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Issue 37: January 2008

In This Issue:

  Catching & Handling Waterfowl
  Farewell Beautiful Sebastian
  Our Dear Tutter-Tut
  To Make A Donation
  The Month in Photos!
  Adopt or Sponsor
  Recommended Reading

The Month in Photos!

Angelo our little airplane...

Trio:  Bunky, Angelo & Pretty Girl

Asaru & Tiwana in the snow

Aladdin strikes a pose!

Daisy May & Tiwana

Bowie has a chat with Merry & Pippin

Jasmine & Aladdin... A kiss...

Adopt or Sponsor!

If you are a loving family and have a predator proof pen, please consider adopting!  Click here to fill out  our online adoption application.

If you can’t adopt, please consider sponsoring by visiting our sponsor page.

Recommended Reading*

The Perfect Nest

Product Description

Jack the cat is building the perfect nest. It’s bound to attract the perfect chicken, who will lay the perfect egg, which will make the perfect omelet.

And sure enough, a chicken shows up, but so do a duck and a goose . Feathers get ruffled — and Jack gets much more than breakfast — in a funny tale rich in detail with a sweet final twist.

Click here to order.

* For our full recommended reading list, click here. If you order from Amazon by way of our website, 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. Previous issues are available in our Archives.

Catching & Handling Waterfowl 

In order to avoid injuring your duck or goose, it is important to know how to catch and handle them. Friendly birds typically do not need to be caught; for these feathered friends you can just lift them up and hold them or set them on your laps. But for those of you out there who have shy or aggressive flock members, there may be times when you need to handle them. You should be able to catch and hold any member of your flock at the drop of a hat. This is imperative in the case of medical emergencies; it is also helpful when performing worming, delousing or leg banding.

Ducks and geese have fragile hips and legs. Never catch them by the legs or you risk breaks, sprains and dislocations. Further, when cornering them in their pen, be very careful not to run them over or through any dangerous obstacles (holes, rocks, pools or other objects). Slowly ease them to the section of their pen that will allow for easy and safe capture.


When picking up a goose, it is easiest to scoop them up. Put your dominant arm behind their body and slide one hand under their bottom and forward between their legs. Lift the goose up into your arms. One of the wings will be pressed safely against your torso. Put your free arm under their belly to help support the weight of the goose, and use that hand to hold the other wing in place--to prevent it from flapping. If your goose is a bit feisty, you can use your non-dominant hand to gently hold them by the neck—do not squeeze. You can limit their range of motion and prevent being bitten by holding your hand high up on their neck.

When catching a goose that is not accustomed to being held, you can corner them in an area of their pen and catch them with one hand around their neck—loosely. Do not squeeze. While they are dealing with this distraction, follow the instructions above and quickly put your other arm underneath them and between their legs. Now you can pick them up. It is best to have a helper when dealing with a goose that is not used to handling. An assistant can help keep the goose’s outer wing safely tucked in.

When you lift a domestic goose up without supporting their legs, they do not have the leverage they need to power their huge wings. Although people tend to fear their open bill, we find their wings are more likely to cause serious injury if not properly controlled. Bites can be serious and even draw blood, but it is pretty easy to dodge a bite—especially if wearing gloves. Being hit with a fast and repetitive flapping goose wing can cause serious bruising and can even break bones.

When dealing with aggressive or fearful geese, it is always wise to wear protective clothing, including leather gloves, a thick jacket and blue jeans. Keep striking zones in mind when attempting to catch a goose that is not tame. A goose will typically strike that part of your body which is closest to them. Make sure your face is not their primary target. Approach them from the side or back—not head on. Keep your hands extended out in front of you.

Stand up straight; do not make your approach on a goose while bent over or leaning forward. If a goose is going to strike, you want them to hit your arms or legs. If you are about to catch a goose and it strikes at you be very careful not to pull your arms back reflexively or you may expose your face to the attack. Remember, arms forward, face held back. Use your arms and hands to deflect a bite and then grab the goose’s neck with your other hand. You can either scoop them up at this point, or squat down over them to hold their wings safely in place.

Keep in mind, if a goose strikes and latches onto your protective clothing, they are immediately vulnerable to capture. They are distracted and their bill is closed, seize them by the neck and scoop them up or squat down over them.

It can be very helpful to have a partner who distracts them while you come up behind them to grab them and scoop them up.

If you have an aggressive goose in your flock, an occasional capture and lift will boost you to the top of the pecking order. As an alpha leader, your goose will not act aggressively towards you, but will respectively move out of your way.


Picking up a duck is much easier than a goose, because they aren’t nearly as aggressive, and they are a lot smaller. Their wings aren’t as powerful and the inside of their bills have little combs as opposed to jagged edges. If a duck bites you or hits you with their wing, it may sting a bit, draw a dot of blood, or bring on a small bruise or scratch, but these are worst case scenarios and are not common, especially with proper handling. 

If your duck is used to being handled you can just pick them up by placing your hands over their body—one hand on each side, the way you would pick up a cat. Once in your arms, you can support their feet.

If your duck is not used to being handled, you will need to corner them in their pen. Then, pick them up the same way as a goose: scoop them up from the back with one hand under their body and between their legs. Do not support the legs to avoid wing flapping and toe nail scratches. Keep one wing pressed against your torso and restrain the other with your free hand.

Unless you have a very aggressive duck, you will not need to place a hand on their neck at any time during catching or handling. If you do have a biter on your hands in lieu of holding their neck it would be wiser to just wear a sweatshirt or jacket. Protective clothing will prevent them from their trademark pinch & twist strategy to get you to let them go.

Farewell Beautiful Sebastian...

Our hearts are with you, Sharon, during this trying time. It is so hard to let go of our dear feathered friends. You made Sebastian's life so perfect and a happier duck she could not have been, and that is entirely because of you. Rest in knowing that she is forever happy and will always look down upon you with complete love and without a single regret.

Click here to read Sharon & Sebastian's story.

Our Dear Tutter-Tut

Sadly, our Tutter lost his ability to walk very suddenly on the Saturday before Christmas. An x-ray revealed that he has either bone cancer or a bone infection in his left knee joint.

Tutter is on antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication. He is resting comfortably in our basement infirmary where we can check on him frequently and carry him upstairs to the tub for warm baths. We had a few warm, sunny days, so we brought him outside for a few hours to be with his best friend Angelo. Visits with his good friend always lift his spirits.

Tutter is responding well to his medication, but we will not know the true nature of his affliction until he goes back to the vet for a follow up, comparative x-ray. 

Special thank you to Dr. Poster of Poster Animal Hospital, Dr. Melgey of All Friends Animal Hospital and to our good friend Caroline for helping me hold my heart together and keeping me focused.

To Make a Donation...

If you would like to help support the special needs members of our flock, like Tutter and Glory, click here to make a donation.

       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 2008