The student led, student read news organization at Georgia Southern University

The George-Anne Media Group

The student led, student read news organization at Georgia Southern University

The George-Anne Media Group

The student led, student read news organization at Georgia Southern University

The George-Anne Media Group

Oh Shucky Ducky

Se’Deja Drigo
Ethen Bodruk holding his personal favorite duck “Opal”.

Here at Georgia Southern, we glorify our literal and figurative birds, the Eagles; but we tend to forget about our less fortunate birds, our ducks.


In total, we have six ducks here on Lake Ruby & Wells. There’s a khaki Campbell drake, domestic mallard drake, Rouen hen, a cross bred of a pekin and mallard hen, an Indian runner, and a domestic Muscovy drake. 


Here and there, you can spot a wood duck that will pop in and out as it pleases. If the wood duck can leave when it wants, why can’t the others?


The six ducks that reside here on campus can not leave, and there are a few reasons behind it. These are not wild ducks, they’re domestic, meaning they were not born and raised in the “wild”. People that go to these “Chick Day” events at local stores like to buy a duck as a pet for themselves or for their children, only to realize that there’s a lot more maintenance to a duck than watching it swim in circles in a pond. 


Ducks are just as much pets as cats and dogs. They need to be fed and watched over. After the person decides that they can not keep the ducks, they will take them somewhere where they feel the duck can live suitably. Sometimes the ducks aren’t lucky enough to make it out of the yard. 


When looking for a place for a duck to stay, one would think that dropping off the ducks on a campus where they’ll be looked after and loved by many would be a great idea. In theory, or saying it out loud, it does sound bulletproof. Like the ducks however, it is not bulletproof. 


Georgia Southern’s campus is home to many animals, not just birds. There are raccoons, squirrels, cats, possums, you name it. Like most animals, they live by the standard of eat or be eaten. The ducks unfortunately fall victim every time one of its predators gets ahold of it. 


Almost two months ago, a female Muscovy duck was found dead on the walkway beside Lake Ruby & Wells. Students rambled online about what happened, even to go as far as blaming each other for the killing of the duck. After a little investigating, it was obvious that a person didn’t kill the duck, because a person wouldn’t have scattered the feathers (and body parts) like another animal would. 


If the ducks aren’t being hunted, it still has to survive. Unlike the students here on campus, the ducks do not have the pleasure to go somewhere and turn on some heat during the winter months. Due to the ducks not being able to fly, they are left with no choice but to stay and endure the cold season. Usually if the duck was wild and cold fly, it would migrate south to the warmer weather. In years past, Southern has lost ducks to either freezing to death or starvation; which leads into another one of our little friend’s issues. 


The ducks don’t have the privilege to waddle over to Lakeside Dining like we do, they have to eat whatever is outside. The thing about that is, they don’t get to eat a whole lot. The menu for the ducks here compared to the wild ducks outside of campus is very slim. What the ducks can choose from, also is forcefully shared by the wild geese that fly into campus. There are so many geese here, you would think that they live here too. Again with animals, they’re not very nice, and don’t tend to share food with others, not even there on kind on that matter. 


Why shouldn’t the students feed the ducks then?

As generous and nice as that seems, most of the time it is more harmful than helpful. Ducks should not be fed chocolate, avocados, onions, garlic, raw potatoes, coffee, dried beans, and most importantly, bread. While you are sitting there with the confusion on your face after reading that bread isn’t good for ducks, Ethen Bodruk with the Wildlife Center says, 


“The problem is that bread is not nutritious enough for them to keep them alive. It lacks important vitamins like Niacin which is absolutely essential for ducks,”


“Additionally, it makes them feel fuller and many like it so it may cause them to ignore better food sources in favor of it,”. “Excess bread in the water or environment can cause heavy algal blooms or bacteria growths, and can attract predators as well,” said Bodruk. 


What can we do to help our ducks?

First and foremost, we should just sit back and admire them as they are. They’re not the type of pet to go play fetch or do tricks, they have always been known to be seen as one of nature’s beauties. Most students do this already, but there have been cases where others haven’t been as nice to our critters. Secondly, don’t disturb their nesting sites. They already don’t have much room to work with, which causes them to go out onto the sidewalk hunting for material to build their nest with. Tabitha Tederstrom, also with the Wildlife Center here on campus said,


“Our lakes have plenty of cypress  trees that provide much needed shade for them, but there is a lack of grasses and  other plants that provide them with proper nesting material during breeding season,”

“Because of this, they begin to stray out into our walkways and other unsafe  areas looking for places to nest or find building materials,” said Tenderstrom.


Lastly, it is strongly encouraged to not feed the wildlife here on campus. However, they can eat grains, cooked rice, corn, bird seed, half-cut grapes, peas, and of course duck food. Another reason we should refrain from feeding the ducks, is if we all had the idea to feed the ducks tomorrow morning, they would have way too much to eat. Again, like most animals, they have no problem with eating plenty. 


Overall, the ducks didn’t choose to live here, so it’s best that we at least show them the decency of making them feel at home. With all of the problems that arise in the duck’s life, being full off an empty stomach due to bread should not have to be one of its worries.

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Blake Williams
Blake Williams, Co-Editor in Chief, The George-Anne

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