Pekin Ducks at pond

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Pekin Ducks at pond

Postby laure8929 on Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:33 am

Not sure if anyone could help me with some solutions but it would be greatly appreciated if so. There is a public park with a pond that my family and I go to pretty much every day to feed the pekin ducks that people just seem to more and more abandon there. There is now a total of 13 of them. They know us and when we get there they come running to us waiting for us to feed them. We feed them cracked corn, worms, and bread. Yes, I actually order worms from Canada for them! (I know bread isn't good for them but they seem to like it.) There is a large island in the middle of the pond that they go to every night to sleep so I think they are safe from predators. There is also about 10 large white domesticated geese that we also feed that do not leave the park ever. My question is, how do they survive the winter? what about snowstorms? What about when the pond freezes? I live in Maryland and we have been known to get significant snowfalls and very cold temperatures sometimes. Other times, we have milder winters, it's very unpredictable. Apparently the geese have done ok through the years as they have been there awhile. I am more worried about the pekin ducks and there is also about 3 or 4 domesticated mallards that stay with the pekins (much larger mallards than the smaller ones). Will they make it? If I had the right kind of yard, I'd happily pick them up and take them home but thats not a possibility as I have a homeowners association that wouldn't allow it. My son has become very attached to them and I would hate to see them come into any harm. If anyone could provide me with some information I would greatly appreciate it. Oh and at the park, there are also tons of Canadian geese and small mallards, but I believe most of them leave when the weather gets bad. The park actually has signs up that say please don't feed the waterfowl, which I think is just wrong if there are domesticated geese and ducks that live there that are stuck there and depend on people to feed them during the winter! Of course, no one seems to pay attention to those signs as many people go there and feed them. My concern is the winter as less and less people are going now. Also, do you have any suggestions on what else we could feed them? I tried giving them eggs and some fruit but they wouldn't go near that.
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Re: Pekin Ducks at pond

Postby ChickMom on Sat Dec 03, 2011 1:04 pm

Oh, you are so kind to help the poor pekins. What a shame that people are seeing them there and assuming they can just dump their ducks too. The domestic mallards who are larger than the wild ones, are as you suspected, domestic ducks also. They do not have the ability or instinct to migrate.

If you feed bread, please consider whole grain or keeping the amounts to a small bit. Probably most of the other people feed them trash like bread and crackers so you may be the only one interested in providing healthy foods. If you have a feed store nearby, you could also get scratch grains so that they get more than corn. Corn, however, will help them make it through the winter as it is fattening which helps them stay warmer. It's less good for them in the summer. If it was possible to bring some food bowls or tubs to put it in, it would be good for them to have waterfowl feed, gamebird feed, turkey feed, or even chicken feed. However, you may have to get them used to it first. If I get a duck who is not used to real food, they make the transition more easily if you put something they like in with the feed - so some of the corn or scratch grains. But, I understand that using bowls may not work and you wouldn't want to put the real feed down on snow or it will get wet and could mold. Another food that I'm told is good to feed park ducks is regular cheerios because these are whole grains and low in sugar. Catfish food is also good in that it floats and is high protein - the park ducks are likely to not get much protein (which is why they love the worms - they probably crave the protein). In the winter, they can't get much greenery at all, so shredding up some dark leaf lettuce to throw in the water for them is usually very appreciated.

Obviously, the best thing would be if you could find someone who would be willing to adopt the group and provide a safe home with good food. It would be a chore to catch them, but given that they come running to you, it may be quite do-able. The biggest danger to them is that when the pond freezes, they will not be safe from predators. Dogs, raccoons, or any kind of wild animals there (and you might be quite surprised as the presence of fox or other such things) can walk out on the ice and get them, particularly at night. Of course, they also need water to drink to survive. If the pond has a fountain or aerator and the city keeps it running in winter, they should be okay, but if the pond freezes they really are the proverbial "sitting ducks".

You are helping them very much to stay as healthy as possible - but winter is dangerous for them and if a home could be found, it would be really terrific. You might look through the rescuer listings for your area and call around to see if anyone has ideas. I also sometimes advertise on craigslist (under pets) to try to find homes for ducks here who need a new home. Of course, you have to try to find out as much as you can to try to ensure they are going to be pets rather than dinner and that the home is prepared to keep them safe - but they are in a risky situation now and that's a way to try to improve things for them.

Best wishes to you and the lovely ducks. Thank you so much for caring for them.
-Chick Mom/Marlys in Oklahoma
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Re: Pekin Ducks at pond

Postby karnf on Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:02 pm

I know its been almost two years since you posted and I just joined this site. I wanted to find out what happened to the ducks that were at your community park and if they were rescued and found a new home. Did you find a rescue in your area for I live in Maryland too and have a very similar situations at an area community park with seven pekin ducks and one domestic brown duck that is following them. They are very skittish and stay on the lake all the time and only go to the shoreline to sleep. The bad part is that it looks like dispite the no feeding signs people are feeding them white bread and that looks like the only food they are getting. I have left messages at the park for they no longer have park rangers to monitor them. There is one person that works there and tries to catch them but does it when he has time. I don't live close to the park so can't go there everyday plus an unemployed and don't have the funds to buy corn to feed them everyday. I have posted on facebook in my area and have gotten numerous responsed offering dog crates but thats all and don't realize that they need to build trust by regular feeding to gain their trust. I have a rescue is someone can catch them but I can't find an organization who can commit to the feeding and trapping them. The park personnel are nonresponsive and don't seem to be that concerned of their situation with winter just around the corner. I feel so bad for them and don't know what to do going forward. Do you have any suggestions?
The ducks are at the Waterford Lake Park in Pasadena Maryland. Please let me know are anyone else who reads this?
thanks for all you did for the pekin ducks in peril. god bless you.
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