Matilda the Duck’s Marvelous Journey


Written by Ozzie Chavez of California

Several months ago, I made a wonderful friend. Her name is Matilda.

My son Noah was waiting for me to pick him up from his cross country practice and happened upon a group of ducks sitting by the river. One of the ducks was sitting by herself, very skinny and not able to move very well. Noah, knowing that his mother is a sucker for things like this, asked if we could bring her home and see if we could get her well again. It was easy to say yes, as my husband was out of town on business and I was sure that we could get her fattened up and returned to her home before he got home.

I sent my older kids off to the feed store to buy duck crumbles and a little wading pool for her. At first, it was very touch and go. She had to be hand fed and carried everywhere. There was some type of injury to her foot and she wasn’t able to get around. I would hold her against me and she would take naps.

As time went on, she began to hobble around on her own and eat by herself. She became friends with Schnitzel my mini Dachshund and they would play in the backyard together. Matilda is an Indian Runner duck and has beautiful coloring. She and I would have races together. She learned how to stand behind the line and would would wait for the ready…set…go!  Tilly would tap on the back door with her beak and quack when she wanted company and just loved to be held.

As time went on, I began to notice that she was becoming more aggressive towards Schnitzel and also discovered that she was a late bloomer and was actually Matt not Matilda. I had to make the decision to find a new home for Matt. I contacted the Folsom Zoo where they have a duck sanctuary and were excited to have an Indian Runner who was so domesticated. I really miss the company of my little friend. I loved coming home each day and being greeted by Matilda and snuggling up with her neck against mine.

See more photos of Mat the duck here

Footnote: For those of you who may be concerned about Matilda’s longterm well being due to the well-known trade & sale of animals among many zoos, Folsom Zoo has specific clauses in their charter that forbid the sale of animals for profit and they also have a policy that their animals should be allowed to remain through old age until they pass away or are euthanized out of medical necessity due to suffering.

Brought to you by The Great Animal Rescue Chase


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Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Tanja Z.
Tanja Zilker5 years ago


Sheri Schongold
Sheri Schongold5 years ago

Matilda/Matt was one lucky duckling. You are brave for going into the river. The refusal by the clergy, upon whose fault it was he was in the river to start with, says a world about him. As a clergyperson, one would think he would care about a helpless animal. I won't invite him to perform any ceremony for me.

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe6 years ago

I'm glad the Zoo had a Duck Sanctuary where Matt will be safe and happy!!!

Sarah M.
Sarah M6 years ago

What a beautiful duck.

Antony M.
Antony Mcgowan6 years ago

Not great that they knew its foot was injured 'somehow' and didnt get vet attention!

Laura M.
Laura Malfliet6 years ago

Good story :)

Carrie Anne Brown

great story, thanks for sharing :)

Carolanne Powell
Carolanne Powell6 years ago

Thank Goodness for caring people like yourself.WellDone!! This duck was given a chance & will now be able to mingle with her/his own kind, now he's reached sexual maturity.

Lindsey Williams
Lindsey Williams6 years ago

Thanks for sharing.