a diaper harness harm my duck/goose?
No one, at least
no one reading this site, wants to do anything that would harm one of these lovely little creatures. When I designed
the harness for them I certainly took their welfare into consideration. I chose the soft, stretchy lycra material so
it would be as comfortable as possible. Even if you pick it up with the leash so it is hanging, the harness won't
hurt as it acts like a soft bag with no straps pulling on them at any point. I have tried to cover as little of the
body as possible mainly because I didn't want anything to interfere with their heating and cooling system. Laying
eggs in the harness is no problem as it was designed to handle that situation. The diaper is a cushion for the egg so
it prevents any cracking and the pouch is deep enough to keep it from causing the bird an discomfort. I have raised
ducks and geese in the house, in diapers for about 14 years now. I lost my first little duck, Matilda, to egg binding,
but my Maggie goose is now 10 years old, Mimi Goose is 8 and Cricket is 7. I had never heard of "feather rot",
much less seen it, until I read on a group today, that the "harness must not be kept on at all times, the diaper must
be changed often or the duck can get feather rot." I do know that the diaper would be full to overflowing before
any feather rot could possibly occur, so that is a no-brainer. As far as keeping the harness on all the time, I do know
that they can keep it on for 2 or 3 days without harm as I have had to do it on trips sometimes. Traveling across the
country in an RV we stopped to give the birds their daily bath at rest stops, but they wore the harness all the rest of the
time. Normally they spend several hours a day outside, diaperless, taking their baths and soaking up the sunshine, but
if you are in an apartment, etc. and can only take the bird out for walks, don't worry about the harness. I also saw an opinion stating that the harness could hurt them as the "straps
lie directly on top of the bird's back" since the lungs are located directly under it. There is only one strap
on the back and since it is only 3/4 to one inch wide it doesn't cover much of an area. Also, since it connects
from the back of the neck to almost the end of the body, it lays close to the body, but puts no pressure at all on the
vertebra. He goes on to say that "birds have very small, compact lungs". Since they do
not expand as much as mammal's do, he has concluded that their lungs are very weak and any lessening of the
oxygen they take into their bodies can, in the long run, damage many of the bird's organs. I disagree for several
reasons. If covering up the verebra or putting the slightest pressure on it could do harm, why did Mother Nature
choose the vertebra (backbone) as the perfect spot to fold over the heaviest part of the wings? In actuality
the bird's lungs are stronger, not weaker. I am going to quote from www.ornithology.com. "In birds the lungs expand very little because the air goes through them into the air sacs and back through the
lungs on expiration. Thus not only can a greater volume of air pass through the lungs, but since it passes through twice,
gas exchange is more efficent. In addition, swimnming species have particularly large abdominal and post-thoracic air
sacs whose volume can be controlled for swimming or diving". There was also a mention that heart trouble could
also be caused by the diaper. That is really a stretch as "the heart of birds is relatively larger and
more powerful than that of reptiles and mammals of similar size...perhaps 50 to 100% larger!" No scientific study of bird's wearing diapers has been done since it is hard to find
a vet that even knows how to treat them, and no one is going to do a study until and unless it has a profitable purpose.
Enjoy your wonderful feathered companions and use your common sense. Mother
Nature didn't give weak lungs and hearts to creatures she expected to fly for several hundred miles non-stop.
Why does my duck run from me?
All babies run from anything moving towards them as this is a matter of survival. If they stop
to ask questions in the wild, they will probably be eaten before they finish a sentence! They feel safest with "Mom",
however, so they really want to be as close to Mom as possible as much as possible. It is really sad when people misunderstand
why they run, figure they don't like them and leave them alone...the last thing they want.
When the duck is older,
they still have this instinct, but sometimes overcome it by recognizing their Mom quicker. But some ducks retain this
"running" instinct for years. Others, don't want to be picked up because of how it is done. They
are very independent little characters and many do not want to be held. They demand their freedom. This also does
not mean they don't like you or want to be with you. I suggest you pick the duck up, but put it on your lap or right
beside you and immediately take your hands off. Once the duck realizes it is free to leave if it wants, it will most
likely stay right there. Just remember, the best way to keep a duck or goose is to let it go..(works for people, too!)
I use this method at the festivals. I put the duck on a child's lap, but tell them not to touch the duck, just keep
their hands down at their side. I put the duck on thier lap and then tell them to gently pet the ducks back (or on the
head..it depends on what I know of the duck's preference). We are all used to having to control our animals, so
the first instinct for us (especially children) is to grab them firmly. Geese are generally much more agreeable to being
held in your arms or on your lap. If they have been raised properly, they love laps. Ours sit on our laps all
the time (Maggie's favorite activity is being rocked in the rocking chair and she is 10 years old.) They love sitting
in stranger's laps at the festivals. I hope this helps you form a closer relationship with your "kids".
Should I get a girl or boy duck/goose for a pet?
strongly advise getting a female. Females provide you with eggs that are great for baking and eating..(you aren't
being a cannibal as they won't be fertilized). But the main reason I advise against getting a male, especially in
a duck, is because they frequently start biting their "Mom" and sometimes everyone else when mating season hits.
Mallards and Muscovy's seem to do less of this than the other ducks as they are closer to the wild and still adhere to
a short mating season. The more domestic ducks have been bred to have a very long mating season in order to produce
more eggs and meat. This means that you can have a drake that is mean most of the year. It is small consolilation
to know that they are biting out of love when a large duck is raising welts on your arms! Ducks see no difference between
their Mom and any other female so that is no deterrent.
The geese are a different story. In the wild, there is no incest among
geese and they are monogamous. Domestically they have been bred to take two or three wives and mate with family members.
Since the age of dinosaurs and in all the time that they have been domesticated, that's all the success humans have had
in trying to change the mating habits of geese. Even so, a gander, giventhe choice, will rarely choose to mate with
a family member and geese are far more gentle in their mating habits than ducks. They prefer to spend months getting
to know each other and deciding for themselves whether they want to mate or not. A pet gander that is imprinted
on humans will want to mate with a human, but they usually fall for an acquaintance or family friend, not Mom. This
can sometimes still be a problem but not as serious a one as with the drake's biting. If you get two geese, I still
recommend two females as the gander will then be imprinted on geese as well as humans, but will not be afraid of humans and
can be very aggressive when mated with the goose.
I don't recommend two ducks or two geese as imprinted pets, but will explain
more on that in another question.
has my duck started biting me?
If you have a duckling/gosling
that is nipping you a bit hard, you can correct this behavior by holding its neck very gently..just enough so it has to look
at you, tapping the bill gently and telling it "No Skin! No Skin!" Always be sure to say "skin"
as they use their bills to investigate their world. It is a lot like an elephant's trunk. It is their taster,
feeler and you will be surprised what they can do with it! You can't and don't want to stop them from using
it at all, but when they learn the word "skin" (and they will learn it if you are consistent) then they won't
nip anyone's skin..not just yours, and that is what you want, because when they are older, a nip will hurt and if they
really get mad at you, you are going to have a heck of a bruise. If they learn at an early age not to pinch, they will
hesitate and rarely if ever pinch when they are older. Mine never do, but I did have an adopted Embden and she hadn't
been disciplined very well, so she didn't hesitate to pinch when she wanted to.
If you are referring to
a drake that is about 4 months old or older, then you have a problem. I don't recommend drakes for pets for this
reason. They want to mate with what they have imprinted on, so they will start trying to get you into the mating position
by pinching you! This is hormonal biting and is difficult to impossible to change. The problem lies in the way they
have bred ducks. They wanted more eggs and babies, so a lot of the domestic ducks have a mating season that last almost
all year! In the wild, it only last a few months. The ducks that are the closest to the wild ones like the domestic
Mallard are not a problem, because even if they do start biting, it won't last too long. I'm not sure, but I
do think the biting is the worse the younger they are. They are all full of testosterone then and don't quite know
how to handle it. As they get older, I think they settle down some.
ducks and geese have a pecking order?
Many assume that
ducks and geese have a pecking order just like chickens, but I don't believe that is so in the truest sense of the words.
First I want you to consider why "pecking orders" exist in the first place. They exist because one male wants
his "seed" and only his to carry on. In order to do this, he must be the strongest and to be the strongest,
he must get the best food and the most mates. Therefore, he must be able to keep the other males from getting the food
and the females. This is done by beating everyone else up...ergo..being the strongest. It is really a vicious
circle. It is really the same as the "alpha male syndrome", etc.
order" doesn't exist in the wild with the ducks and geese as there is no reason for it. In the first place,
the females aren't looking for a big, strong guy (which is what starts all of this off in the first place). They
are looking for a smart, friendly guy, who will be very loyal, trustworthy, caring, and a good father. They don't
have to waste time competing for females or food. They mate for life so there is no fighting over females, and food
is everywhere...if not here..fly over there. If you look at many other birds, you will see that they have wised
up, too. The major predators mate for life. They need to save their energy for finding food, not waste it on infantile
fights. Other females decide on a mate by comparing the nests the males have built. Some of them are
very complicated, so they are looking for brains, not brawn. When you think about these birds mating for brains since
dinosaur times, you've got to realize how smart they are now. Most of you have seen gaggles of geese grazing in
parks and fields, but I doubt you have seen many fights or even disturbances among them. Once in a while a gander might
be smitten with another gander's goose, and try to get her, but it happens very rarely. There are leaders among
the ducks and geese, but, again, they didn't get there through force. They happen to be the ones that are the wisest,
have raised families successfully, (geese look up to that), and have the best personalities. They aren't leaders
that tell the other ducks and geese what to do or force them to do anything at all. They just like being in the leaders
company. Sometimes there are bullies, and that is all they are...the schoolyard bully. A leader is like our president..he's
Humans frequently rush in and mess up the good things nature has created over eons of time, and this
is what has occurred. By breeding ducks and geese that can't fly, breed almost all year round , and are confined
with only a certain amount of food and females available, they have forced the ducks and geese into a pecking order of sorts.
Any living creature wants food. But the geese, in particular, don't want the most and best of the food so they can
be big and strong. They want lots of food because they have been bred to have big appetites so they will be good for