Down and Ducky
By Marilyn Mackenzie
When the guy at the carnival told my son that ducks made fantastic pets, I wanted to shoot him. We had just moved to over an acre of land, and since my son was being home schooled, it did seem like a good idea to introduce him to another life form besides dogs and cats. I forgot that mothers usually end up taking care of pets.
To this day, I wonder if it would have been as much fun to have only one duck. That carnival guy talked us into buying two ducks so they could keep each other company. We didn’t know we were buying a male and female, though, nor that ducks often breed as much as rabbits. That we learned much later.
It was fun having those ducks around. The male duck promptly bonded with our dogs and after we had a bunch of baby ducks running around the property, we changed his name to “Daddy Guard Duck.” The female was just “Mamma Duck.”
Each morning at the crack of dawn, our ducks appeared on the back porch. We never did know where they slept. But they appeared bright and early each morning, quacking, pooping, and knocking at our sliding door. That’s right, the ducks knocked at the door to let us know it was time for them to eat.
Someone had shared that dry dog food was good for ducks, so we would grind some up each morning in our blender. As we took it to the middle of the yard, the ducks followed us quacking all the while.
After eating, both ducks headed for the small wading pool we had placed in the yard. The male simply jumped in and jumped out. That was the extent of his bathing or swimming. The female loved water, though, and spent hours and hours splashing in the small pool.
Meanwhile, the male played with our dogs. (They were all small dogs – the result of a YorkiePoo and Shi-Tzu mating.) Sometimes Daddy Guard Duck chased the dogs; sometimes they chased him. But when the mailman or UPS driver or some other delivery van appeared on our cul-de-sac, each of them – dogs and Daddy Guard Duck – ran to the fence to bark and quack. That’s how the duck got his name. He was just as good as our dogs at alerting us to strangers on or near the property.
When Mamma was sitting on eggs, Daddy did his duty. He sat on the eggs while Mamma took her bath each morning. If she took too long – everyday, in Daddy Guard Duck’s opinion – he would quack and quack, getting louder and louder as she ignored him.
Then when the babies arrived, Daddy really played his role well. He guarded his babies and wouldn’t let the dogs even in sniffing distance. Once they were a bit grown, Daddy set out to teach his sons how to guard and left the raising of the daughters to Mamma.
We really couldn’t keep eighteen ducks on our acre of property, so we took the babies to a farmer down the road who promised to allow the ducks to roam his yard and huge pond. He was true to his promise. When a second batch of baby ducks were grown, they followed the first ones to our farmer friendâ€™s homestead. And, eventually, that same farmer took Mamma and Daddy to live on his property as well. Our family was better for having the experience of raising a few (dozen) ducks.
And then, some years later, my sister’s husband brought home a duck for his family to love. He honestly thought that my sister would let that duck live in the river in back of their home.
It was cold when that baby duck came to live with them, and my sister insisted that the duck take up residence in the master bathroom. It has been about two years now, and that duck, while he likes to go outside, still sleeps in the bathroom. He’s definitely a house duck, and not a river duck. And he is none too happy when someone wants to shower or otherwise use his bathroom. As boisterous as he is, I have to wonder if he is related to our old Daddy Guard Duck.
Marilyn Mackenzie has been writing about home, family, faith and nature for over 40 years. This article has been submitted in affiliation with http://www.PetLovers.Com/ which is a site for Pet Forums.
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