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article imageVideo: Ducks in hoarding case experience water for the first time

By Elizabeth Batt     Oct 6, 2012 in Environment
Woodstock - Like a duck to water? Not quite. These ducks rescued in a hoarding case had never swam in the wet stuff before, so when they were led to their first pond, all didn't go quite as planned.
It wasn't all water off a duck's back for this flock of quackers after they were rescued by the New York-based Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary and led to water. The two dozen or so ducks, part of a rescue that seized 160 ducks, geese, turkeys and chickens from appalling conditions, spotted the beautiful pond and promptly ducked out.
In an extraordinary case of animal hoarding, these critters had been kept in dry pens. None of them had ever swam or encountered a pond in their lives. For web-footed creatures that take to water as naturally as breathing air, it seems especially inhumane to keep them from it.
Showing that in some cases instinct does not overcome environment, getting these ducks to the edge of the pond proved to be far more difficult than one might have thought. Once there, it was only after some significant urging that the ducks took the plunge ... only to swim promptly to the other edge to scamper back out again.
Realizing that more direct measures were needed, the sanctuary plucked the ducks one by one and introduced them to the water. It was "important to get the ducks integrated swiftly," said the sanctuary on their YouTube page, "because by the end of the day they would be sharing a coop to protect them from nocturnal predators, and so any issues needed to be observed and dealt with." In addition they said, "From previous experience we knew they would love the water once they were in."
And boy did they.
In a flash, instinct overcame fear as first one duck then another realizes this is where they truly belonged. Within minutes, the exuberant ducks are taking the bath of their lives and gleefully loving every minute of it.
Accordingly to the sanctuary's website:
The hoarder’s initial intentions were good and her love for the animals apparent, but she neglected to see how their overcrowding, over-breeding, lack of shelter and space and filthy conditions were hurting them. She also continued to buy chicks and ducklings online and mail ordered to her.
Initial efforts to rescue the birds began almost a year ago. "It took efforts by both us and the Ulster County SPCA, and then a judge’s seizure warrant to obtain the birds," the sanctuary said, "many were suffering from ailments caused specifically by their filthy living conditions."
The ultimate reward for the sanctuary's efforts can clearly be seen in the video above. It is one of the most delightful results of a rescue ever captured on film, and as the lucky duckies settle back into nature, an unspoken phrase lingers clearly in the air.
'Welcome home.'
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