Sunday, June 14, 2009

Penny and Matilda

Warning...This is probably highly boring for anyone other than myself, but as I'm using the blog as a way to document my personal history, I needed to include it.

It stayed light very light out on Tuesday evening. I remember at around 8:30pm or so thinking that it looked more like 6:00pm.

I was out working in the yard and saw all three ducks in the pond swimming around. I decided to wait a little while before putting them in their pen for the night since it was still light and they seemed to be enjoying the extra play time.

When Brian and Jake got home from their baseball game, I asked Brian to help me get the ducks in--(it was about 8:45pm)--and still light! But when we walked to the back yard, we noticed that only two ducks were standing on the bank.

Little Peep was the one missing and she was no where to be found. We looked for her everywhere and I was in a frantic state. At one point we realized that something must have killed her although we could see no evidence of it at the time.

The next morning, my neighbor called me and asked me if one of my ducks was missing because his son had seen a dead duck in the road in the new development behind us. There was no way she could have walked that far, so it was clear that some animal had dragged her or flown her there. She was around 7 pounds, so that limited a hawk. We are pretty convinced it was a raccoon based on the condition that she was found in.

My neighbor Jeannie drove over to get her body and bring it home to examine. We will bury her in a few days...

I felt literally sick when I found out Little Peep had been taken. She was one of my original females. I only have one original duck left. The saddest part of the whole thing is that her sister was heartbroken and wouldn't leave her pen for almost an entire day. Brian says that animals don't have emotions, but I say he's crazy! This poor little duck just sat there and wouldn't eat even strawberries...

She still continues to be out of sorts, but she's at least leaving her pen and seems to enjoy foraging...

This whole thing presented a dilemma as I feared that if something else happened to one of the other two ducks, the one remaining would be a lonely mess--

It was too late in the season to get more ducklings, so I decided to find an adult female to bring into the mix. Fortunately, I found a place called Last Chance Ranch which is about 45 minutes away that had several ducks that needed homes.

My neighbor, Jeannie, drove up with me and the girls to check it out. When we got there, we found about 6 ducks hanging out in a pen full of pure mud and poop.

The white domestic duck (pekin) that they had was a female and apparently, she had a buddy who was a little brown trout runner. They had been brought to this place as Easter ducklings, and had formed a strong bond with each other, so I decided to adopt them both together...

What was I thinking not wearing my mucking out boots?! It's hard to tell, but this mud was at least 5 inches deep--It was like quicksand!--I'm actually standing on a board in this picture...

Trying to capture this poor thing was a bit of a challenge!...

It was like a circus!--At one point I forgot to close the carrier after I had put the one duck in, so I had to catch her all over again! arrrrrrrgggg

curious bystanders...

After we got the ducks home, I filled up a wash basin to get them cleaned off before putting them in their pen...

The kids helped me come up with the name of "Matilda" for the pekin...(Tilley for short)

This one we named Penny...she's just a little thing...barely 3 pounds...
Runner ducks are often used for herding. They have very long necks and look like bowling pins when they stand up. They are sometimes referred to as
"penguin ducks"...

Look who's head popped up when he heard the unfamiliar quacks...

Here is Jeannie holding Tilley after her bath...

Safely tucked in their cage for the night...

Never in a million years would I have guessed 6 years ago, while living in Manhattan, that I would ever need to purchase something like this!

The drake has been horribly aggressive and territorial, and has been trying to mate with Tilley...(the new pekin)...When ducks mate, the male bites the back of the female's neck sometimes to the point of breaking the skin. He wouldn't let up on her, so I called the feed store where I buy my duck supplies and they suggested this product..."Rooster Booster". It's a tar based solution that you put on the back of the female's neck. The taste of it is supposed to discourage the male from biting her. It hasn't really worked as I would have I've had to resort to separating them.

The thing that was most creepy was the label on the bottle that says

"controls cannibalism"--

Good hell! What did I get myself into?!

Anyway, that's what has been on tap over the past week...It's been chaotic and frustrating. I have no idea how I'm ever going to train these two new ones to come into their pen at night. I'm a little nervous about how it's all going to work out...I hope the male duck can get his overactive libido under control!



  1. It was actually really interesting to read about your adventures! Thanks for posting this!

  2. who's taking those pictures of you? that is SO great that you are documented in this crazy duck biography. i think it is totally you and i would have predicted six years ago that you would be buying crazy duck supplies, don't forget you nursed a sick (disgusting) flying rat, some people call them pigeons, when you lived in ny! you are one of a kind. and i am glad the pond is outfitted with new ducks, it completes the idillic picture in my head of your life.

  3. btw, i love the names, they are perfect. and that first picture looks like it is out of a storybook - beautiful.

  4. I love your duck stories, not the untimely deaths! And, the pictures. I am vocariously raisig ducks through you!

  5. OK, I didn't realize that you actually had ducks as pets. I just thought it was a completely cute blog name, and that you lived near some. That's awesome!

  6. SERIOUSLY, let's get together and have a raccoon killing party. I am SO tired of them killing your sweet ducks (I can only imagine how you feel!!).

    I'm so glad you got some more ducks... because animals TOTALLY have emotions.

    Just look at your Don Juan Duck. ;)

  7. oh boy, i will be able to be in on this action when i come for my visit next week- hope your male will behave himself-- your kids will be learning about the birds and the bees from the ducks!..:o)

  8. So sorry about Little Peep! And so soon, really, after you lost the other one. I guess the new ones will bring more work and adventure to your life. Keep us up to date on the duck tales.

  9. holy crap! so this post has taken my hormonal swings to a whole new level, shannon. and the "controls cannibalism" aspect?!

    i'm so sad about little peep! what a terrible way to go. i am glad that you got a couple of new ducks...though by the sounds of it, you may be starting up a little duck brothel... :) does something called "rooster BOOSTER" actually DETER libido?

    i'm so glad you photodocumented your duck chase!

  10. What a sweet post! That is so awesome that you rescued the ducks!

    I am on a no pet mission right now. We only have our cat left and I am standing firm no more pets! Especially after I pulled up carpet yesterday that had been peed on several times by my Mom's dog.

    Good luck with the new ducks, they are way cute!

  11. can't resist this one though I said I wouldn't comment.

    If you want ducklings, i know where you can get some-still.

    I don't know much about duck fornication but I know how my chickens are. The roosters are brutal. It's like a gang rape when there is more than 1 or 2.

    Chickens are canabalistic to say the least. If a chicken is bleeding for some reason or injured and bleeding the others will peck that weakened chicken, sometimes till death. It isn't kind.

    raccoons, hawks, foxes eat fowl. unfortunately, it is part of the cycle of life. Though it saddens me when one of my chicks get killed, it is easier than someone killing the thing to eat.

    Shannon, my friend, I feel your pain.

  12. Oh, Shannon!!! I am so sorry about your duck! Sadly, from my experience having geese throughout my childhood, I can attest to the fact that this will never end. I am happy that you have rescued some more though...what a nice idea.

    I am a "new blogger"....nice to see you!

  13. Oh my! I had no idea before reading your blog that racoons are so dangerous. That isn't the first duck they've gotten, is it?

    I KNOW animals have feelings. The cows behind us moo LIKE CRAZY when they are separated because they miss each other. For well over a week! And my guinea pigs try everything they can think of to be together. I finally just let them be together outside. Now I need to find a place for the babies to go when they are inevitably born.

    Good luck training your new ducks. Hopefully they will follow the lead of the pack that is already there!

  14. What a wonderful post. I am so sorry that one of your ducklings is gone now. I think it is wonderful though that you were able to adopt a couple of new ducks:) I really want a duckling...maybe some day:)
    Now, the no cannibalism stuff sounds a little...nasty...I really hope it can save the female duck from the male aggressor! What a naughty little man duck!

  15. I'm so glad to find your blog. Thanx for posting about your adventures.

    I got 8 ducklings this past March and it has been such a learning experience. I love having them!

    I'm so sorry about Little Peep. I dread the day we loose a duck.

    I'm worried that recently 2 of the males started being really aggressive. I was web-surfing to see if this was normal. I never thought I'd be looking up info on domestic duck mating habits!
    I was shocked to see one male (Seven) mounting a female (Dot) and biting her neck and pushing her head under the water! Then another male (Yoda) came over and did the same thing. Poor Dot! I'm just upset at how violent it all seems. Dot wasn't having any fun! I just don't understand why all of a sudden my little guys have turned mean! I'll never understand animals.

    BTW In addition to the 8 ducks (Seven, Shadow, Rook, Polky, Dot, Yoda, Harold, and Fern) we have 2 dogs- Lucky and Penny, 2 guinea pigs- Patch and Bandit, a parakeet- Echo, and a kitten- Tux! Whew what a menagerie!

  16. I'm sorry about your cute duck. It must be heartbreaking to be so attached and then to lose one this way. I hope the new ducks fair better. I'm disturbed by the Rooster Booster product...seriously, "Controls Cannibalism" yikes!