Ducklings Week 6: Baby’s Accident

Today was not a good day.  Our smallest duck, Baby, has badly injured his leg, and now he can’t walk or stand up at all. This has seriously impacted the plan we had of bringing the ducks out and introducing them gradually to their environment outside of our yard, in which they have been confined to up till now.

Raring for an adventure away from the pond.

Raring for an adventure away from the pond.

It was really my fault. Because the duckies were raring for an adventure outside our gates, at which they paced up and down to show me what they wanted, I decided to take them for a short walk to the neighbouring field towards the creek, and see how things would go. They were following me from the backyard through the garage to get to the front yard. I did not realise the heavy door to the backyard was slamming shut from the wind just as the ducks were on the threshold. The other ducks managed to jump back out into the backyard, but Baby was just a little too slow. I rushed to the door, but it was too late to stop it from slamming on him. When I opened the door, I saw him lying about a metre away on the ground, motionless and bleeding. My heart almost stopped at that horrible moment – I picked up the poor limp body, cradled him to my chest and ran into the house to call H. for help.

Baby, just a few hours before his accident.

Baby, just a few hours before his accident.

Thankfully we soon determined that our poor ducky was not critically injured –  but he had definitely hurt his foot, which was limp and bleeding. Although he remained alert and calm, he must have been in a lot of pain as he hardly moved and lay unprotesting in my arms. Ducks normally don’t like to be picked up or held – at least not ours!

We quickly administered some first aid – washed the bleeding foot, and put iodine on it. For the next hour or so, he lay quietly in my lap and let us stroke him. His other siblings noticed his absence and called for him anxiously, and all four even came into the house  to look for him. He peeped softly at them but kept his head and bill pushed into the folds of my jacket as if wanting to hide away. Poor little guy! The other ducks could not understand why Baby could not go with them and were all in a big tizzy. They got impatient waiting for him, and started uprooting my house plants, making such a mess we had to shoo them outside again.

New wing feathers, still in their sheaths!

New wing feathers, still in their sheaths!

Although our ducks had been sleeping outdoors for a week already, I decided to have them all indoors again that night, so they could keep Baby company in the house where we had to confine him for his own safety. I knew they hate to be separated and would freak out if one was missing.

In spite of protests, the four non-injured duckies were locked in their old cage for the night and Baby was placed in a separate cardboard box laid on its side next to the cage, so his siblings could see him, but not accidentally trample over him. Baby could not get up or walk – in fact he did not try at all, so I made him comfortable as I could in the box with hay, water and some peas, which he ate. I guess that’s a good sign, that he doesn’t have internal injuries. Poor duck – one of his feet had been sprained, and before it was fully healed the other foot may now be broken. Ducks are known to recover quickly from foot injuries, so we are hoping and praying he will be able to heal quickly if we keep him safe and force him to rest for the next one week or so.

I am not sure how we will manage our injured duck in the next few days, I guess we will have to play by ear.




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