The Majestic Monthly


Issue 22: October 2006

In This Issue...


Feeding Your Waterfowl




Drake Hormones on the Decline


The Month in Photos!


Get to Know Your Predators: American Black Bear


Recommended Reading:
Waterfowl Painting Basics


Reader Poll #22

The Month in Photos!

Sweet little Vixen

Prancer & Vixen

Elijah cleaning his belly!

Handsome Elijah!

Get to Know Your Predators: American Black Bear

Do I need to tell you how big a bear is? BIG! An American Black Bear can range anywhere between 100 and 650 pounds. Bears have been known to wander through many areas where they have never been seen before. 

There is no protection against a bear other than extremely strong, fully enclosed pens and a sturdy barn to lock your ducks up in at night. If bears are a threat in your area, be careful not to lure them toward your ducks. Don’t make food sources available to them. Unless you are allowing your hens to hatch out ducklings, pick up daily eggs and store or dispose of them properly. Don’t allow unfertilized eggs to linger in nests and tickle a bear’s nose and don’t throw old eggs into the woods. Be mindful of where you store your grain; it should be locked up in a building where a bear cannot gain access. You may even wish to store it in a separate building from your ducks.

Recommended Reading*

| Ordering information |

Waterfowl Painting Basics:
Waterfowl & Wading Birds

By Rod Lawrence

Michigan-based painter Rod Lawrence has offered everything an artist needs to learn to paint water birds. This book explains how to compose thumbnail sketches, use reference photos, master anatomical details, capture action in feeding and flying, and place birds in typical environments. Short instructional demonstrations specify surface, paint, and brush materials, and guide the artist step by step through explicit aspects of waterfowl depiction, such as painting a folded wing on a female mallard in watercolor. Although Lawrence stresses the importance of working directly from nature, every page is packed with enough technical material to keep the artist challenged whether indoors or out. The book is geared for painters of all stages and media who want to bring waterfowl to life.

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

Reader Poll #22

Question: Who won the battle in the Merrie Melodies cartoon Rabbit Seasoning? (Click here for a synopsis of the plot)

Bugs Bunny
Daffy Duck
Elmer Fudd
It was a Duck-Rabbit Tie
It was a Three-Way Draw

Voting Has Closed.
Please see next issue for results.

Results of Reader Poll #21

What kinds of predators are in your area? (Listed in order of most to least responses)

Domestic Dogs/Cats
Snapping Turtles
Bobcats/Mountain Lions

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.

Feeding Your Waterfowl

We’ve been getting quite a few emails asking us what we recommend for feed. We highly recommend the Mazuri brand of waterfowl food above all others. The Mazuri line was developed to feed your pets; whereas other brands are geared more toward farming. You want your ducks and geese to live long lives with well balanced diets, so you should have them on a diet that supports their needs. You want to avoid foods designed for fattening them up for market. Mazuri costs more than other brands, but you want the best for your beloved pets, so it is our recommendation to go this route.

In our opinion, the laying formula itself is worth its weight in gold. While some laying formulas push hens to produce a daily egg, taxing their bodies, the Mazuri Breeder fosters your hens’ needs, supporting them nutritionally throughout their laying cycles. Without the expectation of hatching out little ones, we recommend a ratio of 50% Breeder to 50% Maintenance as long as eggs appear normal.

If eggs appear rough, odd shaped or soft, then you want to increase their Breeder ratio a little bit each day until you see a positive change in their egg quality. Once you have stabilized your hen, and eggs look healthy, you want to slowly work on decreasing her ration of Breeder again. You want to find that equilibrium—the point where she gets the maximum benefit from the least amount of Breeder.

It is not uncommon for hens to require a higher Breeder ratio in the spring and summer—during the laying season (this can be true even for those hens who lay eggs all year long). You may have to feed your hens separately, if some of them have different Breeder ratio requirements. Non-laying hens, drakes and ganders should not be fed Breeder formula. It won’t hurt them if they happen to get into it, but it is not a good dietary option for them.

bullet Mazuri Waterfowl Starter (for ducklings and goslings up to 7 weeks of age)
bullet Mazuri Waterfowl Maintenance (for ducks and geese 8 weeks and older)
bullet Mazuri Waterfowl Breeder (for mature laying hens)

Mazuri has a dealer locator on their website to help you find a supplier near you. If you can’t find one, ask your local grain supplier if they will special order it for you. You may need to order a few weeks in advance, but it is well worth the effort. We have seen miracles occur with this food when new rescues come in to our sanctuary.

If you cannot locate the Mazuri or afford to have it shipped to you, there are other options available to you:

Blue Seal:

bullet Blue Seal OrganicLife Starter Crumbles (for ducklings and goslings up to 3 weeks of age)
bullet Blue Seal OrganicLife Grower Crumbles (for ducklings and goslings 4 weeks and older)
bullet Blue Seal OrganicLife Layer Pellets (for mature laying hens)


bullet Purina Mills Flock Raiser SunFresh Recipe (for ducklings and goslings from first hatch through maturity)
bullet Purina Mills Layena Sunfresh Recipe (for mature laying hens)

*We had a great deal of difficulty with Purina's Layena formula when we used to use it at our sanctuary. Many of our hens laid soft shelled, odd-shaped, or rough eggs while on any ratio of this feed. When we called Purina they recommended the Mazuri line to us, designed specifically for pets. We followed their recommendation and have had tremendous results.

If your ducks and geese have access to the great outdoors, they will get their grit from the ground. If they don’t have access to the dirt and sand which they eat and grind food with in their gizzards, then you want to purchase a bag of grit from your local grain store. This should be made available to them 24/7.

Laying hens should have access to a calcium source 24/7. You can purchase oyster shells or calcium chips from your local grain store. This should not be mixed in with their regular food. Place it in a different feeder. Your hens have the instincts to know just how much and when to eat this supplement. If you mix it with their food, you can throw them off.

Another great source of calcium is to hard boil your hen’s eggs, chop them up and feed them back to them—shells and all.


If your pens aren’t grassy and large, grazing is a great idea. Open the door and take your friends for a walk in the yard. It’s good for them and fun as well. They will eat greens and forage for bugs in the grass. This is all added nutrition for them and will make your animals that much healthier.

Be sure to keep your ducks and geese away from any treated areas of your lawns, and remember toxins have a tendency to move with rain and tread.

Ducks and geese should always be chaperoned during free range excursions. Predators are quick, especially around this time of year as food supplies diminish. Watching from the window is not the best option since we have heard from many of you who have lost flock members this way. It is nearly impossible to run down a fox, dog or coyote on the run and you are incapable of following a hawk, owl or eagle. Your presence with your flock members is what keeps these trouble makers away when your ducks and geese are outside of their enclosures.

When grass fades it is a great idea to add greens to your flock’s diet. Please see our April 2005 Newsletter regarding foods you should avoid feeding your feathered friends.

Drake Hormones on the Decline

Hormone levels in the drakes are on the decline, and what a relief! Hormone levels drop noticeably in September and virtually disappear in October. The Fall is the best time of year to introduce new flock members. Drakes are less prone to fighting with each other and with newcomers at this time of year.

If you separate your drakes and hens during the mating season to give your hens a much deserved rest, you can slowly work at reuniting them now with a much reduced risk of over-mating. The love craze slowly tapers off and peace among the flock often resumes for a few months anyway (the “fun” usually resumes around February).

We keep all of our alpha drakes in separate quarters, most with at least one companion, and all with plenty of neighbors in adjacent pens. In October we usually begin taking steps to rejoin the majority of the drakes together. This is done by releasing a single alpha drake and all of his drake subordinates into our Courtyard pond—we try to choose a cold day to do this, so they are less feisty. Then, we release a second alpha drake into the area without his drake subordinates. Once the drakes work out their hierarchy and peace is achieved, we give them a few minutes to relax before releasing the second alpha drake’s subordinates, one at a time. These scuffles are usually less intense than the alpha struggles. We continue in this manner, releasing an alpha duck and then one-by-one releasing his subordinates, for as long as the general peace remains or until we have our flock sized and shaped accordingly. We are always equipped with wading boots and a long pole in preparation should we need to break up any drakes, but it rarely comes to this.

Sometimes this process needs to be stopped part way through and picked up again later, especially when introducing a number of alpha drakes. But most often, it can be completed on a Saturday morning and the newly formed flock can be monitored over the course of the weekend.

If any of the alpha drakes cannot work it out, they will need to remain separate from each other. Avoid leaving alpha drakes alone while they struggle for alpha dominance or injuries may result. Keep a close eye on the drakes for 1-2 days, checking on them frequently to be sure that peace is maintained. When in doubt, separate.

       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