In the last couple of months, Rocky the Rescue Duck has had 6 ducklings. I didn’t expect it as I didn’t even know she was nesting!
She is a lovely friendly duck. I found her at a day old in the chicken pen, she had been abandoned and the chickens were pecking at her – they are so mean sometimes. I thought the little duckling was dead, she was lying on her side, bleeding and not moving. I picked her up and cradled her and felt just a tiny flutter. I held her for an hour to warm her up while I tried to remember where I put the heat lamp! Eventually she started tweeting feebly and she moved into a cage in the house for a while as she got her strength and recovered. After a few weeks she went in the pen with the other birds and took to it like a duck to water.
However a few months later she flew out and refused to go back in, living under a hedge in the garden, so I left her there and thought no more of it.
When she turned up at the back door with her babies I had to rush about and find them somewhere to live – I’m happy to say they are now all happy in the pen, cheeky and greedy and Rocky is a great mum.
Last week another lone duckling turned up, again abandoned, but this one didn’t do so well on his own in the cage. He just sat there all day, not eating or drinking, no noise, just quiet and he seemed so depressed. I decided to get him a friend.
I went to the local garden centre – no baby birds, wrong time of the year. Went to the local farm, no baby birds right now, I was willing to take a chicken or anything at this stage. Luckily my lovely neighbour had a 10 day old duckling she was willing to give me.
The new arrival is quite a bit bigger than the newbie so I was a bit worried there’d be a punch up or the big one would be mean so I watched for a while to see what would happen.
I needn’t have worried. The little bird ran to the big one and buried his head under its little wing. Within minutes they were grooming each other and then the big one spied food and water and was off squeaking excitedly. The little one followed and eventually got the hang of it all. I couldn’t help thinking of the song “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother”.
So I have two smelly ducks in the house now for a while as they get big enough to go outside. With no mum to protect them, I have become surrogate duck mother – again!
I have no idea what to call these sweeties, so if you have any ideas – feel free to post them on my Facebook timeline (but don’t forget to include the word ducklings so I know what you mean)!