a Sad Story... with a Happy Ending
My name is ChaCha and I'm a Crested Pekin
My beginning is a little unknown, but this is my family's best guess...
I most likely had my start as an Easter impulse buy; probably given to a child and raised as their pet. I love kids and will follow them any chance I get, but as I grew out of my tiny fuzzball stage it became glaringly obvious that I was a loud, smelly, clingy, very high maintenance pet - dare I say Diva. My family decided they couldn't keep me, so they took me to a local park and left me there with all the other dumped domestic ducks and geese.
Having most likely been raised as an only duck in a family of humans, I had no idea I was a duck! The other waterfowl at the park did what comes naturally - to protect their home they attacked the unknown newcomer. Having no sense of how to communicate with this strange species that didn't speak human, I was beaten up and bullied to the point that I was too scared to even go near the pond full of birds. Instead, I spent my time living on the hard cement pathways around the pond.
One day a couple of fellow humans came to the park and fed me. Having found my species again and feeling accepted into their human flock, I followed them home. There, I waited for my new buddies every day outside their home as they came and went, but now I lived as an outsider in an even more dangerous neighborhood filled with stray predatory animals.
Soon my buddies began to fear for my safety out there all alone and unprotected. Unable to keep me as their pet, they wandered around the neighborhood, with me waddling along right behind them, looking for a nice safe home for me. Many of the neighbors thought I would make a nice meal, but eventually my buddies came across a house with ducks in the backyard. They knocked at the door, explained the situation, and asked the family inside if they would give me a home. They were, of course, charmed by my beautiful white feathers and my stylish do and they adopted me right away!
Many of my feathers were chewed to bits by the park ducks and geese, I had scabbed over bite marks and scratches from the attacks, and I had big sores on my feet - called bumblefoot - from being stuck on the park's cement. With access to clean bathing water and a good diet, my wounds healed up leaving minimal scarring and eventually I went through a molt and grew all my beautiful feathers back. After a long time wearing bandages and medicating my feet those healed up too, but by the nature of bumblefoot I'll always be at risk of resurfacing infection.
Now I spend my days basking in the sun of my very own yard, stealing from the garden and the dog's food bowl, modeling duck diapers, and showing off my vast wardrobe around town with my humans.
Human raised waterfowl are unable to care for themselves! Do your research before buying that fuzzy duckling! They are living, breathing creatures with personalities, feelings, and needs. They grow to full size in a matter of weeks and that big, loud, messy, needy bird can live upwards of 20 years. You can't just "set free" a full grown duck or goose where other ducks and geese live. Established flocks will fight new comers - sometimes to the death - to keep their place in their community. Human-friendly ducks and geese are easy targets for predatory animals and cruel humans. A human raised duck or goose that has been fed and cared for won't understand how to find nutritional food on their own and, if they survive the attacks of wild flocks, predators, and humans, they will often starve to death after being released. Pet ducks and geese are growing in popularity! There are now many online resources with information to help you decide if a pet duck or goose is right for you. Just as with all pets, check local rescues first before buying that duckling. Often they have full grown birds who's personalities are known and understood and the rescue can pair you with a duck or goose who really needs a home and will make a wonderful pet. Don't take a gamble with a baby duckling who may not ever be a proper a house guest, and after being raised in the house, may NEVER be happy living outside alone or with other ducks.