Mar 19, 2013 / 6:09 am
A fluffy duckling might seem appealing next to a basket of Easter eggs, but shelter officials and animal welfare experts want gift-happy parents to picture something else: Poop.
The average domestic duck relieves itself once every 15 minutes, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. That's why very few people have ducks for pets, except at Easter.
Yet millions of people have or will celebrate spring and Easter by getting their children a duckling, figuring they can release it in a pond when it gets too big to keep.
"We usually get tons of calls right after Easter," said Susie Coston, national shelter director for the Farm Sanctuary.
Duck diapers are readily available online, but it takes more than that to raise a duck, said Carol Chrysong, the 56-year-old founder of The Lucky Duck Rescue & Sanctuary in Los Angeles. The sanctuary is home to 120 of them, including a drake and two hens that Chrysong keeps as her pets, and the cleanup is exhausting, she said.
"I do a massive amount of work every day before and after work. I am pretty exhausted," Chrysong said.
The upsides to keeping a duck as a pet include their surprisingly doglike behaviour, which has them greeting owners upon arrival (Muscovy ducks even wag their tails), learning tricks and being extreme loyal, she said.
Parents who have children who want a duck for Easter should visit a pet store or zoo instead, she said. That'll be less messy and a lot less work, Chrysong said as she recalled her experiences.
"The duck lady is starting to show serious signs of wear," she said.
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