This video came across my path today:
Cute, but I pray this does NOT inspire people to go out and get a duck as a pet!!!
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DON’T!!!
Every year I get people who contact me looking for a (one) duck or egg to raise and keep as a pet. They ALL try to convince me how much they will love the duck, and they ALL try to convince me that the duck is truly happy.
Forgive if I sound vitriolic, but this sort of thing just makes my blood boil. It is a prime example of our human arrogance (of COURSE every living thing want what we like….).
First off, since WHEN did wanting something make it good or right?
Since when did loving something guarantee its happiness?
How would YOU know if the duck is happy? How many ducks have you known? Animals want to survive, and most will make the best of whatever situation they find themselves in. Making the best of a situation is NOT the same as being happy.
After 40+ years of studying and working with animals of all sorts, I have learned that different kinds of animals require different lives in order to be really happy. They will make the best of whatever situation they have and most never show any signs of depression. People are fooling themselves when they tell themselves the animal is ‘happy’.
Birds should not be treated like dogs or cats, and I would not put one on a leash, even a very long one. Ducks can learn many things and you can often teach a duck to follow you but there will still be times when instinct takes over and he does what comes naturally for a duck, like heading for the nearest lake or stream for a swim.
The problem is that no matter how much you loved him, you can NOT know what it was like for him. Just because he looked “happy” by human standards, does NOT mean he was happy by duck standards.
Ducks ARE NOT people (or dogs or cats, or parrots…)
Animals are adaptable, and will try to survive in whatever conditions they find themselves.
Your idea of a perfect life for a duck is NOT (and I cannot stress this enough!!) NOT a duck’s idea of a perfect life.The life you gave him is no more suited to a duck than dancing and riding a bike is suited to a bear.
Here are just a few reasons why this is a BAD, BAD idea:
- Ducks are social animals. Raising a duck away from other ducks is cruel (they absolutely need other ducks for their proper development).
- Ducks can NOT be house trained – and they poop every half hour or so.
- Ducks can live to be 20 years old. p.s. Ducks imprint as babies. They will follow anyone around because it is their instinct to do so. Don’t confuse instinct with choice. It has NOTHING to do with what he likes.