Country Life: Ducks for No Reason

We were told by the experts that Khaki Campbell ducks don’t make babies.To clarify they hardly ever get broody and if by chance they do the Khaki duck makes a terrible mother. Some of you remember the big chicken massacre of  winter 2015 when Sophie the duck managed to flee the blood thirsty fox but not without a noticeable limp.

043We assumed she’d kick the bucket but wanted a few more ducks so we stole a few eggs and gave them to a broody chicken.

Summer arrived and suddenly Sophie would go missing for hours, only appearing once or twice a day with much fanfare and noise. Ferdinand was always thrilled to see her–for 15 minutes–and off she’d go again. We discovered her 11 eggs tucked in a nest where the sheep now grazed.

Before we could decide what to do Sophie shocked us when she ran out the next day with a tiny malformed duckling dead and hanging from her mouth. My daughter and I grabbed all her eggs and found another broody chicken. Sophie screamed and cried for her eggs–so we gave a few back.

Now we have chickens who think they’re ducks and ducks who think they’re chickens all over the property. Turns out Sophie was not half bad as a mother after we rescued her baby from Ferdinand that first week. My husband re-enacted a great high school football moment with a flying dive to save the little critter. We let mother and baby bond for a while in a big tub and set them free with some trepidation. But the bonding session worked and Sophie gave Ferd a piece of her mind when he tried to get near the duckling. Now they march around as a family unit–sometimes. Other times the little one hangs out with the friends he doesn’t know are his brothers and sisters.

We’re not really sure what to do with all these ducks–but they’re so adorable and most of us don’t like dark meat. I suppose they’re just lawn ornaments.

Pet Chicken

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Egg-bound Gluck-Gluck
Egg-bound Gluck-Gluck

Chicken love. I never imagined such a thing, but every so often a chicken picks you to adore. How lovely it is each day to be greeted at the chicken house by an enthusiastic hen! When my chicken love, Gluck-Gluck sickened and died this week after 4 years of true friendship I felt a mix of relief and sadness. She suffered. There was little I could do but hold her in a warm towel after soaks and meds.

Such is life with animals, but if you’re lucky friendship shines on you again and so it is here at Middlemay. While mourning the loss of Gluck-Gluck I couldn’t help smile at Clarissa (Claire) a new Dominique chick with crippled feet waiting to be loved. Most of our new chicks don’t mind me, but they don’t love me.  Claire pushes her way through the crowd like a tough running back to jump into my hands whenever I’m around. She sits and coos and snuggles.

No one friend can replace another but isn’t it nice to be alive with the hope of new friendship?

Clarissa Chicken
Clarissa Chicken