I love ducks. Love, love, love, love, lovelovelovelove!!!! Their cute little bills and funny way of shooting through the water, comical waddling and happy quacking. Whats not to love?
One day Maverick and I were in the local feed store and they always have baby chicks. We already have chickens which I also love (and call "the ladies) but that day they also happened to have a half a dozen baby ducks. Maverick seen me looking at them and said right away "no, we don't need ducks"
Cue Sydney's very long list of reasons on why we do indeed, need ducks, combined with a lot of pleading and begging.
We ended up coming home with two ducklings. One a peaking and the other a black indian runner. I named them respectively George (white peaking) and quackers (black indian runner)
Ducks, even as babies will find a puddle and turn it into a lake. I armed myself with the chick waterer, not thinking anything of filling it halfway full.
I came to find them the next morning standing on their food dish (icecube tray) island.
It's ok I forgive you, cute little webbed feet, quacking, fluffballs of cuteness.
So I only filled the bottom red ring as they drank it (not like they had even a drop left after flooding half the can in a few hours).
I also let them regularly swim in the tub. My excuse to Maverick was I needed to clean the tub more often, every day.
It's ok I'll do more laundry too for the towels I use to dry them off so the shavings didn't stick to them.
After what seemed just moments they grew up and I tossed their quacking butts outside. Yes they were in the basement. I had ducks in the basement. It was a bit too cold and dangerous for them to live outside the first few weeks as they cannot generate their own body heat.
Quackers is an Indian runner, most popularized by the Aaflack commercials with the white indian runner quacking "AAFFLAACCKK!" obnoxiously. Indian runners have a different stance than most ducks. Their bodies are more bowling pin shaped. They stand upright and are characterized by their spooky, easily panicked nature. By then I knew George was indeed a boy (he had drake feathers which curl upwards on his tail) and quackers was a girl (no drake feathers and she actually "quacked" unlike george who made a sort of raspy farting noise).
Then two became three.
Maverick and I were called upon to host a farrier service at the local feed store. I walked inside to use the restroom when I seen those cute little balls of fluffy feathers. OH MY GEE!! I had to have one, but not just any one, a crested one.
So came Quackmire to our duck family.
Quackmire is a magpie crested duck. The little pouf on top of her head is actually caused by a mutation in the gene and the pouf is part of their skull. The magpie is the colouring as she eventually would mature to be white and grey. Quackmire was not happy in the little box. Quackmire wanted out and happily perched herself on my shoulder, dubbing me "mother duck".
Quackmire spent lots of time peeping frantically when I went out of her sight. She followed me everywhere and would dash after me then crawl up onto my lap for a little nap.
Quackmire went outside with me every afternoon and followed me down the street to see neighbors, nesting at my feet when she was tired.
Then tragedy struck. Quackers, an indian runner known for panicking easily somehow got into the foot deep pond and drowned.
Now tell me, how does a duck drown? Either way Maverick called me to tell me what had happened and how they left Quackers body waiting so I could bury her. George was beside himself. He guarded his Quackers for hours. When I finally arrived after dark I had to keep shooing him away because he simply couldn't let me take her and she be gone. He was lonely and very quiet for a few days.
Until I decided it was time for Quackmire to be socialized again. Quackmire was much too young to be put outside with the others at first. George did not like this new duck and I had to introduce them slowly to avoid the clumsy, fat George from flattening poor little Quackmire.
But there's a happy ending to this story! Maverick seeing how I was sad for my poor Quackers drowning in their previous pond went to wal-mart and bought the ducks a new "duck pond". There is nothing more joyful to a duck than a big rain, or clean water they can splash in and completely soil in 5 seconds flat.
Happy ducks and happy endings.