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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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.
The Pekin is a large domestic duck used primarily for egg and meat production. They have pure white feathers with orange legs and bills and range in weight from 8-12 pounds. Ducks are able to stay afloat in the water because of air sacs inside their bodies that increase their buoyancy! Their feathers are covered with a waterproof substance that keeps the ducks warm and dry. Pekin Ducks are poor fliers due to their large, heavy bodies. Ducks do not have teeth, but they do have bumpy edges on their bills that help them to filter food out of the water.
The “Fantastic Four”
We welcomed this sweet Pekin duck in the Fall of 2019. She was aquired at an upstate farm by a Yonkers resident who kept her in their apt for nearly a year. They decided they could no longer keep her and were going to release her in a pond in a town park. When relatives found out, they decided to take the duck home and care for her. They knew she would have met certain death from a dog or other predators since Perkins can’t fly! So, they let her swim in the bathtub and she ate chicken feed, kale, and cheerios. They soon realized she needed a more appropriate home and contacted Safe Haven. Shaye is quite friendly and vocal and loves to “chat” with her human friends. We are so glad to report that she is living happily with the rest of our duck family.