We bought 7 duck chicks from Wadeson’s, our “sell everything” store in town. They were mostly different breeds. The white one ate more than all the rest, last to leave the food scattered on the ground. She was a Chinese duck bred to put on weight. The Chinese like to eat a fatty bird. That lovely, sweet white bird disappeared one day, presumably unable to run fast enough to make it to the brook and swim away and evade a predator. Two others ducks, mallards, who can fly very fast from north to south and back with the changingseasons and another fast flier, a black duck flew away together. I saw they practiced a lot of distance flying before their final departure.
I think that they hated my assistant’s forcing them to swim and come when called. He slept with his arms around the white duck and claimed she loved him. He was all for all for training animals and thought that their passisvity born of terror showed they loved him. Perhaps unspoken, is that he lived for power especially over animals who are essentially wild. After they fled, I was left with 3, a brown, a black and a grey with a white necklace. She vanished for a while to my concern. Birds create a nest under cover, to protect their young. She suddenly appeared with a look alike chick with a white necklace and grey body. I loved that little bird always tagging after his mother until one day he wasn’t there. So terrible! I asked Mom where is the chick. She looked very sad. I knew it was a predator.
Then Mom disappeared again, occasionally showing up for dinner. She had a very raspy voice, like Louis Armstrong when she announced “I’m here.” I knew that there had to be little ones until one day, she showed up with I think 11 chicks. It is hard to count them with their scampering around, all grey or black or mixed. I felt joy watching that hyperactive gang cavort. Then there was a scary night when Mom and the gang went to sleep in some hidden place near the brook. It got dark and darker. I heard Mom yelling over and over. I prayed. I yelled support. I stood there hoping for the sound to stop. Eventually it grew softer and then ended. I thought oh no, another predator stealing one of the ducklings, or more. I couldn’t bear her going through that again, or myself.
I went to bed in in a state of dread. Then the next morning arrived and there they all were, by the porch waiting for duck food. The ducklings were dashing about eating anything they could get their beaks on, They ran to Mom and back to the wild. She continually softly growled at them, keeping up with being in charge. I realized that Mom’s cry was a typical reaction when kids do not answer. Those chick kids are having a great adventure until they need to lie down beneath her wings. I have to say that I did not have parents like that. They did not take care of me and were angry when I got in the way of something they wanted to do. My plans were ignored by them and then by me. Non-existence was easiest.
The next day, Mommy left them in my back yard by the kitchen deck. The chicks ran around into the bush and out, finding bits of things to eat. After a while Mom and her two friends.appeared shaking their feathers to get dry. I assume they went for a swim without the kids. I had that moment of joy seeing the chicks having a grand old time without them. They regarded my back yard and stream as their home. In a way, they made it a home for me as well.