Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary, 17 Barker Road, Lebanon, CT, 06249

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Majestic Diary

January 17, 2012

My heart is breaking. Despite the syringe feedings, Young Matthew is losing weight and doesn't appear to be improving. Today is day three away from the flock.

We wake up every morning at 6:30 and he gets his breakfast and medicine. Then I take him to the bathtub for a nice, warm swim. After that he preens while I blow dry him and then he goes back in the drained tub where I lay down towels for him and give him a bowl of water with ground Mazuri food mixed in to try to increase his calorie intake.

Once the sunroom warms up, he has lunch and then comes downstairs into his portable playpen and spends the afternoon on towels while enjoying a nice view.

And then, as the sun goes down, he goes into the spare bathroom for the evening and then has his evening meds and dinner. I put down nice thick towels on the floor for him and then I check on him all through the night--not sleeping... too worried about him.

I feel terrible... I'm not allowed to hug him or touch him or snuggle up with him. We're trying to reduce his testosterone flow, which means Momma duck needs to keep her hands off. It's tearing me apart. I want to bring Young Jeffrey inside to try to cheer him up, but he's not allowed to be near other ducks.

I feel so trapped and helpless... They said he should improve in 3-5 days away from the flock, but I'm only seeing him decline and am so worried it might be cancer and it might be over... This might be my last few days with him and I'm not supposed to touch him.

My mind is racing... trying to hang onto every moment I've ever shared with him. Remembering the water basins in the barn, the lettuce maze boats, the buckets of nightcrawlers we collected from the forest, every little thing... trying not to forget...

Remember when...

April 2, 2002:  Young Jeffrey & Young Matthew arrived at only two days old!

 

July 2002: How quickly Young Matthew and his brother grew up...

 

March 2003: Majestic's Founding Four!
Young Jeffrey, Young Matthew, Destiny & Jezebel

Upon maturing, Young Matthew & Young Jeffrey wanted girlfriends and they wanted those girls to be rescued because we had just recently learned about the plight of abandoned ducks and geese. So we rescued Destiny (Cayuga) and Jezebel (Silver Appleyard). Both girls were neglected, underweight and came to us with bumblefoot infections on the bottoms of their webbed feet.

December 2003: A unique moment with the boys!

While passing out lettuce treats, Young Jeffrey flew up onto my back. Tony just happened to be there with the camera to capture this once-in-a-lifetime moment. We used this photo for our Christmas card that year. Look at Young Matthew wondering what his brother is doing up there!

June 2005: Best friends & brothers

 

September 2005: We all enjoy Majestic's giant, new cement pond!

After we lost Destiny duck I knew we had to open up a waterfowl sanctuary. Her death shouldn't have happened, but not even vets knew what to do back then when she required specialized surgery. She passed away while recovering from corrective surgery--done to reverse her initial surgery, which was done wrong. I swore when I lost her that I would do everything I possibly could to rescue more of these beautiful animals and learn everything I could about their proper care and teach it to others free of charge. That's when Majestic opened and this website was created.

I've always thought it oddly fortuitous that our little Cayuga duck's name was Destiny because it was due to her struggle and ultimate loss that we were inspired to fulfill our destiny of opening up Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary in her memory...

Destiny's story and those of nearly 100 more ducks and geese are featured in my book, "My Name is Destiny" along with their photographs.

January 2007: Young Matthew gives kisses

You might like to think he's giving me a kiss, but what Young Matthew is actually doing is trying to get at my diamond ring! I ALWAYS tell him, "Hey, that ring's mine! I worked hard for it!"

Young Matthew has always been known to be a great appraiser of jewelry. He used to be our ambassador. He would go to Petsmart and Pet Rock functions to do meet-and-greets to teach people about waterfowl abandonment as well as showing them what great companions ducks are. He even went to meet inner city kids. We retired Young Matthew when he was a little over four years old. One day he just didn't seem to enjoy it anymore, so we retired him right on the spot.

September 2007: Young Matthew plays a game of "Cups!"

Ducks and geese see in color and LOVE water, so what could be more fun than a game of colored cups! The game never gets dull and it is the responsibility of Momma Duck to keep refilling the cups as they spill over.

February 2008: Always together

When they were younger, the boys would need a dividing fence put up between them between February and June--the mating season. Boy ducks fight over girl ducks and sometimes over Momma Duck. Young Matthew is a couple hours older than Young Jeffrey, so he was always a little bigger than him. Because of this size difference, Young Matthew became the alpha leader of the pair, which is actually good because he is very gentle. Young Jeffrey is much stronger, but apparently doesn't know it and has never rose to challenge his brother's station.

Despite having a fence between them for a few months out of the year, the young boys always remained next to each other on opposite sides of the fence, never wanting to be apart.

Now that they're older and more settled, they no longer need to be divided.

March 2008: Cute close up

 

August 2008: Bashful Young Matthew

 

November 2008: Still so much to talk about together

 

November 2008:  Young Matthew loves Deirdre Dear Heart

Deirdre "Dear Heart" came to us in October of 2004. She joined our flock after we lost Destiny. She came to us from another waterfowl shelter that had to close down. Dear-Dear was Young Matthew's true love, but for whatever reason, Deirdre was infatuated with Young Jeffrey. Even with ducks there are love triangles. Even so, Dear-Dear was always wonderful and loving towards Young Matthew.

December 2008: Young Matthew in the snow

 

January 2009: Young Jeffrey & Young Matthew on the ice

 

February 2009: Little trail of feathers...

And more February photos:

February 2009: Enough driving around; I'm going back to the barn!

Since being retired as our ambassador at the age of 4, Young Matthew has never left the sanctuary. He has always enjoyed excellent health and has never even had to go to the vet before. Having to take him recently has been an unnerving milestone for us just as much as it was for him. It's so overwhelming when our little vision of health and vitality suddenly falls ill. It took us completely off guard.

August 2009: New duck book celebration!

This was a very exciting day at Majestic! Literary Agents kept telling me that no one would ever want a book about pet ducks. They said the market was already full of them. I explained that mine was the ONLY book out there that didn't treat ducks as a commodity, but as beautiful, loving companion animals. I went ahead and published it myself all on my own, and I can't tell you how wonderful it is to get emails from people all over the world whose ducks have benefited from it. It improves the lives of ducks every day--and has even saved a few. This makes the boys and I smile.

October 2009: As handsome as ever

 

January 2010: Vida and Young Matthew

Vida came to us in June 2003. After we lost Destiny duck, Vida came to help bring balance to Young Jeffrey and Young Matthew's flock. Poor Jezebel was taking the brunt of all their affection. We needed a second girl badly. Vida came from a breeder who got sick of his flock of Ancona ducks and was going to kill them all. Not our Vida! Her full name was: Leah-Evita, but we called her Vida ("life") for short. Vida ended up being a little too small for the boys, so we later welcomed Deirdre Dear Heart into our group of permanent rescues to help balance things even further. We had to let go of beautiful Vida unexpectedly in April of 2010 when she fell suddenly ill and passed away in route to our vet. Hers was a devastating loss...

August 2010: A real page-turner!

I took this photo for our monthly newsletter when, "The Ultimate Pet Duck Guidebook" appeared in the magazine. The reviewer has written a duck book of her own (that isn't nearly as good), so the review was off the mark and came off sounding jealous to everyone we knew who read it. When I later published, "The Ultimate Pet Goose Guidebook" we had Bob Tarte (Enslaved by Ducks) review it and he did a wonderful job! He even plugged the duck book while he was at it, erasing any damage she might have done. Even today, Backyard Poultry's wonderful Editor forwards us emails they receive with duck questions.

August 2010: Such a distinguished face

At eight years old, I began to notice that Young Matthew's face had filled out with age. His eyes were shaped different--a little heavier, with more contours than before and the feathered area beneath his bill became more deeply defined--like a little pouch. I always thought it gave him such great character and took this photo of him on purpose to capture these handsome changes.

October 2010: Enjoying a warm, fall day

 

October 2010: Fall swim

 

December 2010:  Young Matthew meets Alice!

After losing Jezebel to cancer in September of 2009 and watching Deirdre Dear Heart's fading health in 2010 (who we later lost in February of 2011), we knew the boys needed a new companion to keep their spirits up. We welcomed rescued duck Alice into our little wonderland in November of 2010. Both boys immediately fell in love with her and she with them. They have been swimming together on their pond ever since. She has been a perfect and wonderful addition to our sanctuary's permanent residents.

February 2011: "Hey, who's holding up the line?!"

I love this photo. What a great example of what life here at Majestic is like! So many colors! Let's see if I can name them all... We'll start at the back of the line and see if we can tell who's holding it up at the front.

Romy, Young Jeffrey, Young Matthew, Jodie-dee, Alice, Nelly-nell, Demi, Shelly... and Bitsy! Come on, Bitsy! The water's not that cold!

August 2011: Relaxing with your best friend is great

 

November 2011: A Majestic boy indeed...

And more November photos:

 

December 2011: Could you both please face the camera at the same time!

 

January 2012: A quiet moment between brothers...

Poor Young Matthew had taken a poke to the eye in January. We think Tricia the Muscovy did it because she loves Young Jeffrey and likes to chase Young Matthew away from him. We immediately separated Tricia from the group to give our boy a break. She actually scratched his eye with the blow, so he has been getting special eye ointment put in his eye twice a day for the past couple of weeks now. At least his eye is open now and not swollen anymore.

January 17, 2012: Young Matthew fights for his life...

Why is it that ducks always appear to be smiling... even when they're as sick as our poor boy...

 

...

 

Why do we call the boys Young Matthew and Young Jeffrey?

Years and years ago, back when Tony and I were still dating, we had two friends named Matt & Jeff. My sister and her husband would call them their adopted children because they were always at their house. They would jokingly call them: Young Jeffrey and Young Matthew and would kid around with them about coming home before curfew and eating healthy and such. Fun times!

As I became closer friends with Matt and Jeff, I would tease them about their love for me. I would tell them, "I know you want to follow me everywhere like little ducklings, but you have to get over me. I have a boyfriend!"

I would tell Jeff and Matt that Tony and I would be married one day and we'd buy a house with a barn and when that day came, I was going to get two ducklings. I told them I was going to name them Young Jeffrey and Young Matthew and they would follow me everywhere and worship me just the same way as those two young men.

I remember the first time they saw the boys. We had a small get-together at our house and Jeff and Matt were there. I walked down to their enclosure, opened the door and led Young Jeffrey & Young Matthew ducks up the hill, through the grass, to our little backyard pond. All the while I called out, "Come on, Young Matthew! Come on, Young Jeffrey! Follow your Momma Duck, who you love more than anything in the world! Follow me wherever I go!"

I don't know where Matt is these days, but I still see Jeff and I still love to tell him, "Young Jeffrey is doing great. A little arthritis in the hip, but he still follows me everywhere and hugs me every chance he gets--ultimately devoted to me."

But the truth is... I'm just as devoted to the both of them. My boys...

...

 

Young Matthew's webbed footy prints in the snow...


Please
don't leave me...

I love you...

 

 

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