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Louisiana duck goes from being bullied outside a steakhouse to social media fame, happy home

Jun 04, 2023

Staff writer

Crystal Falgout says her other chickens and ducks get along fine with the new addition, Howard the duck, far right.

No one knows who dropped Howard the duck off at the LongHorn Steakhouse in Denham Springs, but thanks to a Facebook group called "Livingston Parish Rants & Raves," plenty of people learned that things didn't go well from there.

Until they did.

'He'll let you pet him and hold him and hug on him. Like he doesn't care,' says Crystal Falgout about her new pet duck, Howard.

When Howard mysteriously arrived at the Longhorn, the other ducks and geese in the nearby pond didn't like him. They harassed him. It wasn't pretty.

With no friends and clipped wings, Howard took to standing by the restaurant door, accepting food here and there from staff and diners and seemingly happier to be with people than birds of a similar feather.

"I usually am one of the last servers to leave, and every night the duck was cuddled up by the door," said Longhorn staffer Alexis Bryant, of Prairieville.

The duck would run away when Bryant opened the door.

"I decided to make a post because this isn’t the first time we’ve had a duck stay by the door."

Previously, with the other door duck, a rescue group was contacted and came to rescue the duck.

Bryant said she was surprised by how much attention her post received.

Crystal Falgout hangs out with the family's newest addition, a Pekin duck named Howard, who was rescued from outside Longhorn Steakhouse in Denham Springs.

"Some not-so-nice comments, but there was definitely a lot of support which I appreciate so much," she said. "I am an animal lover, and I know sometimes ducks will chase you if you get near them, but this duck was different and everyone knew it."

Albany barber Crystal Falgout, who has co-operated Fab Four Barbershop in Denham Springs for about a year, was among the hundreds who read the duck post. Already having pet chickens and ducks at home, what's one more, right? Friends and family, knowing what a pet lover she was, were even tagging her in the 100-plus comments concerning Mr. Duck.

So Falgout and her sister, Shelby Moore, rode by to check out the situation.

"And he was sleeping by the doors at Longhorn, so we just fed him and he didn't run," Falgout said.

So, she and her sister scooped up the duck and Falgout took him with her to work. Later, at home in Albany, husband James Falgout and children Adelie, Landry and Cullen welcomed the new addition.

Howard the duck rides in a cooler inside Crystal Falgout's car. Falgout took him to work with her, then to the vet, and then home to join her other mallard ducks and barnyard chickens at home in Albany.

"They all love it. They thought it was really funny, but they love him because he's nice," she said. "He seems like a real sweet animal, you know, and he likes people. He'll let you pet him and hold him and hug on him."

The family acquired their other feathered friends in May, and the barnyard chickens and mallard ducks happily share a coop, a run (fenced-in space) and a small pool.

Their newest duck has gotten a clean bill of health from a veterinarian, and a name — Howard.

The people at Longhorn had called him Howard and Henry interchangeably.

"I liked Howard better, and he comes to me when I call him Howard. So we just kept it as Howard," she said.

Although Falgout doesn't know Howard's exact age (and he's not telling), she said he appears full-grown so he's definitely older than a year. He's a Pekin duck (also known as White Pekin or Long Island Pekin).

It's assumed Howard was dropped off near Longhorn, and the vet confirmed that he had definitely been someone's pet, noting his clipped wings.

"So he wouldn't have survived out by himself anyway because he can't really get away from any kind of predator or anything like that," Falgout said.

Longhorn leftovers behind him, Falgout now feeds Howard duck pellets. She said ducks like vegetables, too.

Falgout reports everyone in the chicken coop is coexisting copacetically.

Fab Four Barbershop client Jessy Roberts pets Howard, the conversation-starter of the day last week when the duck's new owner, Crystal Falgout, brought the pet to work with her.

"He follows my other ducks around, like whenever I let them run and go play like out in the yard," she said. "We have a pond and I keep trying to show them the pond and they'll go by it, but they won't actually get in yet. So he follows them around, and then he'll just come back in the coop, like in the run, whenever he's ready. … So I feel like he's doing really good."

The Falgouts also have two rescue puppies — Annie, who they've had six years, and Lucy, who's been theirs for four years.

In Prairieville, Bryant's pride and joy is a 3½-year-old Chiweenie named Nova.

"Hopefully I’ll be able to adopt some more soon," said Bryant, who's studying nursing at Baton Rouge Community College.

Email Judy Bergeron at [email protected].

Staff writer