Ducklings: Day 4 – Humans are friends?

So many things have been happening the last few days that I can’t seem to keep track! It also seems to be an eternity since the ducks were hatched on Sunday. We have spent so much time with them since.  I haven’t been sleeping too well because of the rather dry spell which seems to be contributing to the dryness and tickle in my throat that wakes me up several times in the night to a coughing fit. I’m feeling however less tired today than I was yesterday in spite of some sleep deficit.

I was up before 7.30am as the duckies were peeping loudly from their cage downstairs, asking to be let out. Today they spent the entire day outdoors (almost 12 hours) except for short breaks to come in to rest and eat, and the one hour we went to do groceries. During that time, I had to confine them to the cage. They were naturally very upset and peeped incessantly.

Don't step on me!

Don’t step on us!

Today, I noticed that the ducklings have started responding to possible dangers around them. For instance, birds that came into our garden. The ducklings would rush in a tight group to me when pigeons flew close over the pond, and I made a show of flapping my arms and scaring the birds off with a loud quacking noise.

They also got frightened by the Koi, who due to the spate of hot weather are suddenly more active. One duck panicked, and you should have seen how fast they all shot across the pond – popping out of the water in a straight row one after the other! Then they almost jumped back in again immediately because a plane flew overhead with a loud noise. A bit too much excitement for one morning!

It's nice and warm to snuggle up in human hands

It’s nice and warm to snuggle up in human hands

The ducklings seem to assume that the presence of more humans means safety. We had visitors here today for tea and dinner. The little ones were very confident and friendly to everyone and allowed themselves to be held, even falling asleep in K.’s hands! She was so charmed by the little fluff butts, she said she wishes she were a “duck mom” as well!

I am starting to be afraid that if they ever return to the wild, our ducks might not be afraid enough of humans even if they learn to be afraid of predatory birds and animals, since they imprinted on us and consider humans part of their “family”.

It got cooler as evening came on and we had dinner in the living room. The ducklings came back inside just as we finished dinner, we let them eat their fill from their food bowls, then each of us cuddled a duck in our cupped hands until they relaxed and started falling asleep. Then we put them gently back in their cage, covering it with towels to block out the light, hoping they would finally “go to bed” and not beg to be let out again.

Unfortunately as with human kids, as long as they can hear activity in the house, they don’t want to go to sleep. They peeped loudly and jumped against the cage door continuously until our guests left – then they quieted down and went to sleep. I haven’t heard a single peep from them the last 2 hours. Whew!!

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