The birth and death of a "good" idea


9 Years
Feb 1, 2010
Yesterday, I went to our local hardware/feed store because they had a sign out front that said, "baby ducks." I just had to see those ducks.

They were so cute. As I was there looking, it occurred to me that perhaps I could raise a few and then release them to our neighborhood retention pond, which has a stream running through it and a huge variety of plants.

How fun it would be. I could get my kids and the other kids on the street involved. They'd learn some neat things. Cool experience for them.

So I talked to a guy there and he said it would work. I should get six to eight so it would be a flock. Release them when they are about 16 to 18 weeks old.

Today, I am passing another feed store, when I stop in. They have baby chicks, baby ducks and tomato plants. I buy some plants and ask at this store where I can get more information about raising and then releasing a small flock of ducks. Talk to a man there about the idea. He said the same thing as the other guy did. Said the Rouen (sp?) ducks would be good because they cannot fly. He also said that I needed to get a breed that was good at foraging. He recommended I get further info from an extension office.

Came home and did some research online (not remembering the Duck Forum on BYC Forums) and cannot find much. Starting to wonder about this, because surely I am not the only one who has had this good idea? (Is this a good idea?) Still looking for what I can find out.

Find one thing about someone wanting to release ducks into a pond, with a respond from another poster who said it was a bad idea and alluded to the idea that the ducks probably would not survive. (uh oh)

Then something about the breeds shouldn't be mixed. The ones you can buy to raise shouldn't be mixed with wild ducks. Disease problems. (Getting used to the fact that this might not work. Feeling sad about it.)

Then, found the post from two years ago about this issue, with the graphic photos of the injured/rescued ducks. (Here:

Took me a while to figure who was doing what, but man, did those photos dispel any doubts about whether this was something to do or not. So sad. (The first poster in the thread was defending herself as she was gathering eggs, raising ducks and then releasing them into the same pond. Every other poster was telling her why this was a bad idea.)

Then I see that it is illegal. Against federal law. Well, I wasn't going to do it by this point, but that is important to know and understand.

So that is the story of the birth and death of a good idea.


P.S. Why do these feed store employees not know? After all, they are selling the ducklings. They should be educated about this. What? You are looking at me? I should do it?

Yes, I plan to visit the stores and tell them in a nice, but firm, way that my idea was a very bad one and why.


10 Years
Apr 16, 2009
Yeah its pretty sad im not saying this about all feed stores but they usually want a quick buck,dont really care about there ducks.I dont even think my mallards could survive in the wild,there just too tame..


12 Years
Nov 14, 2009
Boyers, Pa
I think the basic rule should be 'don't believe a thing they tell you at the feed store. Ever!' occasionally somebody knows what they're talking about, but these forums are riddled with 'the feed store guy said' posts full of bad information.

I'm so glad you researched it first!


In the Brooder
10 Years
Jul 12, 2009
Cromwell -ish, Indiana.
How could anyone possibly think it would be a "good" idea to take a domesticated animal and release it into the wild, to compete with native species for food? I like watching my dog play outside but I do not think it would be a "good" idea to breed him and release his puppies into the wild, because I like to see dogs having fun in the field!? I read on here all the time how people take animals and dump them because they can't or won't take care of them any longer, and how people rip them apart for it. What you were planning on doing is actually premeditated dumping. How could that possibly be a good idea? I know you can't hear my tone, and I sound harsher in print than I am intending. I am so glad you researched this before doing it! Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for informing yourself! I am passionate about conservation and the wild duck populations have a hard enough time out there without the added competition of released domestics. This really does sound harsh, I really don't intend for it be mean!


10 Years
Feb 25, 2009
That thread you linked to was by far the saddest thing I've ever seen... Especially the geese getting beat, I cannot believe how messed up some people are. I'm glad that we hear a lot about the nice stories on this site; the people who are approached by obviously domesticated-and-then-released animals, and then KEEP and take care of them. Thank you so much for doing your research on the subject before jumping into it.


Dulcimyrh Ducks
10 Years
Oct 22, 2009
Personally, I don't think they *care* whether it is a good or bad idea, they just want to sell stuff. Likely the birds are a pain to clean up after, and since these stores usually only have them seasonally or for a very limited time, they want to get them gone.

I'm glad you took the high road and researched the idea before acting upon it. Most people are too ignorant, bullheaded or just plain stupid to do so and act on a whim. This just complicates things because then others learn to do the same. I can tell you this: I think someone released domestic African geese into our local park here. The park started out with a few swans, which I heard were put out there on purpose, but now there are all sorts of domestic geese, including these Africans I mentioned, out there too. Some of the birds are obviously suffering and limping because their leg bands are now too tight, likely the result of them being too small to grow into. Just terrible.


9 Years
Feb 1, 2010
How could anyone possibly think it is a good idea? Well, I wasn't educated on the concept. The analogy of ducks and dogs is good as far as goes, I guess, but I think of ducks as wild animals, not domestic animals. I have never seen a domesticated duck. The ducks that I see at our local parks seem to be fine there and it doesn't seem that different from our retention pond. I've seen ducks living on golf courses. Our retention pond doesn't seem any more wild than that park or a golf course.

I am still not completely clear on when or how they become domesticated. Is it that they had any contact with humans at all? If so, what is the time period? Is it the kind of duck (genera rather than breed for ducks, right?)? Birds are sometimes cared for by wildlife rehabilitation experts and released back into the wild. They are trying to bring back some threatened turtles by having them hatched in captivity and released to the wild.

And see, I had just had this shift in my thinking about chickens not being only for farms. I know bringing chickens to the backyard is not the same as "dumping" ducks at the retention pond, but until I learned more, I thought it was sort of the same thing. The thinking about retention ponds is to make them natural spots more like nature preserves than big, empty holes in the ground. The more that are planted this way, the more beneficial they are to the animals that will use them.

The whole reason I made this post was because I thought that it just might make it easier for someone else who was thinking of the same thing to learn what I had learned. It kinda hurts to be put down in this way! Maybe it was your passion speaking, but I do think that people react better to kindness than amazement at their stupidity.

This is a quote from the book, Math Power. It is about math, of course, but I thought of it here:

Biking and Humiliation

Once you learn to ride a bike, it is easy. You wonder why you had trouble before. How could I have been so stupid last week? Why didn’t I do it before?

This may be the most irritating aspect of learning mathematics. Once you make a new leap and get a new level of understanding, it seems very easy—so easy to wonder why you were so stupid not to see it before. With just a little encouragement, you beat on yourself unmercifully. “I must be very stupid to have learned this so slowly. It is so easy. It took me so long.” Perhaps this repeated humiliation is the reason why some people hate math.

You're educated on this issue so it seems obvious to you. But to imply that I was cruel as those who are dumping dogs and cats is going a little too far, in my opinion. I just didn't know. And I had "experts" confirming my idea. The outcome would have been the same, but the motivation was far different.

But, in all fairness, you did indicate that the post sounded harsher than you meant and that you didn't intend to be mean. So I will remember it that way and no have no hard feelings. And of course, the welfare of the ducks is far more important than my hurt feelings!
I'll get over it. They live with the mistake every day of their (probably shortened and miserable) life. And it is people like you, with a passion for a cause, that help make important changes in society.

I appreciate everyone, including this poster, who thanked me for doing the research. I'll be trying my best to let others know. Education will stop a lot of this!

(who might try ducks in her backyard in a year or two...)

P.S. Should there be a stickie "what about releasing ducks to your local pond or stream?" with a well-written explanation of the issue?

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