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Sheep in religion and mythology
Sheep in Art
Help Our Sheep
Animal Rights and Why they Matter
Sentience in Farm Animals
Farm Animal Facts
Why Animals matter:
A Religious and Philosophical perspective
Animals in art
Portrait Gallery: Animals do Not
all Look the Same
Links: Action You Can Take
A Memorial to Sooty
A Memorial to Joey
A Memorial To Patch
Farm Animals main introduction
Sentience Poultry: main introduction
"The love for all living creatures is the
most noble attribute of man."
Interesting Facts About Ducks
All domestic ducks
have descended from Mallards.
In nature, ducks can live to about 12 years of
Ducks vocalise about 30 different calls.
Ducks in nature are
waterfowls found near bodies of water, your local pond or
lake for instance.
Ducks feet do not feel cold
even when they are in icy water, this is because these have no
nerves and blood vessels. Ducks are indeed well adapted
for the cold watery environment. Oil produced by a gland
near the ducks tail makes the outer layer of feathers
water proof, underneath this is a further layer of soft
feathers that keeps the duck warm, it creates an airy
layer of insulation, it is this layer that
is much sought after for Eiderdown. Although originally
from the eider duck, down from other breeds of duck and
birds including geese is used, the methods of obtaining
the down are cruel as the down is plucked in some cases
from living birds.
You often see ducks
preening themselves with great frequency, they
are indeed fastidious creatures and like to keep
themselves and their nests clean.
Most importantly ducks like all animals are sentient,
with the ability to feel pain, experience emotion,
capable of compassion, intelligent and aware of
themselves and their environment.
Most of us have fed ducks at a local pond or lake, it is
one of the delights of childhood. Rather like chickens many
people see ducks as standardized creatures, all very
much the same, like chickens ducks are considered in a stereotypical
mode, the characteristic
waddle and the "quack-quack" sound they use to
communicate. At feeding times at local ponds many people
will fail to differentiate between one duck and another.
However like chickens, turkeys and geese, ducks also are individuals and
are recognised as such by thier own kind, they posses their
own characteristics and vary in intelligence and
emotional capacity. Read these touching accounts of two ducks whom I am sure
you will agree have minds of their own and are
individuals capable of communication and able to form
friendships with animals of other species including our
"Peepers was terrified of humans
when he arrived last spring.
Today, this young Peking duck
runs up and down the barn aisle
quacking out orders, and stands
amidst a circle of guests
demanding attention. When we
tire of holding him and bend
down to place him on the ground,
he swiftly wraps his neck around
our arms in an attempt to
prevent the release. "No, I'm
comfortable right here," he
When she could still walk comfortably, Consuela, too,
would waddle up and coo, asking to be picked up. Now she
sits by the radio, singing along with Brahms, Handel,
and Beethoven and watching humans go about their chores.
Approached by Murphy, the yellow lab, she reaches out,
gently-very gently-touching his nose with her beak."
The above are accounts from the article:
What the Animals Teach Us by Kathy Stevens, Catskill Animal Sanctuary.
Read the full article:
What the Animals Teach Us: Kathy Stevens, Catskill Animal Sanctuary
Ducks like all animals are
sentient beings with complex behaviours which for
the most part many people are not aware. Ducks do not mindlessly
quack as one may think instead each tone and pitch is
indicative of a variety of emotional expressions and
needs which you may perceive if you make your mind open
Here is a good example from
Jonathan Balcombe's book Pleasurable Kingdoms.
"Bryce Fraser, an
Australian writer who has raised many ducks , claims he
could compile a dictionary of thier calls: happy cheeps,
sad cheeps, panicky cheeps, desperate cheeps,
when-do-we-eat cheeps, where-are-you-mother cheeps, and
chickens the mother duck responds to the peeps
from the chicks within her unhatched eggs.
Ducks are fast
learners, new born chicks are ready to swim
after only a few hours of being born.
If they lose their mother for any reason, they
can independently travel as far as a mile to locate water.
In the wild a
female duck will sit on her eggs to protect them
and keep them warm. The eggs hatch within 28
If you are a
regular visitor to your local village pond or
lake you may notice that some mother ducks swim
with the youngster's on thier backs the way
Ducks as most
of us know can become very tame particularly in
regards to the acquisition of food, they will
even approach you and take from your hand.
Ducks however are
capable of many things that we do not readily
perceive. For example during duck hunting season
ducks have been observed to seek out a safe haven in lakes on
animal sanctuaries or private land where they
know they are safe. They seem to have a sixth
sense or perhaps they have simply worked out
that at certain times of year this cruel sport
commences. Such an ability demonstrates a
thinking conscious being.
The fact that ducks
can be involved in meaningful relationships with
other ducks and indeed creatures of other
species as the accounts of ducks in an animal
clearly demonstrates, proves that they are
caring and intelligent, both of which are
characteristics of sentience.
Ducks are capable of being altruistic: Altruism a selfless concern for the
welfare of others is present in other animals in varying
degrees as is the case for humans. Ducks are no
exception. Here is a delightful account of an altruistic
Jefferey Masson book: The pig who Sang to the Moon.
"I heard a
report of a drake who was particularly attentive
to a duck, even after the mating season was
over, unusual for male ducks. Dr Arthur
Peterson, in DeBary Florida had a large lake on
his property and noticed this unusual
behaviour. When he went over to investigate he
had to slip a net over the head of the duck to
examine her. it was only than that he realised
that she was entirely blind! As soon as he
released her her guide returned and immediately
approached her, making reassuring sounds and
leading her back to the lake and his constant
vigil. He was a seeing-eye duck."
Such stories demonstrate
that their is more to ducks than mindless instinct.
Surely the above, and similar accounts many of which may
be found in the above books, show us a side to ducks of
which many of are unfortunately unaware.
There is nothing mindless
about these remarkable creatures, did you know that
flying in formation is done for a very complex reason. Ducks and also
geese fly in a formation of which we are all
very familiar for a very ingenious reason:
"Teamwork on the Wing
Geese and ducks both travel in large groups to ensure
their safety and to assist in flight. Multiple families
of geese—including mothers, fathers, children
(goslings), grandparents, and in-laws—form a gaggle and
The sight of a group of geese soaring high in the sky in
a "V" formation is a familiar one, but what you may not
know is why geese fly in this formation. Migrating in
"V" formation makes it easier for each individual bird
to fly, allowing the group to fly up to 71% farther than
if each bird flew alone. In this formation, the birds
play different roles depending on their positions. When
the lead goose gets tired, the birds rotate so that
another can take the lead. The birds flying behind honk
to encourage those in front to keep up their speed.
With such a natural tendency for cooperation, these
social animals have something valuable to teach us about
teamwork and compassion."
Extract from The
Humane Society of the United states' website
About Ducks and Geese
Such flight formations all seems very co
orientated, a great example of team work, not
the result of automated instinctive behaviour.
I will close with a remarkable story about a
duck who summoned help from a police officer
when her ducklings fell down a sewer grate.
Ducklings in Trouble, Mother Calls the Police
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - When a
family of ducklings fell down a Vancouver sewer
grate their mother did what any parent would do.
She got help from a passing police officer.
Vancouver police officer Ray Peterson admitted
he was not sure what to make of the duck that
grabbed him by the pant leg while he was on foot
patrol on Wednesday evening in a neighborhood
near the city's downtown.
"I though it was a bit goofy, so I shoved it
away," Peterson told the Vancouver Sun
The mother duck persisted, grabbing Peterson's
leg again when he tried to leave, and then
waddling to a nearby sewer grate where she sat
down and waited for him to follow and
"I went up to where the duck was lying and saw
eight little babies in the water below," he
Police said they removed the heavy metal grate
with the help of a tow truck and used a
vegetable strainer to lift the ducklings to
Mother and offspring then departed for a nearby
SentientBeings.org - Stories.
After reading the account above most people will
be convinced or at the least consider the strong
possibility that ducks like all animals are
creatures with the ability to reason, make
observations and act on them. Ducks it seems are
intelligent, reasoning, compassionate creatures,
capable of ingenuity, well organised...
surely a conscious thinking being: sentient.
Surely it is time to treat such a creature with
respect instead as a commodity to provide a food
source which we no longer need.
Related Internal Links:
Animal Rights: Ducks
in Farm Animals: Introduction
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