Wednesday morning, I was jolted awake by my phone ringing even before dawn had started breaking. Groggy and still tired, I fumbled around for it and brought it to my ear.
“This is the post office,” the voice on the other end said when I answered. “You’ve got a box waiting here for you, and it’s peeping pretty loudly.”
I literally jumped out of bed, all vestiges of tiredness gone. The ducklings I’d been wanting for years had finally arrived!
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Since we first started keeping poultry a few years ago, we have seen quite a few chickens come and unfortunately go thanks to raccoons, mostly, and I know I will probably always have them. They’re easy farm animals and I like their eggs. But the truth is that no matter what you may read on the internet, chickens never really love you. They never really trust you. They never really even remember who you are, or that you bring them tasty buckets of kitchen scraps Every. Single. Day. In fact, they squawk-scream in terror every time you step into their coop to change their water or give them food. Soothing talk doesn’t help. The fact that you have raised them since they were born into the world doesn’t help. Nothing helps. Their brains are just far too small and reptilian for that.
We have some friendly chickens in our flock, but they’re really only friendly as long as you move slowly and offer treats. The other chickens are just kind of … stupid. And terrified of us.
You should read this: The Farm Giveth
But the ducklings!
As soon as I got their little cardboard mailing box into the car I pried the lid off and thrust my hand in amongst them. I sang them lullabies on the 20-minute drive home, and instead of fleeing in terror to the other side of the box, they jostled for space in my palm, and watched me calmly with their intelligent and gentle eyes.
The girls christened them the Puddle Ducks, a la Beatrix Potter, and it fits them. There are 8 of them; a Blue Swedish, a Cayuga, a Buff, a Silver Appleyard, a Pekin, a Welsh Harlequin and two runner ducks. They don’t have individual names yet, but that’s OK. They are the Puddle Ducks. They are our Puddle Ducks.
They waddle like the cutest drunken babies. They get running fast and don’t quite know how to stop. They follow me around, and come running to me when I call them and drum my fingers on something. They climb onto our laps and nibble our fingers and toes. They play.
Avery and Iris has a green spinning top that the ducks think is amazing, and they practically beg for the girls to spin it for them. Then they chase after it and wait for it to start spinning again.
We’ve only had them for two days, but already it’s been a whole different ballgame than having chicks. They are incredibly messy and stinky. The sides of their brooder tote box is splattered with food particles (and probably poop too, let’s just be honest here) that I wipe down regularly, only to become re-splattered immediately. Also, they go through about a gallon of water a day! And they don’t just drink the water, they motorboat in the water!
We’ll be moving them out to a much larger brooder box in the garage in a week or so, and that will take care of a lot of these issues until we can move them outside. Until then though, we are enjoying them so much! They seem so puppy-like, it’s impossible not to love them.
Especially since they don’t squawk-scream in terror at us.