Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary, 17 Barker Road, Lebanon, CT, 06249

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Educational / School Research Projects

We receive quite a few requests asking us to participate in educational projects regarding our sanctuary as a business operation. Before contacting us with your interview questions please read the below information of frequently asked questions. If you have any questions not covered here, please feel free to Contact Us.

Students are permitted to use this information for their educational projects/presentations provided they credit Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary with the use of this material.

Year Started:

We began rescuing ducks & geese in the Fall of 2004. We became an official non-profit organization a year later in September of 2005.

Opening Motivators:

We opened our sanctuary upon discovering that waterfowl abandonment was a real issue not only in our area, but nationwide. While we always knew we wanted to help animals, the decision to assist domestic waterfowl hinged upon there being so few available options for these former pets. The lack of shelters for ducks and geese was a major factor in our decision to open a shelter that specializes in the care of waterfowl.

Our Mission Statement:

Our mission at Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary is to stop the vicious cycle of waterfowl abandonment.

Through rescue, rehabilitation, placement and education, we do everything we can to prevent the inhumane physical and emotional traumatization and death of these former pets--first at a local level here in Connecticut, and ultimately at a national level.

We humanely capture abandoned domestic ducks and geese and bring them into our sanctuary for care and medical treatment. Once physically and emotionally healthy, we do everything we can to find them safe, loving and permanent new homes.

Capacity:

In 2004 our sanctuary held approximately a dozen ducks. As of 2013, we have a capacity of more than 40 animals. We never overcrowd our pens because it can lead to disease, depression and internal fighting. 

*We are currently in the midst of rebuilding some of our original enclosures, which means we're adopting out animals without filling their pens afterwards. While it means we're taking in less rescued animals for the time being, it will soon ensure that we can help the maximum amount of ducks and geese all of the time. Our new pens are being built to last forever!

Our Pens:

Our enclosures are constructed with the goal of providing safe and peaceful habitats for our rescued ducks and geese to help them relax and recover from any prior trauma they may have experienced. To learn more about our enclosures please Click Here. To learn more about safe pen building Click Here.

Day-to-Day Operations:

Day-to-day operations vary week to week, month to month and season to season. Here are some of the things we do at Majestic:

Rescuing Ducks & Geese

Rescuing is a MAJOR part of our work. Deciding who to rescue based on urgency also plays a vital role. These are some of the most difficult decisions we have to make.

Our busiest time of year is September - November. This is when we receive the most emails for help. Things usually wane down from December - February.

For more information on Rescuing Click Here.

We also advise others how to rescue abandoned ducks and geese in their area when the birds in jeopardy are outside of our reach. For this information Click Here.

Helping Other Shelters

We are interested in the health and well-being of ALL ducks & geese, which includes those at other shelters. We will often defer potential adopters to their local shelters when we know of birds residing there. We also help other shelters who are not equipped to handle waterfowl, or who are overfull, by transferring their animals here.

We also work with local Animal Control Officers to ensure that their rescues have a safe place to go.

Managing Owner Surrenders

On the whole we take in very few owner surrenders. Our philosophy is to always help those ducks & geese without advocates first--and ducks and geese who already have owners have an advocate. We usually limit owner surrenders to female birds or very friendly birds. For more information click on Owner Surrender.

Meeting The Dietary Needs of our Rescues:

Diets are closely managed to ensure everyone is healthy and eating properly. We pay special attention to our laying hens and examine their eggs daily to ensure they are not soft shelled, odd-shaped or oddly-textured. These vital indicators tell us when laying diets need to be adjusted. For more on dietary information Click Here.

Cleaning:

Pens, houses and barns are cleaned daily. In some case, only a fresh sprinkle of hay is needed; in other cases, hay needs to be pitched and new hay needs to be laid down. Food dishes and water buckets also require daily attention.

Pen Maintenance

Pens are inspected regularly to ensure their safety and predator proof nature. Any repairs need to be attended to immediately.

Seasonal Tasks

In addition to daily tasks there are seasonal tasks that need to be attended to:

Spring: Thorough barn cleaning, rake pens, turn over soil in pens, seed grass in pens, muck out ponds, ensure functionality of piped water system to all pens and ponds.

Summer: Prune trees bi-weekly, weed Abby's Goose Run.

Fall: Rake leaves, weed Abby's Goose Run.

Winter: Manually change out water in all heated buckets daily, shovel snow, sand pens, clear aviary nets during storms, keep electric fence clear of snow and ice.

Vet Care:

Vet trips are commonplace. We often have at least one duck or goose requiring some sort of medical attention. This can include sick or injured birds, special needs birds who require ongoing care or aging birds who require intermittent check-ups.

Maintaining Detailed Medical Records:

Every bird who comes to us has their own hardcopy medical file, which includes specific details about their gender, breed, history and overall health as well as including relevant photographs. These records are maintained in Microsoft Excel and then printed out for their hardcopy file. Copies are available to adopters free upon request.

Screening New Homes & Adoption

Our peak adoption season usually runs March - May. During this time we read through submitted online adoption applications, review photos of pens, conduct phone interviews and make sure we are finding the right family for the right duck or goose. To learn more about adoptions Click Here.

We offer potential adopters many things that other shelters do not. For more information about this Click Here.

Fundraising:

Our sanctuary runs on a budget of approximately $10-12K a year. This averages out to approximately $300 per bird. This includes vet costs, hay, feed, electricity (pond pump, minimal lighting and heated water buckets in winter), basic supplies (buckets, hoses, kiddie pools, tools, gear) and a few basic office supplies. We do NOT draw any kind of salaries at Majestic. All work is done on a strict voluntary basis.

Over 90% of our proceeds come from private donors who usually find us via the internet and become supporters of our cause.

We run an annual Blue Ribbon Photo Contest and we offer a Sponsorship Program to help assist us in meeting our sanctuary's funding needs. We will also occasionally run supply fundraisers to have particular items donated. A good example of this was our Donate A Duck House Fundraiser that successfully provided a dozen new duck houses to our sanctuary!

Website, E-list & Newsletters:

A good amount of our time is spent updating our website and putting together monthly newsletters. We understand the frustration of the lack of resources out there for pet duck and goose owners, so we do everything we can to share our knowledge (especially newly gained information) with families. When we learn breaking new medical information we always share it with the public free of charge. This is how we help EVERY duck and goose who needs it--because they all matter to us!

Website updates also include the profile management of every duck and goose in our sanctuary. There are few things more frustrating to adopters than falling in love with the photo of an animal at a shelter only to discover that the animal is no longer there. We understand this issue and make sure that it NEVER happens here. Profiles are managed closely--any bird listed on our website as "Adoptable" is here and waiting for their new family. Pending adoptions are also clearly marked.

We receive about a dozen emailed inquiries/concerns daily that range from simple Yes and No questions to replies that require detailed information along with links to various pages of our website. We do not use form responses of any kind during our correspondences, but give every email the attention it deserves. Not only does this directly help families with pet ducks and geese feel special, but it also helps us make new friends and find new supporters.

Media, Educational & Awareness Programs

We occasionally agree to television, magazine or newspaper articles. We also speak at schools, educational events and pet functions. We use these venues to educate people about the plight of abandoned domestic waterfowl.

Our main messages are:

1) Don't purchase ducklings without doing your research first. This includes building a safe pen and finding a qualified waterfowl veterinarian.

2) When properly cared for most ducks have life spans of 8-12 years with a lucky few making it to 15 years. Muscovy ducks can live 15-20 years. Geese normally live 20-25 years.

3) Don't abandon pet ducks & geese in public locations, ponds or waterways where they tend to succumb to traumatization, injury, frostbite, malnutrition, starvation, acts of human cruelty and often death within their first year of life.

4) Most domestic ducks and geese can NOT fly. A few can get lift and raise themselves a few feet off of the ground or water, but their bodies are too heavy in relation to their wing-size to attain actual flight.

Red-faced Muscovy ducks and tiny Call ducks can fly, but do NOT know how to migrate because they have never been taught by their parents. Owners of these breeds of ducks need to keep them in enclosures that prevent flight escape.

5) Speak up against hatching programs taking place in your local school--especially those that don't have a proper home arranged for the birds afterwards.

We have strict stipulations that must be met in order for us to take in ducklings hatched in classrooms. Follow the link to learn more about our policy regarding School Hatching Programs.

6) When visiting the park, don't feed ducks and geese bread or junk food (which can lead to botulism outbreaks in water and also leads to malnutrition). Instead, feed them small amounts of round, floating, plain formula cat kibble--which has the protein they require in their diet.

7) Pet ducks and geese need to be maintained on specialized Waterfowl Feed specifically designed for their health and longevity.

Research

Research is another vital part of sanctuary life. This means keeping on top of the latest news regarding waterfowl care. We work with our vets to learn breaking new procedures, medicinal options and care techniques.

We also communicate with hundreds of duck and goose owners and acquire knowledge from both their successes and failures. We learn as we go and we share what we learn.

Toughest Challenges

One of our most difficult challenges is space. We can only help so many animals, so we have to help the most desperate and most likely to succumb to injury or death first.

The most common request for help we receive is to take in male ducks (drakes). Because drakes tend to fight among themselves, we can usually only house one male in each or our enclosure's individual sections in order to prevent fighting. This means we are often full to capacity when it comes to boys. In these cases, we try to find other solutions for abandoned drakes--either other shelter possibilities or finding a family to place them with immediately upon their rescue.

Another challenge we face is with potential adopters. We frequently receive emails of complaint from families who want to adopt birds from us, but who allow their current flock to wander around free range. These families will insist that they have no predators in their area (which is never true) and that we should adopt birds to them. Our policy is to NEVER adopt our rescues to free range homes, which doesn't go over well with these individuals. Sadly, we often hear back from these same exact families within a year of their original correspondence only to learn that one or more of their birds has been lost to predators. At this time we can only offer our emotional support and teach them how to better protect their remaining flock members.

Dealing with negligent owners who want to relinquish their pet ducks or geese to us can also be extremely challenging. It's vital under these circumstances that we remain calm and agreeable to ensure the animals make it safely into our care. Once pets are officially relinquished we offer carefully delivered information in the hopes of preventing repeat acts of negligence. It's important that prior owners walk away feeling they've done the right thing for their pets and also that they speak positively of our sanctuary to others. It's not always easy being kind and patient in these situations, but it's the most effective way to help the animals involved.

Greatest Rewards

While new friendships (both feathered and human) are one of the best rewards of our waterfowl rescue endeavor, there is no greater reward than watching a sick or injured bird make a full recovery and then go on to find their new loving and devoted home. 

Printed Materials

If you require printable materials for your project/presentation you can click on Brochure or browse through past issues of our Archived Newsletters.


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 2005

 
 

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