One of the best parts about going to the park is seeing the ducks and geese enjoying the water and grass or watching them fly overhead. Ducks and geese are lucky animals because they’re comfortable in the water, on land, and in the air. How cool is that?!
Ducks and geese love spending time with their friends and families, just as we do. In their natural habitats, they live in pairs or groups, and they migrate hundreds of miles together each year.
Geese mate for life, and if one’s partner passes away, he or she will mourn for a very long time, as humans do. Ducks and geese are also great parents—to keep her eggs safe and warm, a mother duck will fill her nest with soft down feathers that she pulls from her own chest. Mother ducks will also lead their ducklings more than a half-mile from the nest in order to find a good area for swimming and eating.
When thinking about food or clothes, you probably don’t think of ducks or geese. But sadly, they’re used by humans in many cruel ways. Down is a type of soft feather (the same ones that mother ducks line their nests with), and it’s sometimes used in coats, pillows, and blankets. Birds used for their feathers don’t get to swim in lakes, fly with their friends, or raise their babies. Instead, they often live in cramped, filthy sheds, where workers rip their feathers out of their bodies (OUCH!). The feathers are then sold to be used in products for humans.
These sensitive birds are also used for foie gras, which is made from the liver of a duck or goose. Birds raised for foie gras, which is often a coproduct of the down industry, spend their whole lives crammed in dirty, dark sheds, where they have pipes or tubes shoved down their throats several times a day and are forced to eat too much grain. This causes the birds to become sick and their livers to swell. The birds are then killed so that humans can eat their livers. Yuck!
It’s easy to help birds such as ducks and geese! Don’t buy products made from down feathers, and of course, don’t eat foie gras. (Do you really want to eat LIVER, anyway? Blech!) There are lots of down-free alternatives that can be found in stores such as Target, and down-free products are usually cheaper than the real thing, too! Be sure to ask your parents to check the labels of clothing, bedding, and pillows before they buy them.