Animal rights activists removed eight domesticated ducks from the grounds of the Rockville Links Country Club late last month that they say were being starved to death.
The eight ducks are Peking Ducks, also known as Long Island Ducks — a domesticated breed of flightless ducks with larger bodies and shorter wings that depend on humans for food and water.
According to Caroline Lee, who rescued the ducks, they were being left to starve and out in the cold. They were emaciated, she said, and had very poor feather quality. Many of them had bumblefoot — an infection that causes sores on the bottom of their feet.
Lee said it was groundskeepers from the country club that contacted the group Volunteers for Wildlife to help rescue the birds. “Apparently, according to the groundskeepers, they had some ducks there at least since 2005,” Lee said. “Volunteers for Wildlife sent me an email telling me about it. I went out there … and the ducks were just in horrific condition. I asked the [groundskeepers] if I could take them, and they said sure.”
Working with Volunteers for Wildlife, Lee managed to catch the ducks and bring them to the Volunteers for Wildlife clinic.
“I didn’t go on the rescue, but I had taken care of them here,” said Jessica Drew, a clinic supervisor for Volunteers for Wildlife. “They were basically in very poor condition. They were extremely emaciated. One of them had half a foot and they were injured.”
Normally Volunteers for Wildlife wouldn’t work with domesticated animals. But the organization got the call about the ducks and reached out to Lee and worked with her to care for them. “…We decided to take them in for the week while [Lee] did the footwork to find them a home,” Drew said.
Lee said that the ducks she rescued weighed between five and 10 pounds. Since they’ve been taken in, they’ve gained about two pounds each, she said. They still need to be kept inside until they are stronger and grow a better coat of feathers. Lee brought the ducks to the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to be put up for adoption.
One groundskeeper contacted Lee since she took the ducks to see how they are doing, but other than that, she said she has had no contact from the country club. Rockville Links declined to comment on the incident.