Ducklings Week 6: The price of carelessness

Sometimes one moment of carelessness can lead to a lot of trouble, and no matter how bad you feel, you just have to live with the consequences and move on the best you can. Just like what happened to our poor ducky. Every day, I feel simply terrible that he is suffering so much because of my one stupid mistake – not securing a door.  But beating myself up about it won’t help matters one bit. All I can do now is protect and look after Baby the duck the best I can till he recovers completely and is able to become independent and return to the wild with his siblings soon.

Our duck family waits at the door patiently every morning for me (and Baby)

Our duck family waits at the door patiently every morning for me (and Baby)

These days my life seems to revolve around the ducks and I can’t seem to get anything else done all day. The other ducks are actually easy to care for since they pretty much look after themselves these days and only need to be fed, but the injured one has to be supervised consistently to make sure  he doesn’t get (1) beat up or killed by the other more aggressive siblings or his bossy sister; (2) even more injured while trying to run after his siblings when they go on their little exploratory tours; (3) lost somewhere where I can’t find him because he’s fallen down somewhere outside our property and can’t get up. Our ducks often sneak under our fence to go into the field behind or in our neighbour’s yard to forage.

Tired out from waiting, the ducks are taking a nap

Tired out from waiting, the ducks are taking a nap

I feed the ducks every hour or two (they seem always ravenous!) and try to do it in a way that Baby gets something to eat since his siblings will chase him away from where the food is. I let him eat with the rest, because he won’t eat much when he’s alone in the house with us – he tends to eat much more when he sees the other ducks gobbling and fighting over the food!

Today, we had to make a trip to a metal workshop in a town some 30 minutes drive away. H. wanted me to come along, but we could not leave Baby indoors in the house alone, nor at the mercy of the other ducks outdoors, so I put him in his carrier

Baby goes on a car ride with us.

Baby goes on a car ride with us.

(see picture) and brought him along for the ride, with his ducky lunch box (water, scratch feed, chopped veggies).  Our funny duck seems to enjoy car rides – maybe because during the journey, I sit calmly by him in the back seat and stroke him – he seems to like it. Or perhaps the vibration and engine noise are soothing, who knows! He doesn’t seem to get travel sickness and in fact ate and drank quite well during the journey there and back. I recall rather painful experiences with a cat who hated car rides and almost shredded my arm once in a taxi – so am doubly grateful!

Meanwhile – it is still very exhausting for Baby trying to keep up with his siblings when he is with them, not to mention stressed out from the constant bullying from his older sister. We have considered keeping him isolated indoors 100% of the time but don’t think it will be good for him even if his leg heals faster, because it is a important formative period in his young life. He is growing rapidly both physically and psychologically, and has much to learn about survival outdoors, which his siblings are doing at the moment. He also must stay active and keep in social contact with his brood-mates, otherwise I fear they might permanently ostracize him.

Today is already the 5th day after Baby’s injury – we have not seen him moving or using his right leg at all. It is quite worrying, but the vet did say it would take time to heal so we must be patient. If he heals soon, it should not be a problem to reintegrate him with his siblings again – when they stop seeing him as a threat to their group survival, they will probably also stop bullying him.

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