If you take a trip around the lake in the coming weeks, you may see some new feathered faces. There are nine total ducks on campus this year. According to Mr. Sheldon, four of these ducks are new and the youngest of them belongs to our most famous campus bird, Oreo.
The increased population of the ducks has captivated the attention of the entire campus in the past few years, especially after Oreo suffered frostbite in 2018. Casady has gotten much better at taking care of the ducks now that there are more of them. However, there are some things that students should keep in mind going into the new school year.
According to Mrs. Michaela Freeland, when Oreo was at the vet after losing her leg, the doctor said that her “diet of left-over deserts and pizza crusts had left her a bit overweight.” Since we have a sizeable lake on campus, the ducks can forage all the food they need. Mrs. Freeland and Oreo’s other caretakers sometimes feed the ducks cracked corn or duck feed in the winter when food is scarce. However, the ducks should not be fed by students at all.
Thankfully, most people have stopped feeding the ducks since the amputation. Now that we have four young ducks on campus, it is imperative that people not feed the ducks anything they don’t need. If the young ducks become reliant on the food we give them, they may face many long-term problems that will prevent them from living a full and long life around the lake. They may never learn how to look for healthy food by themselves if they eat leftovers every day. According to this National Geographic article, ducks should avoid a diet high in carbohydrates and protein or risk a wing deformity called “Angel Wing” that prevents flight and is irreversible in adults.
Besides dessert items, the ducks should never eat avocados, onions, citrus, nuts, chocolate, popcorn, or carbonated beverages. If a student is tempted to feed one of the ducks, they should stick to natural and unprocessed things that can be found in a natural habitat, such as fish, insects, fruit, nuts, and lettuce.
Besides watching the ducks’ diet, Mrs. Freeland would like students to know that “it is not recommended that we pick up Oreo or any of the other ducks.” The ducks will sometimes be moved by faculty or staff members for health or safety reasons, but they should not be picked up otherwise.
According to Mr. Sheldon, the new ducks do not have names like Oreo. However, students are welcome to name the ducks. Unfortunately, no word yet on whether the Casady mascot will be a duck anytime soon…