Abandoned ‘sitting ducks’ rescued Sunday morning

CUTLERVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — The abandoned Pekin ducks that have been cared for over the past three months by a Cutlerville man now have a new home.

On Sunday morning, News 8 was told that a volunteer from the Michigan Duck Rescue and Sanctuary will be adopting the ducks. Matthew Lyson, co-founder of the South Lyon sanctuary, said the volunteer will be giving the two boys and two girls a new home.

Since October, Jeff Umlor has mothered the four white ducks that were left behind by his neighbor after a fire heavily damaged the neighbor’s house.

Umlor originally told News 8 they were geese, but Lyson reached out shortly after this article was published to clarify that they are Pekin ducks. He says these ducks usually don’t survive for this long with natural predators surrounding them.

“Without water to escape to, they’re literally sitting ducks,” Lyson said.

Luckily, Umlor has been taking care of them for the last three months.

When it’s this cold, the biggest challenge for these domesticated ducks is water. It freezes, fast.

“I’ve got to get some more water out here,” Umlor said.

The abandoned ducks have lived in the fenced-in yard behind the vacant house on South Division Avenue near 68th Street SW where Umlor feed them twice a day.

“Cheerios, bread, oatmeal, bird seed, anything like that,” he said, not to mention lettuce and peas. “I bought a pan for them the other day at Goodwill, so I can water them, so that way I can change out the water.”

The abandoned geese live in the fenced-in yard behind the vacant house on South Division Avenue near 68th Street SW. (Jan. 29, 2022)

After months of doing what he could, no one he reached out to had been able to help.

“I’ve called the township offices; I’ve called the police; I’ve called Blandford Nature Center; I’ve called the zoo,” he said.

So, he built the ducks a lean-to shelter out of blankets.

Jeff Umlor has mothered the four white geese since they were left behind after a fire heavily damaged his neighbor’s house in October. (Jan. 29, 2022)

“This is horrible,” Umlor said. “They’ve got no heat out here; there’s no electricity. I can’t even plug in a heat lamp. All the water and electricity is shut off to the house.”

The duck’s wings are clipped, so they can’t fly away or fend for themselves. If Umlor didn’t take care of them, he said, “nobody else would. They’d starve to death, and that’s not right.”

“They need medical attention; they need to see a vet, like, immediately. The one’s so frostbit on the front of it from laying in the snow,” Umlor said.

He said he and his wife considered building a shelter and moving them to their yard, but they’re caring for his mother, and money is tight.

“That’s kind of what I’m hoping, that somebody will have a heart and see what’s going on right here. I’m not able to give them anything better than I am right now. They’re slowly starving to death. I don’t have the funds to keep feeding them,” he said.

Less than an hour after News 8 published this article online, Lyson said that he was planning to speak with Umlor to “work on a game plan” to give the ducks a good home at the sanctuary.

The following morning, the ducks were rescued by the sanctuary’s volunteer and will be getting the care and attention that they desperately need.

Correction: A previous version of this article classified the birds as geese. Matthew Lyson, co-founder of Michigan Duck Rescue and Sanctuary clarified that they are Pekin ducks.

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