raised to impress and attract the female. Muscovies use body language to communicate. They will wag their tails and raise and lowering their heads at one another.
Daffy is a Muscovy duck, a breed usually raised for food or for making fois gras. Daffy was lucky to escape life on a factory farm but he was living with some chickens in a pen down the road from Safe Haven, and when we would drive by, we would often see a raccoon in the pen. We worried about the chickens and Daffy and convinced the owner to relinquish the whole group to Safe Haven. Daffy is now safe and happy and spends his days in the pasture or swimming in his private pond and his nights in a cozy house safe from predators.