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Uninhibited Ducks - Duck and Duckling Rescue and Sanctuary

Closed Cause page created in the Animals category by Kim Hartley

$875 donated
Given by 14 generous donors in over a year

Please help me feed, care for and build a sanctuary for rescued wild ducks.

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A very sad update on Frisco.....

Just as things were moving to get him to get his new leg, I received this email yesterday morning:

"Hi Kim,

Really really sorry to say that Frisco passed away overnight in his pen. L L

No obvious reason and he was fine yesterday....."(rest of email excluded for space reasons)

I am absolutely devastated, and spent the last day in a tearful daze. There is a horrible empty pit in my stomach, I can't eat anything and I didn't sleep last night. Frisco meant so much to me, and while you aren't sposed to have favourites it's a fact that Frisco meant much more to me than any other rescued duck to date. For 4 months he was a huge part of my daily life and his death has left me in despair.

When you rescue animals it can sometimes feel like heartbreak after heartbreak.

The number of times I have prayed to God not to take this one or that one. With Frisco I felt like God was behind us, that this was going to be the success story to make up for all the heartbreaks.

The day that bus drove away to take Frisco to Wellington, I felt a hole in my heart, one I knew would be here till Frisco came home. I couldn't even think about how Id cope of Frisco didn't come home, it was just too awful to even consider.

I feel like I am stuck in an awful dream and keep praying I'll wake up.

People don't think you can really love an animal, but I loved that little drake like he was my own child.

I'm feeling completely broken, Im really angry at God and feel that he's abandoned me after playing a really cruel game with me.

Thank you to everyones who donated towards Frisco, the 3D fund the WBRT have is going to be named the Frisco Fund in his honor. Other donations have gone towards a wheelchair for Frisco, in case he didn't get his leg. It will be there for any other ER mallard duck who might need it. I am also planning to build a small run here for disabled ducks.

Tonight I rescued two abandoned female domestic ducks from a nearby river where I was collecting pine cones. Ironically if Frisco had not died Id planned to collect the pine cones yesterday from elsewhere, and never would have been at the river today to find those two girls.

I am going to name them Cisco and .....any suggestions? (Needs to rhyme with frisco but not be disco (as that was Friscos nickname))Please post a qtn or message me via Facebook if you can think of anything.

Fly high and Free Disco Duck, I love you more than words can say...

Updated 19 April: see updates tab for an update on Frisco and what else is happening here...

Update 5 April Mk II

Frisco has been x-rayed today in Wellington. Unfortunately his one whole leg has major problems! And he needs a prosthetic leg more than ever now.

Please read the post at in the updates page on my fundraiser to help the WBRT buy a 3d printer

For full details, and please help by sharing e link to that page, which won't be searchable until one more donation is received.

Update 5 April

Frisco is in Wellington!

Currently I am fundraising to help the Wellington Bird Rehabilitation Trust Purchase a 3D printer. Please check out my fundraiser page at:

Update 29 March.

Thanks to your help, Frisco is off to Wellington! Help Frisco achieve his dream of waddling again on two legs here:

Current Urgent Need (6-Mar-2018)

Help Frisco get to Wellington for Treatment!

Frisco needs either:

- money to purchase return travel on a service such as the petbus

- an offer of a ride from Christchurch/Woodend to Picton then across on the ferry with an animal loving person driving to Wellington (text 020 406 41485 if you can help)

- a donation of enough airpoints $ to allow me to take him up there then fly myself back home text 020 406 41485 if you can help).

After his treatment, once he has recovered from any surgery, Frisco will return to me in North Canterbury to live out his life in my duck sanctuary...

Frisco is a wild mallard duck who was hatched in early December 2017. Within days of hatching, this poor little guy suffered a terrifying and agonising experience when an unknown predator tore his leg off, leaving the few days old duckling with a ragged stump, with the bone exposed, and one leg remaining, to try hop on to keep up wih his mum and siblings.

Luckily for Frisco a kind man who lived nearby noticed his plight and took Frisco in. Knowing I rescue ducks and have a property set up as a sanctuary, he then passed Frisco on to me.

At first Frisco got around quite well on his single leg, and his injury, though nasty, healed without any complications such as infection.

Frisco even found a group of peers to hang out with.

However as Frisco grew older, his adult feathers grew in and he began to attempt to fly. And at the same time Frisco gradually seemed to lose his ability to bear his weigt on his one leg. I thought at the time (having dealt with all sorts of duck injuries but no one legged ducklings until Frisco) that it was his increased body weight and the extra size and weight of his wings. However it has since become apparent that Frisco must have injured his one leg at some point, probably when landing from his first flight attempts.

Unfortunately the loss of use of his one leg, caused further problems for Frisco as he is now al out completely immobile, and this has resulted in extensive damage to his feathers including those feathers involved in flight. Being unable to stand also means the stump injury site on the missing leg, is being constantly aggravated causing bleeding and no doubt pain.

Despite all this Frisco is cheerful, active and unique little character, who always has a friendly hello for me, endures numerous dressing changes, and loves 3 things:


Attacking my wristwatch

And 'flying' via a home made 'sling' I use to support him and take weight off his leg.

However without medical help that Is only available to him in Wellington, Friscos outlook is grim, and While it breaks my heart to think of euthanising this loving bird, who has fought for life from virtually the day he was born, I don't know how much longer I should allow him to live a life where he is denied virtually all the joys of a ducks life. Joys like foraging, swimming, finding a mate, having a social group to spend time with, and of course, flight (his wings aware fine, but the other problems are impacting his wing feather quality to the extend he can no longer fly at all.

Full story of my duck rescue efforts on the facebook page at

Help me care for rescued ducks, and create a sanctuary where they can live a safe and happy life.

Please check out my expired page at for some background to my duck story...

I started caring for ducks in 2016 and things got crazy in winter that year, because the wild ducks where I was living started hatching out clutches of ducklings in the dead of winter.

Without shelter from predators, warmth, food and care, the ducklings were dying within days

I watched as mummy ducks proudly, and protectively, paraded their tiny babies before the world.

And then I watched those same mummy ducks, a few days later, when every single one of the children they had so delighted in was gone, begin to grieve...

And oh, did they

One duck spent weeks on end crying, and calling desperately for her lost ducklings at the pond where they had spent their last day...

Another who lost all her ducklings except one, then had her last duckling wander off before nightfall, spent all night wandering the property, calling and calling, and calling, her voice becoming louder and more desperate as the hours passed......

And worst of all, I watched a duck I rescued after terrible injury, recover from that injury, mate, and then sit on eggs for 4 weeks.

I watched her become excited as the date they would hatch got closer. Saw her devotion and watched her love her 4 children, until all 4 babies had died, less than two days after they were 'born'.

Then I watched her heart break. Saw her cry every time she saw another duck with ducklings. She knew the other ducklings weren't hers, she knew hers were gone, and she cried and cried, her pain so clear and so raw.

Finally I watched her react, when I brought her some orphaned ducklings, almost the same age as the ones she had lost. I caught her eye, and saw the knowing look in it.

"These are not mine", it said....

And an hour later...

"These are not mine.... But I will love them and now they will be mine"

And so they were, I am quite sure that she knew those ducklings were not her babies. She knew her babies had died. She watched them fade, then watched as I removed their tiny, fluffy, sad little bodies from the house where she hatched them, and took them away to bury them.

I think she also knew her heart was breaking. And she choose to adopt these little orphaned ducklings, ducklings who so eagerly ran to her, and despite the presence of other ducks in the enclosure, including other broody ducks, immediately took her as their mother. She decided to adopt them because she knew she needed them, she knew I needed her to need them, and she knew they needed her.

While some people will say, how do I tell one of my wild ducks from the next, they all look the same... To me their faces are as different as yours or mine. And I still find it funny, that out of all the different duck faces I have seen this last year... Those two ducklings Cindy adopted, have grown up to be the spitting image of Cindy...

It is because of their human like vulnerability, their un-human like innocence, their fascinating and complex social structure, and their very human like ability to give and receive love, plus a thousand other things, that I fell in love with ducks.

In the last year I have cared for countless injured ducks, and ducklings, and raised around 50 plus ducklings hatched in winter. Of all the ducklings that hatched over winter 2016 at the property where I was living, not one of the ducklings I was unable to catch or take in survived to even one week old.

While I had many, heartbreaking losses, I was lucky and privileged enough to be able to raise, or help their ducky mum raise, 50+ ducklings to adulthood over winter and early spring 2016. Most if not all of those ducklings are alive and healthy today.

However most of them will not live beyond about 3 years of age due to predation, hunting, disease, hunger, and illness. And this is one thing I would also like to focus on for the future.

My dream is to be able to provide a long term home and sanctuary to any ducks who need it. From orphaned ducklings, to injured ducks who need a place to recuperate, to ducks who wouldn't survive in the wild, but who, in my opinion anyway, are still worth saving, and who can still live a productive and enjoyable life where they can form relationships, raise children and become a valued part of a community of their peers.

Going forward I would like to achieve these goals:

Create a completely predator safe sanctuary for my rescued ducks

Have enough money set aside to be able to pay for any vet care my ducks need. To be able to make decisions for their medical car based only on what is best for the duck, not on what I can or cannot afford

To be able to provide enough food for every duck who needs my help, and to be able to provide housing, a clean pond and nice wetland surroundings

And heck, while I am dreaming big, if I won lotto, I would love to be able to purchase a Nice block of rural land and build my dream duck reserve on it.

A place full of delightful ponds, safe enclosures, cover, housing, nutritious food and a duck community? Somewhere ducks would choose to visit, and a place ducks needing long term support or care will happily decide to stay.

A place that neither I, nor my ducks would ever have to leave because the landlord sold the property or the rent went up. Somewhere that I can make into a life long home for any and every duck who needs or wants it.

Thats my dream. I have a number of pressing and urgent needs that your support can make a difference to right now. At the moment I fund all food costs, costs of building and improving their environment, and medical costs for my ducks, myself. I do not currently at the time of writing this, receive any help from outside organizations towards food, rent housing and environment upkeep or vet bills. These costs are much higher than my currently low income. So your help is still desperately needed

Even a dollar can make a big difference if everyone reading this donated one!

If you live in the North Canterbury area and have a duck, ducks or ducklings needing help please get in touch for advice and a place to bring them to if needed.

Please check out the Facebook page at for more information on my ducks. Questions are welcome and I will endeavor to update this page regularly.

Finally I would like to thank the many generous people who have already donated to my cause via the first Givealittle page. Your kind donations of money and practical items like housing not only made a huge practical difference, they also gave me hope on the bad days. It made a big difference to me to know that there were complete strangers out there who cared enough about ducks to give their hard earned money to help me help these ducks.

Your donations have literally saved lives, by purchasing food, paying medical bills and providing housing that meant I was able to take in extra ducks and ducklings I otherwise would have not been able to save. All of you people know who you are, :-) so THANK YOU...

Kim Hartley's involvement (page creator)

I am the one who cares for the ducks....

Frisco has been with me since early December 2018 and spent every night indoors in the same room as me. While all my ducks are special, some in particular really wind their way into your heart and Frisco is one of these.

He's a courageous little duck who's had a terrible start to life followed by one unlucky break after another. I really hope that with your help, we can turn this around and give Frisco the life he deserves.

Use of funds

Purchase food for rescued ducks

Purchase medical supplies or pay vet bills

Purchase things such as water pumps, wetland plants, landscaping supplies, material to build housing, hay, straw etc to i prove the environment I am trying to create for the ducks

If anyone out there is a billionare and wanted to donate some land, this will be used to create a sanctuary for my ducks (my current Ducktopia is on rented land)

Other page links

Latest update

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Friscos stay in Wellinton has been extended  19 April 2018

Posted by: Kim Hartley

I'm missing him HEAPS and can't wait for him to come home. The April PetBus was returning down here this weekend, however Frisco does not yet have his prosthetic leg, which is now really essential, if he is ever to walk again. So for the moment he is remaining in Wellinton. The Pet Bus only goes once a month so this means Frisco will be up here till at least the end of May.

Please consider donating to the Wellington Bird Rehabilitation Trusts fundraiser to purchase a 3D printer as this is what will give Frisco his new leg.

You can views their fundraiser and donate at:

Also if anyone might have some unwanted airpoints they could donate, please get in touch with me via my facebook page, as I would LOVE to be able to fly up to Wellington and visit Frisco. It's like a little aching hole in my heart him being away amd Id really like to be able to go and visit him. Because of my ducks here, I cannot go to Wellington except for the day, or overnight tops, so need to fly there.

I am also keeping an eye on car rental offers, as when frisco is ready to come home I would love to be able to go get him straigt away, not have to wait till the next petbuS. So donations of airpoint dollars, wojld also help me get up to Wellington. My own car is too old and needs too many repairs to make the trip.

Sorry there have not been any other updates on Frisco for a while, at the moment it is just a waiting game.

Meanwhile down here, I am going to be starting to build a small run for disabled ducks soon. The plan is to build an outdoors run with a flat floor surface which will allow ducks in wheelchairs to move about. And later, put in a sort of 'moat' that disabled ducks can use to swim around their run, as often ducks with leg problems can swim as well as any other duck.

I also want to build s prototype wheelchair, based on one I have seen made for a Kitten. I have another duck who has arthritis, and tendon problems whip will probably,be the first to use this, but if Frsco does not get his prosthetic leg, or if he needs to rest his legs sometimes, there will be one available for him to use as well, as I plan to make a total of 2-4 wheelchairs, once I have got the design of the first one right, so that any ducks I may come across in the future who need one, can use them.

I will attach a photo of the kitten wheelchair whose design I plan to use for the prototype... I like this design as it has no bars, or wheels etc in front of the animal i think I could use it with something similar to the sling I made for Frisco and my arthritic duck, which I used to hook onto bungee cords and hold to allow them to walk with assistance.

Once I have a working prototype I will post photos or video of it here or on the facebook page (or both)

Read 16 more updates  |  Share this update

Latest donations

Guest Donor
Guest Donor on 26 Mar 2018
Keep up the fantastic work Kim :)
Colin K
Colin K on 25 Mar 2018
The world is short of people like you, best of luck.
Mariko on 25 Mar 2018
Hope he will be able to fly soon
Guest Donor
Guest Donor on 25 Mar 2018
Sandy McGregor
Sandy McGregor on 25 Mar 2018

Who's involved?

Kim Hartley's avatar
Created by, and paying to a verified bank account of, Kim Hartley

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This page was created on 14 Jan 2017 and closed on 1 Jul 2018.
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