The Majestic Monthly


Issue 19: July 2006

In This Issue...


Splinting Legs


Expanding Our Waterfowl Vet Directory


Keeping Waterfowl Cool in Summer


Avoiding Toxic Plants


Keeping Ponds and Pools Clean


Get to Know Your Predators: Black Rat Snake


Recommended Reading:
Venomous Animals & Poisonous Plants


Reader Poll #19

Get to Know Your Predators: Black Rat Snake

The Black Rat Snake can grow up to eight feet long and they can climb trees. They are constrictors who wrap around their victims and suffocate them before consuming them and ducklings are in high risk of predation.

Although they are rarely known to cause trouble, keep all native species of snakes in mind when building your enclosures, especially if you have ducklings or small ducks. Digging predator barriers will keep rodents from digging tunnels into your pen, which will also keep snakes from moving into tunnels and finding a way inside. Cats, dogs and the presence of large predatory birds can be good snake deterrents.

There are laws protecting native snakes, so before you react to any on your property, it would be wise to first check your state’s legislature on the matter.

Reader Poll #19

Question: What would you do if your duck or goose broke a leg?

Take it to the vet
Try to splint it myself
Have a friend splint it
Post to forums for advice
"Wait and see" approach
Euthanize the duck/goose

Voting Has Closed.
Please see next issue for results.

Results of Reader Poll #18

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

An Alien 40%
Corn Kernels 0%
Trick of Light & Shadow 40%
Internal Organ Deformity 0%
Forever a Mystery! 20%

Recommended Reading*

A Field Guide to Venomous Animals and Poisonous Plants
Steven Foster & Roger Caras

| Ordering information |


This essential guide to safety in the field features 90 venomous animals and more than 250 poisonous plants and fungi. The 340 line drawings make identification fast and simple; 160 species are also illustrated with color photographs.

* 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!

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.

Splinting Duck and Goose Legs

We receive quite a few disturbing emails that begin: “Can you tell me how to splint my duck’s leg…”

When a duck or goose breaks their leg, qualified veterinary assistance is always in immediate order. Do not try to splint your bird’s leg in lieu of seeking out a qualified vet to do the procedure properly.

We have received emails from folks boasting that they saved the day with a few ordinary popsicle sticks and some gauze tape, but whenever we have asked them to produce a photo of the duck after the splint was removed, communications from their end always came to a screeching halt. Apparently, the final result was not as pretty or perfect as boasters would have liked us to believe.

You can cause serious injury and further discomfort to an animal when trying to remedy a problem without proper equipment, tools and information. Your vet has all of these things on hand, so please leave this to the professionals.

X-rays need to be done, and fractured bones may need to be reset before splints or casts are administered. A qualified waterfowl vet must do this procedure to prevent infection, lameness or even death. Anesthesia and pain relievers will most likely be needed to help alleviate the trauma and pain your stressed feathered friend is experiencing.

Expanding Our Waterfowl Vet Directory

Please take a moment to visit our Waterfowl Vet Finder and check the vet listings for your state. This is a resource available to assist you and your flock.

If you have a waterfowl vet and they are not listed here, please fill out the form to add them to our list. As many of you know, it can be very difficult to find a waterfowl vet in your vicinity. By adding your waterfowl vet to our directory you do a great service to others in your area interested in the quality care of their flock.

We are looking for volunteers for our Waterfowl Vet Finder Directory Expansion Team. If you live in a state other than CT, RI, MA, ME, NH or NY you can volunteer your time and phone line to call on avian vets in your own state (phone lists will be provided to you). Volunteers confirm which avian vets handle waterfowl and get their verbal permission to be added to our website directory. This is a great way to help ducks and geese right in your own state! If you are interested in helping build our directory, please fill out our Online Volunteer Form and check the box to join our Waterfowl Vet Finder Directory Expansion Team.

Keeping Waterfowl Cool in Summer:
The Autumn Olive Tree (Elaeagnus umbellata)

Some folks don’t care for the Autumn Olive tree since it has escaped cultivation and progressively invades natural areas, but Majestic highly recommends this shade tree for your waterfowl.

One of the great things about this tree is you can prune it to your heart’s content in any season with little risk of killing it. In fact, it tends to grow back even stronger after a pruning. We enjoy shaping the fast growing trees that naturally dot our landscape. They are easy to transplant and they make nice shady spots in our waterfowl pens. It is simple to control their height and shape, so you can sculpt them to fit into nearly any size pen or yard.

The Autumn Olive thrives in full sun and it enriches the soil with nitrogen. It flowers in spring and smells amazing. In the fall, the thick bunches of non-toxic berries attract wild birds into your yard.

Avoiding Toxic Plants

We have received many requests for information on toxic plants. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center has a very helpful list with photographs to help you ensure that your duck and goose pens are safe from many kinds of toxic flowers, plants, shrubs and trees. Please visit their website to view the List of Toxic Plants.

Some signs that your waterfowl may have ingested something toxic include:

  1. Diarrhea
  2. Vomiting
  3. Drooping neck, wings
  4. Weakness
  5. Seizures, Tremors, Convulsing, Shivering
  6. Irritation around eyes or bill
  7. Depression
  8. Hyperventilation
  9. Loss of appetite

If any of your flock members exhibit any of these traits, please consult your veterinarian immediately.

Keeping Ponds and Pools Clean

It is important to keep kiddy pools and ponds clean, either by filtration or the old fashioned empty & fill routine. Botulism is a deadly threat and it brews easily in warm, stagnant or unclean water. Avoid unnecessary risks; do not throw food into your ponds. Uneaten portions sink to the bottom and may grow the type of bacteria you are trying to avoid in your healthy waterfowl environment.


       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