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...
April 2, 2002:
Young Jeffrey & Young Matthew arrived at
only two days
July 2002: How
quickly Young Matthew and his brother grew up...
Majestic's Founding Four!
Young Matthew, Destiny & Jezebel
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
December 2003: A
unique moment with the boys!
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
June 2005: Best
friends & brothers
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
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...
and those of nearly 100 more ducks and geese are
featured in my book, "My Name is Destiny"
along with their photographs.
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!"
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
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.
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.
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.
they're older and more settled, they no longer need
to be divided.
March 2008: Cute
Bashful Young Matthew
Still so much to talk about together
Young Matthew loves Deirdre Dear Heart
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.
Young Matthew in the snow
Young Jeffrey & Young Matthew on the ice
Little trail of feathers...
Enough driving around; I'm going back to the barn!
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
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
August 2010: A
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.
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
Enjoying a warm, fall day
Young Matthew meets Alice!
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.
"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
Jeffrey, Young Matthew, Jodie-dee, Alice, Nelly-nell,
Demi, Shelly... and Bitsy! Come on, Bitsy! The
water's not that cold!
Relaxing with your best friend is great
November 2011: A
Majestic boy indeed...
Could you both please face the camera at the same
January 2012: A
quiet moment between brothers...
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.
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
Matthew's webbed footy prints in the snow...
don't leave me...
I love you...