I Want to Adopt

Why Adopt?

Adopting a domestic duck or goose for your family is much like adopting a dog or cat — you’re giving an abandoned animal another chance to grow and thrive in a loving environment.

I didn’t know ducks, geese or chickens could be abandoned!

Birds are abandoned for the same reasons that dogs, cats and other animals are: purchased from feed stores (often for Easter), as they grow into adulthood, they lose their fuzzy cuteness, eat and poop a lot more, and often require more time and effort than people realize.

What happens to abandoned birds?

Often, owners illegally “set free” ducks and geese at public or private ponds. Domestic waterfowl do not have the survival instincts of their wild cousins. Most domestic breeds are unable to fly, and depend on humans to feed and protect them. Left to fend for themselves, they can become victims of predators, wild waterfowl, and even humans. Izzie’s Pond also rescues roosters used in illegal cockfighting rings, chickens raised by hoarders, and other abused and neglected fowl. We aren’t a breeder or a hatchery, and we don’t need to be — on average, we rescue up to 500 domestic birds per year!

IZZIE’S POND

Izzie’s Pond is a non-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. All donations to Izzie’s Pond are deductible. Our tax identification number is 80-0922846.

What Animals are Available?

Ducks & Geese

Chickens

Please note:

We do not offer “only” chicken or duck hens for adoption. For every female hatched, a male is killed or abandoned so someone can have extra girls. We will adopt out hens only if they are accompanied by males. You can also consider adopting an all male flock. This reduces mating issues, egg binding, and nesting birds being killed by predators. Please email us if you’d like more details on establishing an all-male flock.

We occasionally rescue smaller caged birds such as cockatiels, parakeets, smaller parrots, etc. If you are interested in one of these kinds of birds, please email us at adoptions@izziespond.org or visit our Facebook page to see if we have any available.

To avoid the risk of people stocking hunting properties with quail, doves, or pheasants, we do not adopt these birds out to the public.

IZZIE’S POND

Izzie’s Pond is a non-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. All donations to Izzie’s Pond are deductible. Our tax identification number is 80-0922846.

Ducks and Geese

ducks_pondThe most common breeds of domestic ducks, and therefore those most abandoned (and that we rescue) most often, are Pekin or Muscovy. At any given time we may also have adoptable Rouens, Swedes, Khaki Campbells, and others. Common domestic goose breeds include Embden — the classic white barnyard goose — and gray Toulouse geese.

Caring for Your Ducks or Geese

Like other animals, ducks and geese need veterinary care too! Don’t wait for an emergency to find a vet that handles waterfowl. We recommend Dr. Tope at Electric City Animal Clinic for anyone within driving distance of Anderson. If you’re not near Anderson, ask us for additional recommendations.

In the meantime, take the time to familiarize yourself with common duck and goose ailments. Poor nutrition is one of the leading causes of many waterfowl health problems. Making sure your duck or goose has a clean environment and proper nutrition will go a long way in disease prevention. This includes:

  • Daily changing out feed and water.
  • Weekly washing feed and water containers.
  • Weekly manure removal.

Ducks and geese require daily food, water, and interaction, as well as someone to put them up at night. Have a designee to perform these tasks if you’ll be gone for longer than a few hours!

Duckling/Gosling Care

Raising ducklings or goslings is not the same as caring for adult ducks! They need special care for the first 12 or so weeks of their lives, including appropriate feed, water care, and shelter:

Feeding Your Ducklings/Goslings

Find a good quality chick starter for your babies to start with. Be sure to add a sprinkling of brewer’s yeast to the chick starter; most chick starters lack the niacin needed for growing waterfowl. Never allow the chick starter to get wet and moldy; feed small amounts several times per day.

NEVER feed your young waterfowl medicated chick starter! The medication actually blocks the niacin they need to develop healthy bones, and can cause serious overall health problems.

Switch ducklings/goslings to adult waterfowl feed within 4-6 weeks, or as soon as they are big enough to eat the pellets. Chick starter is higher in protein than older ducklings/goslings need. Too much protein during adult feather development can lead to the deformity known as Angelwing.

Water for Ducklings/Goslings

Use a chicken waterer to provide your babies with the constant access to drinking water that they can dip their beak and nares in. Never give them unsupervised access to swimming water. Baby waterfowl, hatched without their mothers, don’t have a way to regulate their own body temperatures for the first six weeks of their lives.

Ducklings and goslings should only be allowed to swim for a few minutes at a time, then dried with a towel and placed under a heating lamp. Death by hypothermia remains a concern for the first few months, until the babies start to develop their adult feathers.

Duckling/Gosling Shelter

brooderAt first, raise your ducklings or goslings indoors using a brooder. Be sure to place the brooder in a location safe from pet cats and dogs! We use plastic tubs lined with paper towels or puppy pads (replace these three times per day). Do not use newspaper — babies’ feet can slip, causing splay leg and tendon injuries. Shavings are also inappropriate; curious babies could eat and choke.

Position a clip-on heating lamp over one corner of the brooder, so that the ducklings/goslings can either gather under it, or move away from it. A flat thermometer ensures the temperature can be monitored. Start at 90F degrees, then lower the lamp temperature by 5 degrees per week. Place the babies’ food dish and chicken waterer inside the tub, along with a mirror and a feather duster that can help them to feel more secure.

babypensAfter six weeks of age, you can move ducklings and goslings to an outdoor pen similar to a chicken tractor. The enclosed area allows a heat lamp to be installed if necessary. Wrap the entire pen in ½” hardware cloth, including the bottom. Hardware cloth bottom must be covered by relief mats or another material so babies’ feet aren’t injured. A small pool can also be set up. Include a ramp for them to easily get in and out of the pool so that they do not drown.

Adult Duck/Goose Care

Feeding Your Ducks/Geese

Izzie’s Pond recommends Southern States Aqua Specialty Waterfowl Feed. The pellets float on water or can be poured into a bowl, and provide the right balance of protein, vitamins and minerals to keep your waterfowl strong and healthy.

Feed your duck or goose once daily. You can supplement your base feed with cracked corn, scratch grains, finely chopped vegetables and hardboiled eggs, just so long as this is not the main part of your animal’s diet. Please note that chicken feed does not have the amount of niacin that waterfowl require, which will cause health issues in the long run.

Don’t allow your duck or goose to eat old or moldy food, bread, crackers, sweets, or junk food of any kind. Food that is not good for you is not good for your waterfowl either!

Water

Ducks and geese need constant access to clean, fresh drinking water. They use the water while eating to wash food down, and also dunk their heads and blow out their nares. Plan to change their drinking water twice a day.

You should plan to provide plenty of swimming space at an appropriate depth for your adult ducks/geese. While they only need water that’s about 12 inches deep, they should have plenty of space to move around.

If you don’t have a pond, no worries! A standard five-foot kiddie pool will work for 2-4 ducks or geese. Just be sure to clean it out on a regular basis, not allowing mold buildup. Also make sure their water source does not freeze over during the winter months.

Shelter

Predator Proof Housing
Waterfowl have many natural predators, such as coyotes, foxes, raccoons, owls, hawks, dogs and snapping turtles. Ducks and geese do not need elaborate housing, but a small, sturdy building or pen where they can be locked in at night (from dusk till dawn) is a must to protect them from predators. Allow 3-4 square feet of floor space per animal for night-time only pens, and use appropriate wire and locks that cannot be slipped.

Chain link fencing and chicken wire are not predator-proof. If your pen is chain link, go around the bottoms with a layer of hardware cloth. This will ensure that a predator cannot reach through the fence and grab your pet. Predators can dig underneath and climb from above as well, so a roof and bottom are needed.

We’ll be happy to look at your pens and make suggestions. For more information about how to build predator-proof pens, please read the detailed description, with pictures of do’s and don’ts, written by our friends at Carolina Waterfowl Rescue. Adoptions will not be approved until after proof of adequate shelter.

Please note: In our experience, some ducks and geese rescued from public ponds are not human habituated enough to go in pens at night. Some adopters may have a fenced-in pond or other special circumstance, such as floating docks or islands, that will provide predator protection. Keep in mind that predation will still be a risk in these situations.

Weather Proofing
Waterfowl are sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, so be able to shelter them appropriately. Provide shade and ventilation for hot summer months, and in winter, be able to insulate the coop. Clean straw bedding can provide good insulation, as can tarpaulins secured to the outside of the coop.

Love and Companionship
Ducks and geese are very loving, social animals. Take a little time each day to interact with your waterfowl for a more rewarding close relationship. If you will not have time each day, then have at least 2, even better, more waterfowl so they have companionship.

Adopt Ducks or Geese from Izzie’s Pond

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Chickens

Please note that, as with ducks and geese, we do not only adopt out females. If you want to adopt hens, we ask that you also adopt a rooster. He will help to protect your hens!

That said, adult roosters tend not to get along well with other adult roosters. We recommend all roosters be housed separately from one another.

Caring for Your Chickens

Like other animals, chickens need veterinary care too! Don’t wait for an emergency to find a vet that handles poultry.

However, you can prevent many infectious diseases by properly cleaning and maintaining the chickens’ living environment. This includes:

  • Daily changing out feed and water.
  • Weekly washing feed and water containers.
  • Weekly manure removal.

Chickens require daily food, water, and interaction, as well as someone to put them up at night. Have a designee to perform these tasks if you’ll be gone for longer than a few hours!

Chick Care

Raising chicks is not the same as caring for adult chickens. They need special care for the first 12 or so weeks of their lives, including appropriate feed, water care, and shelter:

Feeding Your Chicks

Find a good quality chick starter, which can be medicated or unmedicated. Never allow the chick starter to get wet and moldy; feed small amounts several times per day.

Switch chicks to adult chicken feed after 8 weeks. At Izzie’s Pond, we feed 5-grain scratch and pellets.

Water for Ducklings

Use a small chicken waterer to provide your chicks with constant access to clean drinking water.

Shelter

brooderAt first, raise your chicks indoors using a brooder. Be sure to place the brooder in a location safe from pet cats and dogs! We use plastic tubs lined with puppy pads (be sure to replace these three times per day) or shavings. Do not use newspaper — chicks’ feet will slip, causing splay leg and tendon injuries.

Position a clip-on heating lamp over one corner of the brooder, so that the chicks can either gather under it, or move away from it. A flat thermometer ensures the temperature can be monitored. Start at 90F degrees, then lower the lamp temperature by 5 degrees per week. Place the chicks’ food dish and chicken waterer inside the tub, along with a mirror and a feather duster that can help them to feel more secure.

After 8 weeks of age, you can move chicks to an outdoor chicken tractor. The enclosed area allows a heat lamp to be installed if necessary. Wrap the entire pen in ½” hardware cloth, including the bottom. Hardware cloth bottom must be covered by relief mats or another material so chicks’ feet aren’t injured.

Adult Chicken Care

Food & Water

Feed your chickens every day with a balanced blend of grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables that provide them with the correct protein and other nutrients. We recommend 5-grain chicken scratch and pellets. Supply laying hens with a calcium supplement in a separate container, not mixed with feed.

Chickens also forage for insects and worms, so be sure to provide them with a run or a yard that offers plenty of space and grass, as well as loose dirt or sand for dustbathing.

Predator Proof Housing

Within your coop structure, provide chickens with an elevated perch or roost for sleep. Also provide nesting boxes for laying hens.

Predators such as great horned owls, hawks, raccoons, foxes, and coyotes are common in the Upstate. Protect your roosters at night by putting them up in sturdy structures with appropriate wire and locks that cannot be slipped. For information about how to build predator-proof pens, please read the detailed description, with pictures of do’s and don’ts, written by our friends at Carolina Waterfowl Rescue.

Weather Proofing

Chickens are sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, so be able to shelter them appropriately. Provide shade and ventilation for hot summer months, and in winter, be able to insulate the coop. Clean straw bedding can provide good insulation, as can tarpaulins secured to the outside of the coop.

Adopt Chicken or Chick from Izzie’s Pond

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How can I Adopt?

adoptionNothing brings us greater satisfaction than nursing a rescued duck, goose, rooster, or hen through critical care and recovery back to full health! To ensure the quality of life our rescues deserve, we work with you to help you adopt birds that will thrive the best in the living environment you are providing. This way, you will maximize your enjoyment and satisfaction in having played a role in their rescue.

All of our birds are healthy and are examined by a licensed rehabilitator before they are cleared for release. Although we welcome donations, we do not charge an adoption fee. However, we do have a set of criteria you must meet in order to be approved for adoption.

As an all-volunteer group, we may take some time with the adoption process. Please be patient! We process completed applications in the order that we receive them. Depending on the time of year, it may take several weeks to process your application.

We handle adoption inquiries via email only, reserving our phone lines for injured animals. Thank you for understanding!

Before You Adopt

Own the land where you’ll be keeping your outdoor birds. It’s illegal in the state of South Carolina to place ducks on property that doesn’t belong to you, including your HOA or workplace pond. We will consider renters who have written landlord approval.

Know which birds are the best fit for your situation. We can help recommend breeds and birds that will thrive with your family, land, location, and any other animals.

Know the state and federal laws that regulate the bird breed(s) you’re interested in.

Provide adequate predator protection. For information about how to build predator-proof pens, please read the detailed description, with pictures of do’s and don’ts, written by our friends at Carolina Waterfowl Rescue.

Know how you’ll feed your birds. Nutrition for ducks, geese, and chickens differs, and adequate nutrition doesn’t come from the environment alone. We recommend the Southern States brand, but are happy to recommend a diet based on the animal you adopt and the stores you have in your area.

Be able to provide for any special needs. We’ll provide you with full details if needed.

Be available and prepared to pick your birds up at Izzie’s Pond using appropriate carriers for the birds to go home in. We don’t ship birds, and we don’t lend carriers. Not sure how to transport your new adoptees? Just ask!

Breeding, eating, or selling birds? Please don’t apply. We are a rescue for unwanted birds, so breeding more is against our philosophy. Thank you for understanding.

Applying to Adopt

You can fax, email, or snail-mail your completed adoption application. A complete application includes:

  • Answers to all questions.
  • Photos of your birds’ anticipated living area, including housing, pond, yard, etc.

Should we have any additional questions, our adoption coordinator will contact you. Please also be available for an in-person meeting at your home.

We will not review incomplete applications and will not accept adopters without an application.

Is my information safe?

We strive to balance our adopters’ personal privacy with our adoptees’ safety! While we understand that some people are uncomfortable giving out information, we rescued most of our birds from neglectful or abusive owners and now seek to place them in forever homes that are as trustworthy as we can assure.

That said, we believe in building mutual trust and long-term relationships with our adopters; therefore, we do not share or use the information for any purpose other than to evaluate your suitability as an adopter.

After You’re Approved

Once we receive your completed application, our adoption coordinator submits the paperwork to our director for approval, and will notify you once you’ve been approved.

At that point you’ll be contacted to discuss the birds available for adoption. We neither hold birds nor maintain a list of people wanting specific breeds; we place birds first come, first served for approved adopters. Only approved applicants are scheduled to come look at birds.

Once you’ve settled on the breeds and number of birds you want to adopt, we’ll schedule an appointment for you to come and get your birds! If location is an issue, in some cases volunteers may be willing to assist with transport.

Picking Up Your Adopted Birds

Your time is valuable and so is ours, so please let us know if you will be late or unable to make your appointment. If you miss your appointment and don’t call to let us know, you may be ineligible for another adoption.

IZZIE’S POND

Izzie’s Pond is a non-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. All donations to Izzie’s Pond are deductible. Our tax identification number is 80-0922846.