Duck Tales

When we lived in Boise, we had ducks. It wasn’t something we planned. We already had cats, and some friendly squirrels who’d climb up the back door, sit on the knob, and chitter at us till we forked over the peanuts.

But one afternoon, I’m at work and I get a frantic call from the Baby. Her grade school incubated a clutch of chicks and ducks for a class project, and all of them got adopted out. Except one. She couldn’t leave that orphan duck there. She couldn’t! Surely I understood! It was the last duck standing. All alone, with nobody to care for it. She HAD to bring it home. It deserved it’s chance at a good home and a fulfilling life. Mom? Mom! Mother, pleeeeeeeeease!

So I come home to find this darling little bundle of feathers quacking away in a plastic gumdrop jar (And by the way, to the teacher who allowed all this to happen: I forgive you). Baby and I put Duck in a cardboard box, put screening over the top, and call the feed store to find out what kind of duck chow we need to get. We get the duck chow, and some bedding. We find a bowl for water. We are stunned at the amount of excrement one itty bitty duck produces. Mr. GG comes home to find our kitchen a mess, with wire snips, 50 lbs of duck feed, and mesh screen scraps all over the place, a quaking and quacking duckling in it’s box in one corner and Baby and me trying to keep the cats from sitting on the screened box, terrifying the poultry out of its tiny mind. Forget dinner. I think we ordered pizza that night.

That night found us all watching TV with Duck happily perched on a washcloth on Mr. GG’s shoulder. I have the pictures to prove this.

Well, Duck became part of the family. She had her own house outside, but she came in our house anytime we let her out for a constitutional. She and the cats learned to co-exist, and she and the squirrels used to fight over peanuts. I loved Duck, because we flood irrigated our yard every week, which meant we had lots of slugs. All I had to do was say “Slug!”, and point, and Duck came waddling fast as she could, and scarfed that slimy thing down.

Having animals is a sure fire way to learn about the cycle of birth and death, and eventually Duck came to an untimely end when a raccoon got at her. We were all devastated. I really mean that.

So we were Duckless in Boise for a while, till a friend of the Baby’s had a Peking White duckling that needed a new home. It was getting bullied by it’s siblings. Well, hell, we already had the house and the feeding equipment, so we took it. That duck bonded to me. It would follow me anywhere. To the point where I actually got on the internet and found out some people put diapers on their ducks so they could live inside. I wasn’t gonna go that far …just saying.

Pretty soon, Big Duck needed a new pen. So Mr. GG and I trot off to the feed store to buy some fencing. Unfortunately this was in the spring, after Easter. You know what’s coming, don’t you? You saw this one as soon as Easter came up. But it wasn’t me. I did not cave when we saw that huge trough full of cheeping poultry under the heat lamps. Nuh-uh. It was Mr. GG.

We get back home with the fencing and 3 (THREE!) new ducklings. Life as we knew it got way more complicated.

…To be continued….

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