jmgoyder

wings and things

Duckling update – some sad and happy news

on February 10, 2014

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The four ducklings are, unfortunately, now three because the biggest little one kept adventuring off by himself, including getting out of the pen when our dogs were out. (To explain, we let the dogs, Jack and Blaze, out every morning for their run, then put them back in their yard at 1pm which is when we let the geese, duck, ducklings and turkey out. In the evening, once the birds are in their pens and Queenie and chicks in the tree, we let the dogs out again.)

Two days ago we found the little duckling’s corpse on the driveway. He had obviously gotten out of the pen when the dogs were out. Or it may have been a fox or crow. It would have been very quick but that’s not much comfort. He was a nonconformist from the start and didn’t hang with the gang very well. Here he is a few days ago, always on the other side of the fence or turning in the opposite direction to the others. He was a wanderer.

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One of the hardest things about free-ranging birds of any sort is that casualties are inevitable. Ever since we began to accumulate various birds, I have learned this the hard way and I guess that’s why I got four ducklings instead of two. And I didn’t name them for the same reason although, if this little one had survived, I would have called him ‘Peppy”.

Since Peppy’s demise, Godfrey (head gander) and Zaruma (head drake) and all of the other geese have been much more vigilant in protecting and surrounding the remaining three ducklings. Godfrey is particularly attentive – he is like a male mother! He has now bitten me twice when I have come too close. Zaruma, on the other hand, just follows the ducklings constantly, wagging his tail madly. I haven’t seen him so happy since we lost his mate, Tapper. The rest of the ‘gang’ are also heavily involved in the care of the ducklings and hate losing sight of them for even a second. Godfrey and Zaruma are pictured above leading the ducklings (out of the frame, but just behind them) to the yard.

Here is a picture of Woodroffe, Seli and Pearl beckoning the ducklings out from under a shed.

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Once the ducklings are a bit bigger – and they are growing fast – they will no longer be able to squeeze through the fence of the yard they go to bed in. In the meantime Ming and I will have to be much more watchful when it comes to the dogs.

Nature can be beautiful but it can also be cruel.


48 responses to “Duckling update – some sad and happy news

  1. KDKH says:

    It’s nice that the geese are looking out for the remaining ducklings. How sweet!

  2. I am a suck…. and feel sad but I know you do too…. It is so great the way they all look after the little ones… Diane

  3. janechese says:

    i am impressed that the geese look out for the little ones.Sometimes I am a loner and this tells me to stick closer to the brood. 😉

  4. Oh Peppy, you silly fellow. Great that the big boys are taking responsibility now.

  5. susanpoozan says:

    Poor little duckling.

  6. bulldog says:

    That’s what they say is “such is life”…

  7. So sorry to hear of Peppy’s demise, Julie, but glad that the adults have ramped up their vigilance. Thank you for sharing this adventure with us. And I LOVE all the names! Godfrey and Zaruma–so majestic!

  8. Ah Peppy. 😦 You said it, nature is beautiful AND beastly. I hope the others are careful and thrive Julie.

  9. Vicki (from Victoria A Photography) says:

    Sorry to hear of Peppy’s demise – but, as you say, inevitable perhaps. He seemed to be a bit of a loner and rather too adventurous for his own good.

    It’s amazing how the Gang are protecting these little ducklings. I do so hope you don’t lose any more. They’re such dear little birds and one can’t help but feel enchanted by their cuddly appearance.

  10. jatwood4 says:

    Cruel, yes, but remember the blessings you received from having Peppy around, (I know you do!) I’m sorry for your loss. 8-\

  11. ksbeth says:

    yes, life and death are so closely intertwined. happy to see you have many survivors, all moving on with life )

  12. It sure sounds like a full time job, the birds I mean! Sorry for the loss of Peppy. ;(

  13. Sad to hear of the little one. Fingers crossed the rest grow fast enough to be kept in and safe. It’s a tough thing, to balance freedom and confinement. Nature has it’s ways, no matter human intervention. Sending hugs.

  14. The tender nurturing the older ones have for the youngsters makes such sense to me since we know that, unlike so many of their 2 legged companions and caretakers, most ducks appreciate the importance of the safety and health of their family. They do, after all, generally mate for life! Keep us updated on their progress!

    Mandy

  15. I’m sorry about the little guy. It must be hard to deal with the uncertainty, but all of your animals seem so happy and healthy. 🙂 Peppy was a good name. You have a gift for the naming. 🙂

  16. shoreacres says:

    Now that I think about it, every group of mallard ducklings around here always has one that wanders off. It’s a little pathetic to listen to them squawk for their mama when they’re the ones who swam off, but there you are. Some kids just don’t listen!

  17. Trisha says:

    So sorry about Peppy. It must have been so hard to find him like that. The ducklings are so adorable at this age. It’s heartbreaking to think of something bad happening to them. But when one won’t stay put, what are you going to do? I’m glad the big boys have stepped up security.

  18. Sorry to hear you have lost a duckling but it is nice that the geese look out for them

  19. Terry says:

    I’m so sorry that happened

  20. FlaHam says:

    Julie, This is a sweet piece, I am so touched by the love you share the ducklings. You are the best mother hen. Take care, Bill

  21. Gede Prama says:

    Thank you my friend, I am proud to be able to read the writing on your article!

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