Today was a sad day and I am hoping that we made the right decision....
I posted recently about how our female duck, Mutter, is sitting on 12 eggs. On accident. Well, on accident from our end, probably not an accident on her part. Anyways, we live on a small urban lot with a pretty small backyard. Enough to keep 3 ducks happy, but not much more than that. As we are getting closer and closer to potentially having baby ducklings, we are having to figure out how this will possibly work in the situation that we have, and we are having to adjust as we go.
We don't have the space (or the money) to add a second coop to our yard, or to separate our back yard into 2 sections. And, we were pretty nervous that a mama and her babies may not mesh well with 2 male ducks, especially when it comes time to all going in one coop for the night. Male ducks can sometimes be aggressive towards the babies, purposely trying to hurt or kill them. Or even in such a small space, we felt that there was a good chance the boys may accidentally step on and kill babies as well.Ducklings are awful fragile when they are first born.
So, we found someone who would take our ducks as pets. A small farm about 30 minutes from Portland. They have a pond, a creek, and a whole bunch of other chickens, ducks and turkeys, and we felt that our boys were going to a better home. And then we got there. And there were LOTS of other ducks and fowl. Immediately, our ducks were getting picked on by the other birds (the pecking order of nature, I guess) and I could tell that they were scared and overwhelmed. And the farm wasn't quite the idyllic green-pastured farm in my imagination. The house was right off a dirt road, and things seemed a little bit hectic. For a minute, I wanted to put our ducks back in the car and drive away with them. But, realistically, what would our other options be? Keep them and risk them killing the babies? Try and find someone else to take them, which may be a worse situation that this? I hoped (really hoped) that this guy wasn't going to eat them, and tried to convince myself that they will eventually settle in. They have a grass-filled yard to forage in, water to swim in, and lots and lots of friends. And, of course, they still have each other. Once they get used to it, it probably is a way better life than they had at our house with no grass (because they had smashed it all down and killed it) and only a horse trough to swim in.
I ate dinner outside tonight, as we do often on warm evenings, but for the first time in over 3 years I didn't hear the sweet chatter of the boys as we ate dinner. Did you know that male ducks don't quack. only the females do? The boys make this cute noise that I know I am really going to miss.
And now I am crying. I know they were just ducks. They were not smart. They got nervous and ran away if you approached too fast. They were completely non-affectionate. The boys ate food but gave us no eggs in return. But, they were my boys. We got them when they were just the cutest little things and I guess I have grown pretty attached to them these past few years. And, even though they were scared of us most of the time, I could tell that they loved us, in their own ducky way, just by looking at them.
So, I hope they are happy and live many long years at their new farm and I hope that we made the right decision. We are excited for these baby ducks to hatch, and excited that we now have space to keep a couple to replace the boy that we re-homed today, but those silly boys will be missed. Here's to Sami and Smudge- may your days be long and lucky! Pin It Now!