Print Email Facebook Twitter Release Share Font Size: A A A A
No longer a sitting duck
Bird lets his hair down on the farm after help from WSU
Monday, Mar. 12, 2012
By Linda Weiford, WSU News
PULLMAN, Wash. - For Ludacris, an odd duck brought to Washington State University’s veterinary hospital last month, there’s no such thing as a bad hair day.
Sporting a white poof of feathers atop his head, he was spotted waddling with limp on a road near Pullman’s Sunnyside Park and taken to WSU.
WSU veterinarian Nickol Finch with Ludacris
the odd duck.
And while veterinarian Nickol Finch has seen all kinds of critters in her role as head of the exotics animal unit, Ludacris was a first.
"I can’t say I’ve ever treated one before, and I probably won’t again,” she said.
As Finch knew, Ludacris is a white crested duck, named after its puffy headgear. The crest is caused when a genetic mutation leaves a gap in the duck’s skull that is filled with fatty tissue and the pouf of feathers. Crested ducks can suffer other problems as well, she explained. X-rays revealed abnormal bone growth in one of Ludacris’ legs, hence the limping.
White crested ducks aren’t a common breed in the U.S., according to literature. In fact, the websites of birds-of-north-america.net, Ducks Unlimited and the Duck Research Laboratory at Cornell University don’t even mention the crested duck among their lists of domestic and wild breeds.
But, finally, the Web page of Murry McMurray Hatchery located in Webster, City, Iowa, does. Billing itself as "The World’s Rare Breed Poultry Headquarters,” here’s what it has to say about Ludacris’ breed:
"The white crested duck is a good dual-purpose breed as they lay an admirable quantity of eggs and grow rapidly if you want to butcher some.”
Which goes to show, Ludacris - plucked from the streets of Pullman and placed into the care of WSU - is one lucky duck.
He swam in a big bathtub, was given anti-inflammatories and enjoyed a diet of duck feed and shredded vegetables. An adoring veterinary student named him after the famous rapper who wore his hair in a high-top during the 1990s.
Now, instead of ending up on a butcher’s block or aimlessly limping the streets, Ludacris has a new home. A student’s parents offered to take him to their farm in Wenatchee, said Finch, where he can paddle about in a pond and quack with other ducks.
And he’ll have the coolest hairdo around.