Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Loss in the Yard

Ari Duckass and Dick the Duck

I don’t know what happened. That might be one of the worst elements of the whole thing. I’ve lost someone who amused me greatly. And I can see that the survivor feels the loss. But I haven't a clue what happened.

Something killed one of my ducks today while I was at work. The body was barely violated, lots of feathers off the neck. But chickens peck at everything and it’s likely that at least some of that damage happened after the fact. Whatever the fact was.

In the short time they’ve been here, these ducks’ personalities have impressed me. They are pushy, loud, bossy, and they want to have fun. Lots of fun. As soon as they learned to negotiate the in and out ramps to the barn, they daily pushed to the front of the line to race to their swimming pool. And it’s no lazy swim when the ducks jump in – they splash and dunk and, uh, have boy-girl fun in there!

Thinking about boy-girl, I’m not certain if it was the male or the female duck that was killed. Only their voices differentiated them for me. But their swimming pool antics assured me I had one of each, and I’d already begun to anticipate more fuzzy yellow ducklings next spring. Now there will be none.

The surviving duck has been largely silent. But is that a trait, or is that because she has no one left to talk to?
The survivor.

Addendum, Wednesday morning. Lots of quacking in the barn, and I found a duck egg. I think it was the male who died.

14 comments:

The Old Red House said...

I'm so sorry (and amazed at how big the ducks have gotten). Who is the Ag school in your area? Vet school?

Johanna said...

Any professional help would come from East Lansing -- too far to engage. Local vets don't even do birds. I'd have to take the body to South Bend for a necropsy.

Many people have asked me if it could possibly have been death by natural causes, with the other birds pecking after the fact. I think it's possible that the bird slipped on the ramp (it's been raining all day) and broke its neck. Likely? Don't know. But it's nicer to think of it that way.

Melissa H. said...

Oh Jo, I'm so sorry. Where are they during the day? Just in a fenced yard? I hope you're right and it was just an accident. And I hope your other duck recovers. Poor thing doesn't have anyone to talk to now.

Shandy said...

My condolences, Johanna. So sad to lose a friend, especially one so young.

Amri said...

I'm sorry that you lost a friend. I lost a hen today as well. Definitely not the happiest day ever.

The Little Dish said...

Oh no, I'm sorry. I <3 ducks. Maybe your local cooperative extension can provide some answers. Nature is so mysterious.

Tomison said...

Johanna,

I'm shocked and saddened to learn your news. For some reason I'm relieved that it didn't happen while you were up here last weekend, but I'm not sure why. If you do get to the bottom of what happened, I hope you find it was from natural causes.

John Gray jgsheffield@hotmail.com said...

lovely ducks....sorry for your loss....what do you thinkkilled it???
strange but predators usually kill more fowl than just a single bird....
anyhow geetings from Wales....

The Japanese Redneck said...

I'm so sorry.

Ramona

trailrider731 said...

so sad, but a fact of "life" for farms I fear.
I've thought about a few chicks/ducks but so many feral cats and wild fox, it would be like asking for trouble. too sad,

Not to mention my own BogMeister Manx cat who pretends to be wild. TILL he hears the catfood container rattle.

He does leave me lots of "gifts" in the yard.

seeya,
lynn
the best is yet to come!!!

Nancy K. said...

Hi Joanna,

I'm sorry to have found your blog on such a sad day. I am very sorry for your loss. I know how attached I become to ALL of my animals and any loss is heartbreaking.

I found you through the Chicken boys and would like to link to your blog from mine. That will make it much easier for me to follow you as blogger will let me know whenever you do a new post...

Johanna said...

Thank you all for your kind thoughts about Dick the Duck's demise. Ari Duckass seems to be rallying, reestablishing her friendships with the younger hens. I feel confident that we'll get past this ugly episode.

It's nice to hear from new people, too. Thanks for coming.

Callie said...

Hope the surviving duck is doing well.

Jeni said...

Could it have been a ferret? They just suck the blood out of birds a lot of times, and they seem to strike the neck from what I've heard. I hope your other girls and boys stay safe! How's Ari doing now?