The Majestic Monthly


Issue 18: June 2006

In This Issue...


The Truth About Hatching


Duck Alien X-Ray


Our Grand Opening


Our 1st Great Grandduck!


Get to Know Your Predators: Domestic Cat


Recommended Reading:
Silly Suzy Goose


Reader Poll #18

Our Grand Opening

Thank you to everyone who showed up for our Grand Opening! Many of you brought along needed items and even a readiness to help clean our barn! Thank you for making the day so special.

Our 1st Great GrandDuck!

Standish was rescued in fall 2004

His son Boots hatched in 2005

Louie Louie hatched in 2006

***We do not allow eggs to hatch at Majestic. These ducklings all arrived  post-adoption!

Get to Know Your Predators: Domestic Cat

Domestic Cats weigh in anywhere between 5 and 16 pounds, although some breeds can weigh as much as 25 pounds. The temperament of a cat will depend on its breed and socialization. Cats are very high jumpers, excellent hunters and catch their prey much more frequently than they miss it.

Cats and kittens are deadly to a duckling or small duck. However, a full grown, heavy weight duck will most likely not be of any interest to your full-grown cat (unless you happen to have a bit of a monster on your hands). Kittens can be introduced to a flock of adult ducks with great success. In this way, a kitten can grow up and become a pseudo member of the flock, protecting the premises from rodents, weasels and birds. The relationship between the guardian cat and the ducks should be closely monitored and the cat should be removed if you see any early signs of trouble—trust your instincts on this one.

Recommended Reading*

Silly Suzy Goose
By Petr Horacek

| Ordering information |


Silly Suzy Goose is just like all the other geese. But how she wishes she could hang upside-down like a bat or stretch up high like a giraffe! And wouldn't it be wonderful to jump, jump, JUMP like a kangaroo? Suzy Goose wanders farther and farther from her flock, visiting with animals that are very different from her. But when Suzy meets up with a cranky lion, she learns there may just be some advantages to blending in with the crowd!

*For our full recommended viewing/reading list, click here. If you order from by way of our web site, Majestic receives a portion of the proceeds!

 Reader Poll #18

Question: What do you think caused the alien face in the IBRRC mallard duck x-ray?

An Alien
Corn Kernels
Trick of Light & Shadow
Internal Organ Deformity
Forever a Mystery!

Voting Has Closed.
Please see next issue for results.

Results of Reader Poll #17

Which types of fresh eggs have you eaten?

Duck Eggs Yes
Goose Eggs Yes
Quail Eggs Yes
Ostrich Eggs No
Chicken Eggs Yes

Contact Us

Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary
17 Barker Road
Lebanon, CT 06249

Our Newsletter

The Majestic Monthly is published 12 times per year. Back issues can be obtained online from our Newsletter Archives.

The Truth About Hatching Programs

This is the time of year when many schools are left with the end results of their hatching programs. As part of their science programs, many teachers incubate eggs and teach children about the different development stages of growing ducklings.

All too frequently, before beginning a hatching program, many teachers often neglect to research proper incubation techniques, nutrition, and care and housing requirements for the birds they hatch out. The end result is malnourished, homeless ducklings living in un-enriching classroom environments, or being dropped off on ponds or at animal shelters. In some instances ducklings are even sent home with children to unsuspecting and unprepared parents. We receive many emails from both parents and teachers, asking us to take custody of ducklings that have been hatched out in the classroom.

It’s like a game of hot potato. The one stuck with the duckling in the end is left trying to find a quick-fix solution to get rid of it. Animal shelters are left taking responsibility for the brunt of the problem while parents and teachers walk away and consider the situation handled and over with. But the problem is not over. Many shelters become inundated at this time of year, while others are unequipped to provide proper care for waterfowl. Sadly, many shelters face the difficult choice of euthanizing those birds that they have no space for or cannot find homes for (Majestic does not euthanize waterfowl except in tragic situations when an animal’s situation is hopeless).

A parent who removes a neglected duckling from a classroom without confronting the school about the program may have good intentions, but good intentions just aren’t enough. Saving one duckling is a fine place to start, but nowhere near the right place to finish. Many teachers have every expectation of hatching out more homeless birds in their next year’s class, teaching the same irresponsibility and thoughtlessness regarding animal care to children year-after-year.

We urge schools to use alternatives such as picture books, models, videos, and classroom drawing activities in lieu of hatching programs. Some ideas and resources for teachers can be found at the following websites:

United Poultry Concerns - Hatching Projects - Hatching Projects

Fortunately, more and more parents and educators are urging alternatives to these insensitive projects. As ASPCA president, Roger Caras, writes, "Each year, the ASPCA receives numerous calls from public school teachers and science coordinators asking for alternatives to the chick hatching project. These caring educators have demonstrated their concern, as well as the concern of their coworkers and the children's parents, as to the unusual amount of cruelty to animals that this project entails and its negative educational value."

Majestic does not condone the hatching of birds in classrooms because we have seen the results of such programs first hand. As with other subjects, development and growth cycles can be taught successfully without bringing live animals into the classroom. However, if you are unable to convince your local school or teacher to stop hatching, you can at least insist that they adhere to the following important Golden Rules.

The Golden Rules:

1. A safe home for the ducklings after they hatch must be pre-arranged PRIOR to acquiring fertile eggs and hatching out birds. Animal shelters do not qualify as a proper plan.

2. Teachers must find a qualified waterfowl vet prior to hatching and be willing to provide vet care at their expense for any ducklings in their care.

3. Teachers must be fully educated on proper incubation and adhere to proper techniques to ensure ducklings have the best chance of a healthy hatching.

4. Teachers must be fully educated on proper waterfowl nutrition and they must provide proper duckling food (purchased from a grain store) and fresh water to the hatchling immediately upon hatching. This is one of the major offenses…ducklings being fed bread, cereal and even cottage cheese…leading to malnutrition, deformities, lameness and even death.

5. Teachers must ensure safe and clean housing for the ducklings while they are guests at the school. Ducklings should not be left unattended at the school between classes, overnight, or on weekends (eggs that hatch out on weekends when no one is present can have disastrous results), but rather the teacher should be taking full responsibility for the eggs and hatchlings at all times. Teachers need to take serious precautions to protect fragile eggs and ducklings from the hands of overzealous students. Close supervision is a must to avoid life-threatening injuries to un-hatched and hatched ducklings.

6. Careful considerations must be made in advance in case a duckling hatches out with a physical deformity. It is not that uncommon for ducklings to hatch out lame. Pre-arranged homes won’t necessarily work out in these instances; back-up plans are needed in advance (again, animal shelters are not a proper back up plan).

7.Teachers need to exert control over the number of ducklings they hatch out in their classrooms. It is not necessary to hatch out dozens of ducklings to teach a single class about development. Avoid excess.

Find out if your local schools have a hatching program. If so, please get involved and ensure that they are being handled responsibly. It is up to YOU to monitor the education your children are receiving.

Duck Alien X-Ray

On Sunday, May 21, 2006 an adult male mallard was brought to the International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) ( with what appeared to be a broken wing. The assistant manager of the center, radiographed the mallard and was immediately shocked by what was revealed on the x-ray. A very clear image of what appeared to be the face, or head, of an extraterrestrial alien was in the bird’s stomach. Regrettably, IBRRC reports the duck succumbed to its injuries and passed away quickly, quietly, and peacefully after the x-rays were taken. A necropsy was done by UC Davis veterinarians and showed the stomach had some grain in it, but no alien.

The 35 year-old bird rescue organization put their x-ray of the mallard on eBay and sold it for $9600 to the Golden Palace Casino. Proceeds from the sale of this one-of-a-kind x-ray will go towards funding the IBRRC’s continuing efforts to rescue and rehabilitate oiled, orphaned and injured waterfowl and aquatic birds.

Visit to purchase a t-shirt of the Duck Alien X-Ray. Proceeds go to the IBRRC.

"In the midst of all the humor exists a great and destructive surge that is building momentum; that is the effects humans are having on their, our, environment. The animals that we see every day in our clinics, whether damaged intentionally or as the result of human pollution, are clear evidence of that and their numbers are growing. This is all a result of our attitudes towards nature and our planet. Attitudes are powerful as they carry information, apathy and greed, to name a few, resulting in the environment being a nuisance, or unimportant." --Jay Holcomb, 20 year Director of the IBRRC.

       Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee in connection with any guidance provided on this website. Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility for loss or damage resulting from its use or for the violation of any federal, state or municipal law or regulation with which such guidance may conflict. Any guidance is general in nature. In addition, the assistance of a qualified professional should be enlisted to address any specific circumstances.

© Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary 2006