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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Duck Therapy- Yes, it could be prescribed by your mental health doctor?



Video would not upload...the file was too large..so here they are. The video of our ducks in San Diego is uploaded to my Facebook page here. Pictures do not show the real fun with raising them. 

After a swim, it out to forage before we lock them up in two hours.

I always knew my ideas were before their time. Well today is Wednesday and I found this article on the main page of Yahoo news that confirmed my view on duck therapy.  My sister saw it on the evening news. A duck making national headlines in a rarity. I imagine this duck will now get a Twitter and Facebook page of his own. He will receive more email than I do in a year. The duck deserves every email she gets.

The article is about a woman who has PTSD, who uses a duck as a service animal so to speak. The duck was given clearance by her mental health doctor  to be declared a service animal. She is more respectful than some dog owners, the duck is wearing a diaper and on a leash.

 Here is the story here of the duck who flew with the woman on the airlines. Since ducks are not easily house trained, Daniel the duck wears a diaper for the trip. You may think that is foolish, but only if you never watched ducks playing in a pool of clean water. Ducks and chickens do have personalities and it is easy to get attached to them. Many people never experiencing anything but dogs and cats, have no idea on how much personality they do have. Ask any kid who has raised a animal in 4-H. I don't raise my animals in dirty cages. My ducks and chickens spend their life in a huge yard in the morning, then allowed to forage over about an acre until just before dark. They are kept in a large protected coop lined with straw which is 12 by 12 at night. So ducks can be raised in tiny, dirty pens or with quality of life. Ducks are pretty awesome. You can not enjoy them or see their personality locked in a tiny, dirty pen. To be fair, if you are a farmer who intends on eating them, it is not a good idea to get attached. Even if you are going to eat them, they should be kept in pens with room and water to play in. All farm animals should have quality of life, regardless of their future. The reality of most farm animals is grim. I raise mine for eggs. Duck eggs are wonderful. Ducks eat ticks and bugs plus weeds. Their manure is great for plants. Even if were good for nothing else but smiles, they would be worth the expense and trouble.

 It is cruel to keep a duck as a therapy service animal (they are waterfowl not classified as animals)?  It is funny we call them farm animals when they are really in a class all their own.

The woman probably has a yard for her at home, although it gives no details.  Ducks do not need to be in water all the time.  You can let them play in the bathtub until they are done, drain the water and bleach the tub.  Bleach does an awesome job.  They could be quite fine given a small yard with some grass and a large dishpan of water. They survive here in the winter when the grass is all dead. I feel it is better generally to have more than one duck since they are a flock animal but some ducks or chickens bond with a human. If you start them out in a flock, most ducks would be unhappy separated.  If  you hatch a baby duck or chick from an egg and he never sees another of its kind, the duck thinks he is human.  If the first thing he sees is a cat, he will think he is a cat.  What they see coming out of the shell is what is imprinted in their brains. They still will always want to play in water, even if it's the dog's water bowl. I let a chicken hatch out a duckling once. The baby got big enough to get into the water bowl. The mother chicken had a fit seeing the baby duck in the water. To her he was in danger. Ducks do require water deep enough to clean out the nose holes on their bill. They do need a big, low -sided bucket of water. I would say, that overall that dogs and other non-flock animals make better therapy for people. I know people with pet chickens will disagree with that statement. Most people do not leave their chickens in the house all day. They don't house train easily either. So if this duck is happy living with her human, it is not mean. I might add that most ducks can be very loud when upset. Female ducks are very noisy and male ducks make little noise.  The males are brightly colored with a curl in their tail. They are very quiet. In the short video I saw, it looks like he has a duck hand puppet to keep her company. 

A note about ducks as pets....

Most ducks are not cuddly like dogs and cats and do not make good pets for young children who have not been taught how to treat them. They can hurt you when frightened and fighting you. Handling them often when babies is important. You must teach your dogs not to hurt them. They panic easily and then are easily killed. They are best kept where they have room to roam and just be ducks. This duck would be an exception to the rule. Most Indian Runner ducks are nervous and quirky. They walk upright and are raised for their eggs. They are not eaten. There is not much meat on them. I say this so you don't go run out and buy a duck for your toddler. This is a SPECIAL duck given a lot of handling. Children raised on farms are taught the proper handling of farm creatures.

Service therapy animals and emotional service animals are not just dogs. Service animals help humans who have diseases, are physically limited or mentally limited, and for those with severe PTSD and anxiety disorders of all kinds. Horses are used with kids to help them emotionally and physically overcome problems.  They are used with kids and adults to help them communicate better. They can sniff out cancer and give the dying comfort.

Any animal can be used as a service animal if it performs the task of calming one down who suffers from PTSD or anxiety disorder.  Dogs, ducks, or cats it doesn't matter. It is better therapy than drugs that do more harm than good. Servicemen every day commit suicide here in the US. They serve our country protecting us, then come home with life long disabilities. The ones you can't see may be worse than the leg that is missing. Dogs have shown to be one of the best tools to help men and women with anxiety and PTSD.  Instead of drugs, we should be spending many thousands to provide VETS and those with anxiety, animals trained for PTSD therapy. 


For the Love of ducks!

I have loved ducks since I was a kid.  They are messy but their benefits outweigh that aspect.  I personally prefer them outside in our yard.  Ducks are funny creatures.  When you give them new water in their kiddie pool, they duck in and out of the water quacking with joy.  Don't let anyone ever tell you that ducks don't like clean water. Their water is changed every other day.  They sift mud into it so it stays clean for all of about two hours.  Many times they have this soft quack that is very calming. They talk to each other about a frog they found or a juicy night crawler.  I bring them treats of watermelon and they quack with happiness.  It is real funny when the rooster goes to breed one of the hens, she protests, and one of the ducks will go over and goose the rooster. Its like get off her, she does not want you bothering her. When I treat one of the ducks with an eye infection using C. silver, they quack in protest, and the hens will come over to protect it.

When things get tough, I get duck therapy every time!

 When things are tough with my father-in-law who is in later stage dementia, I go down and hang out with the ducks for a few minutes. If they do not bring the smile back to my view, I am indeed in trouble.   Someone on Facebook once suggested I may prefer ducks and chickens to people. On some days that is very true. So three cheers for duck therapy!

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