Legolas was just four weeks old, hatched on this free range duck farm and then thrown in to this shed to live for the next 7-9 weeks until slaughter.
She dragged herself around that huge shed full of thousands of Pekin ducks all born and bred to be a meal. Her leg had suffered a massive break at some point and she could not put weight on it, so she dragged it around with her and used all her strength to hop and slid around the shed following her shed mates. She was only 4 weeks old, but she had already been handed more suffering than most could handle.
Blind since she was born. Suffering congenital cataracts, she never saw the faeces covered shed that she lived in. She never saw her shed mates, but she could feel and hear where they were and tried to be with them at all times for her safety. Ducks in intensive farms are not provided with pools or water to swim in. Ducks are aquatic birds and their need to be in water is as great as a bird’s need to fly. Denying ducks of water in the height of cruelty.
I first remember seeing her laying next to another duck who was trapped on her back. I picked up that duck and she ran off, Legolas didn’t run off though. Realising she was incredibly injured, I took her over to the water feeders where she drank enthusiastically out of my hand when she realised what I was trying to get her to do.
Yes, Legolas was rescued, but thousands of other weren’t. Thousands of others still sleep on their bed of duck poo in this free range farm until it’s time for slaughter. Being completely blind, Legolas had no idea who was there in her presence, but she knew someone was there. She had no idea that the hands that were about to pick her up were going to shield her the best they could from harm. She had no idea that the person picking her up only wanted kindness and love for her. Legolas was petrified, but she was rescued. She was taken away from that place.
Legolas was born to be eaten, she wasn’t worth helping, she was only worth money in an industry that cares nothing for animals. No one will ever know the true extent of the suffering she endured in that farm.
I took Legolas home with two other ducklings that I named Merry and Pippin. All three developed a very strong bond very quickly, but I knew that Legolas couldn’t see and the challenges before her were great.
Her beak was bruised and marked, mostly likely due to the fact that she couldn’t see and probably got it caught in the food and water feeders constantly.
Even though she couldn’t see and couldn’t stand or walk, her first moments in water saw her little face light up. Her instincts kicked in and she splashed around as much as her body would let her. She finally got to clean herself of all the duck poo that stuck to her. She finally got to be a duck.
Her best day was her last day.
I knew at the farm. My friend knew. We knew. We knew that I was taking Legolas home to save her from dying in that place, but not to save her from actually dying. We knew her chances of living a life free of suffering whilst being unable to walk and being unable to see were slim. She was weak and she couldn’t find the food or the water. The energy she used dragging herself small distances completely wiped her out, her sick little lungs could not manage properly. I tried and I hoped, because if anyone deserved a chance to live it was this little girl. Four weeks of living in duck poo without her body ever feeling water on it. Four weeks of pain. Four weeks of confusion and fear not being able to see. She so deserved to live, but when I put her on the vet table, I knew and my vet knew, we knew what the kindest thing was for this sweet little duckling who was born in to a dark world and seen as nothing but a meal.
She died in peace, with kindness. She was nobody’s meal and she was buried, a simple respect that no animal in the agriculture system is ever given…..our bodies are their graves.
This footage was taken on Legolas’s last day. She spent a lot of it in this pool. She mostly just sat there, but the few moments of energy she had I’ve put together here. At least she got to have this, it’s so much more than the rest of them get.
May your next life be kinder sweet little girl.