Friends---Feathered or Not forum: Stories

 
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Imageduckmother
Jun 29, 2010 9:30 AM CST
Name: Kim
Arkansas
A duck is a wonderful adventure!
I rehab waterfowl (mostly American Wood Duck ducklings.) I got started completely by accident! My husband and I were driving down a busy 4 lane street in out neighborhood and saw a female Woodie crossing with 15 babies in tow. She was hit by a car and ducklings scattered! I did not think I could get out of the truck quickly enough. I was quite the sight running around grabbing ducklings and putting them in my cupped-over shirt! I was almost hit by several cars but I did not care if they hit me, as long as they did not hit the babies! We were able to rescue 11 and took them to our home. I started calling around to vets, game and fish and rescuers, but none of them took baby Wood Ducks. Hubby and I decided to keep them...no one told us it was very difficult to raise baby woodies, so we learned everything as it happened. We were able to release 9 onto our lake and have had Woodies return every spring to nest here. In time, I became known as Duck Mother and I (with help from hubby) am still the only one in the area (almost the entire state) that will rehab Wood Ducks.

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ImagePatti1957
Jun 30, 2010 10:07 PM CST
Name: Patti
Eagle Point, OR
We live on a very busy highway and a few years ago I was out in the garden and I heard honking and tires screeching. I ran up to the road and I saw two ducks, a male and a female, walking down the highway. I talked to them and they followed me back down my driveway. I put them in my dog kennel and they lived with us and raised a family for a few years. The original male and female have gone on to duck heaven and I took the last of the babies to some property of a friend where there are several ponds and released them. The last batch of babies where very wild and it was getting really hard to control them. I figured that they would be happier in the wild. They would have a dilemma every evening when half of them would come back to be penned up for the night and half of them trying to go off somewhere. It was so chaotic every night that I finally made the decision for all of them. Here is a picture of the last batch of babies.

Thumbnail by Patti1957

Imageduckmother
Jul 1, 2010 7:51 AM CST
Name: Kim
Arkansas
A duck is a wonderful adventure!
Wonderful story, Patti. I bet you did have your hands full with such a large flock! The most that I have ever had at 1 time was 19...and they were 3 different families...I needed to be in a padded room by the time the left home ;o)) Thanks so much for posting!
Imageduckmother
Jul 7, 2010 8:16 AM CST
Name: Kim
Arkansas
A duck is a wonderful adventure!
One spring, I got a call from the local animal control and said they had a baby wood duck. Well, when they got here it was a Canada Goose! (They must not recognize the different kinds of waterfowl lol) Canada geese are considered a nuisance around here but I had already said I would take the bird, so I did. We named him Dudley Do-Right (is there any other name for a Canada? lol) We had not ever had a goose before and did not know how he would take to us but he truly thought of us as his parents. He did not like for us to leave him alone and followed us everywhere! When the time came for him to leave home, he would not. When we took him to the lake, he would not get in until I did and as soon as I got out of the water, so did he ;o) I would walk him to the lake and then he would follow me back home but within time, he would stay most of the day at the lake (with the other geese) but instead of flying back home, he would walk back home ;o)) Almost everyday, I would get a phone call from one of the neighbors telling me that Duds was standing in the street. I would walk down and get him. Finally, we started putting him the bed of the truck and driving him to the lake every morning and then pick him up in the evening. He would "honk" in the back of the truck as long as he was in there...just like a dog in a truck! Within time, Dudley became more involved with the other geese and would not come home at night. He eventually started flying with the other geese and he is know part of their family at a local park. They visit our lake sometimes and for awhile he would answer when we called but now he will swim towards us but never "talks" to us...as it should be.

1 day old

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ImagePatti1957
Jul 7, 2010 9:43 AM CST
Name: Patti
Eagle Point, OR
I love it! I am so glad that you had the patients to let him decide when it was time for him to go.
Imageduckmother
Jul 11, 2010 1:28 PM CST
Name: Kim
Arkansas
A duck is a wonderful adventure!
Thanks, Patti. Sometimes I wish they would never leave home, but I know that is the only way they will truly be happy...with the exception of domestic ducks...

6 years ago, there was a knock at the door and one of our neighbors had met a young man at the lake and he was tying to release a baby duck, but the cutie would not stay in the water. (He had bought her for his dorm room but could not keep a duck...what was he thinking? :confused:) Finally, he asked our neighbor if she knew anyone that would take the little one. She brought him to our house. When the baby and I saw each other, it was love at first sight!! She went everywhere I did...post office, hair dresser, etc. She became the neighborhood mascot and everyone would tell vistors to be careful driving by our house because of a duck...no one would believe the stories until they came by to see for themselves! If she heard one of the neighbors, she would walk over to their house and see what they were doing...of course, most of them would dig up a few worms for her and one neighbor even kept minnows as a snack for her.

When she learned to fly, we would take her to Lake Ouachita (about 90 miles from away) and she would ride in a box on the console between hubby and me. She would look out the back window (she did not like to see stuff coming at her) and as hubby would start to back the boat into the water, she would really start to chatter. I would open the door and she would fly to the water and play until we picked her up in the boat. People in the swimming area were always amazed that she was our pet. Many would take her picture or have children/grandchildren hold her and then take picture. Hubby and I are scuba divers and she would swim along the surface and watch us. Then we would see a little duck swimming down to see what we were doing! On the way home, we would stop by Sonic and get tater tots...which she loved! She could only have one because they are so unhealthy for her but she did not care as long as she got one! The employees would come outside and just talk to her. They loved to see us coming because they knew Khaki was with us. Khaki also liked children and loved to run with them.

On Halloween, she and I would sit on the front porch and wait for the kids. One little boy asked me one time, if she was a real duck. I said, no, she is really a dog, she is just dressed like a duck for Halloween. Rolling on the floor laughing Our neighbors would get 9 kids or so but we would get close to 100! They really enjoyed her as much as she enjoyed them.

At night, hubby would tinker in his shop and Khaki would stand guard at the door. Smiling When it was time for bed she would go over and tug on his pants leg (or socks during summer) and let him know she was sleepy. Yes, he would close up shop and bring her inside for the night. When she would see me, she would would start to chatter as if to tell me what she had been doing.

During the summer months, she had a kiddie pool but preferred our hot tub (without the heater) and would stay in there from sun up until I would call her into the house around 9 p.m. We had 6 or so rubber duckies in the hot tub and she would go around herd them to one corner. Then she would divide them into different corners and start all over....an amazing sight! She slept at our bedside her entire life...even though, she had her only little house outside (like an open dog house), which we called Khaki Shack. Hilarious! ,-. She was not afraid of any other animals, in fact, she would chase cats out of "her yard." She especially did not like other birds on "her" deck. She would tolerate them for a while but would slowly walk towards them and put her head down, like she was a bull in the fighting ring, and scare them away.

Khaki was a domestic Khaki Campbell duck and could have lived up to 20 years and laid eggs (almost one a day) for 7 years. However, she did not lay any eggs until she was 1 year old and even then, they did not look like eggs, just a facsimile of one. She did make several nesting areas in the yard but usually left the "sorta" eggs on her blanket in the house. When she was around 13 months old, she got an egg stuck and tried to lay another, which caused her to become septic and die. We did not know she was sick until it was too late. I miss her with all of my body and soul! Shortly after her death, hubby convinced me to go to the lake. We went to one of the islands that Khaki enjoyed and I got out of the boat, sat next to the water and began to cry. I looked down in the water and saw a heart-shaped rock next to my feet! I could not believe it. Needless to say, that rock in on the mantle next to her pictures. I hope to write a book about her antics someday...

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ImagePatti1957
Jul 11, 2010 1:38 PM CST
Name: Patti
Eagle Point, OR
Group hug I'll be back, need to go get a kleenex Sad
Imageduckmother
Jul 12, 2010 7:34 PM CST
Name: Kim
Arkansas
A duck is a wonderful adventure!
Awwww I agree She was such an angel...my little angel on earth!
Imageduckmother
Jul 14, 2010 8:41 AM CST
Name: Kim
Arkansas
A duck is a wonderful adventure!
On September 11, 2002, we got these 3 cuties. Since it was one year after the terrorist attacks, we named them Faith, Hope and Love; Faith--a Mallard male, Hope--a Mallard female and Love--a Blue Swedish (domestic breed) male. They had the same Mom but different Dads. We got them shortly after hatching, so they knew no other Mother except me. Within a few hours, they followed me everywhere. I trained them to a blanket right away. They would wait until I put it on the floor and then they would sit on there all day. Except for one night...hubby was out of town and I was extremely sleepy, so I put the kids to bed early and then I went to bed. Just as I was in never, never land, I heard 3 ducks at the bedside. It took all of my strength to tell them to "go on to bed" and they did...right underneath my bed! I was so tired that I just left them. Before I could fall back asleep I heard the garage door open! Hubby had decided to come home early and surprise us (I think he missed the ducks LOL) Knowing he would not approve, I flew out of bed, turned on the light and tried to shoo 3 ducks out...they would not budge! So, I ran to the door and greeted hubby. The kids light was off, so he figured they were asleep and was not going to bother them. He carried his suitcase to the bedroom and began telling me how and why he came home early. As soon as they heard his voice, they began to talk softly. It took him a few seconds and then said, "What is that noise? Is it the ducks?" Of course, I played dumb and pretended I did not hear anything. He continued on with his story and the kids began to talk again. Then he said, "Are they under the bed?!" I had to come clean. I told him the entire story of how they came to be under the bed. He was so taken with their behavior...we were not certain if they came in there because he was gone and that was not normal, if they missed him or if they wanted to protect me (it was most likely because I put them to bed so early and ducks do not like change, so they did not want to go to bed yet)...he got down on the floor and when the ducks saw him, out they came. You would have thought they had not seen each other in years!

As they grew, I would take them out on the deck each morning. They would eat, bathe and then fly to the backyard/creek and spend the day outside. In the evening, I would walk them around to the front door, through the house and back out on the deck, where they would stay until bedtime. As I stated earlier, ducks love to be in a rut and like to do the same routine each day...one day, I had friends over for a visit and did not get outside in time to get the kids. One of my friends yelled at me and said she thought she heard a duck quack out front. I went to the door and there stood 3 ducks waiting to come inside. Rolling on the floor laughing My friends were stunned! I opened the door and 3 ducks walked through to the backdoor. When I returned my friends mouths were still dropped to the floor!

They 3 Angels went down the creek a little further each day until they made it to the lake. They always came back for a visit. In the spring, Hope laid 17 eggs in our backyard but something got them. She then flew to the other end of the lake and took up with another male. Hope and Love started courting a Pekin female and they began to visit often. They all lived long happy lives...Love was the last and he died about 3 months ago. I miss their visits but I am so thankful for the time I had with them...they truly brought joy into our lives!

Here they are patiently awaiting a worm Smiling

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Imageduckmother
Jul 22, 2010 10:14 AM CST
Name: Kim
Arkansas
A duck is a wonderful adventure!
Once we got a call from a lady about a Wood Duck male that had been hit by a truck on a dirt road (must have been going fairly slowly.) She stated that he seemed okay except for blood in one eye and lots of feathers missing. I figured the poor little one was either trying to get away from danger or chasing a rival male away and just flew in front of vehicle. Chances of survival are not very good after being hit.

We brought the little guy home, cleaned his wounds and put antibiotic cream in eye and on skin (given to us by vet.) We could not get him to eat...too nervous. Finally, after 2 days, he was just too hungry and began to eat everything we put in front of him ;o)) We decided to name him Lucky since he was one lucky duck. He had survived against all odds! Within two weeks, he was able to fly again. The blood in his eye was slowly leaving but he was still blind. We waited a few more days and then decided it was time to release him...luckily it rained the next two days and we had to wait. The morning that it stopped raining, I was feeding Lucky and as I approached his blind eye he flinched. Believing that I did not see what I thought, I tried coming towards his blind eye again...he flinched. OMG! Lucky could see. We were so happy...it was time to let him go and be a duck! We hated that it was mating season and knew that Lucky would not be welcomed into our other woodies area but we did not want to take him to another lake. It took a week or two before Lucky was accepted into the Woody clan but accepted he was. He did not get a girl that year but did the next! What a wonderful Lucky duck!

Hubby holding Lucky Duck moments before releasing...if you look at his right eye, you can still see a little blood in it.

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Imagenap
Jul 25, 2010 8:13 PM CST
Name: Nancy
Buffalo NY
My adult son (holding the duckling) came home with it one day. He found it at the bus station, right in the heart of the city, at least half a mile from the nearest body of water, all alone, just standing on the sidewalk. We are at a total loss as to how it got there.

Of course, my son couldn't just leave it there. We live not far from a small lake which has plenty of ducks and geese. After bringing the little guy home to show us, he took it there and (after a long, serious talk with it about how it's supposed to find itself a Mom) he let it down into the water near some ducks.

The little one swam right over and hovered around one of the ducks. Son said the duck ignored it for a minute, then they swam off together. Momma didn't shoo it away, or try to lose it. Son had to turn away before the tears started to fall. He felt very good about being a hero.

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Imageduckmother
Jul 26, 2010 6:12 PM CST
Name: Kim
Arkansas
A duck is a wonderful adventure!
Lovely story. Thank you for sharing!
Imageduckmother
Jul 31, 2010 8:33 PM CST
Name: Kim
Arkansas
A duck is a wonderful adventure!
In the early spring, last year, I got a call from a neighbor stating that someone had released 4 domestic ducks that were way too young to be on the own. When I got to the lake there were 5 or 6 people standing around these 4 (1/2 grown) ducks wondering what to do. I agreed to take them home until they were older. However, I had no intentions of returning them back to that lake. These are domestics ducks that should not be on a lake with so many predators. I brought home 2 Pekins (one male and one crested female) which we named Angel Boy and Top Knot, a domestic Mallard hen, which we named Pretty Girl and Blue Swedish hen, we named Fancy Feathers. They took to us like...well...ducks to water (pardon the pun Smiling ) They had been with caring humans that just let them go a little too early. Within a few days, I could feel feathers under the fuzz, and in no time they were ready to be released. We found a person that lives on a much smaller lake which is surrounded by houses and they all care for the ducks. So, that is where they are today. We go for a visit (at least) once a week. They still crawl all over us and seem to be as happy to see us as we are them!. They have lots of new duck friends and several other humans that care for them...

They had been with us a couple of weeks...Thumb of 2010-08-01/duckmother/6188c8
At their new home...Thumb of 2010-08-01/duckmother/2065bc
Imagestarlight1153
Aug 15, 2010 11:45 PM CST
Name: starlight1153 Zone 8a/b
AL.
Awwwwwwww. All the stories are so heartwarming. Getting a warm 'feathering' feeling. Big Grin
Imageduckmother
Aug 16, 2010 7:28 PM CST
Name: Kim
Arkansas
A duck is a wonderful adventure!
Thank you! I need tell another story, but when it is this hot, I become a big purple eggplant resting on the couch! Smiling
Imageduckmother
Jan 13, 2011 11:49 AM CST
Name: Kim
Arkansas
A duck is a wonderful adventure!
We got a call from animal rescue stating they had a duck that was in "bad shape" and wondered if I would take him. I asked them to take to the vet and if she said he would live, I would be happy to take him. About 3 hours later, I got a call from the vet saying that he was just injured not broken. So, we brought the scared duck home and saw to his injuries. A friend's beloved dog had just died, so in his honor, we named our duck after him...Mack. After a few weeks we released Mack on our lake and he immediately took up with 4 pekins...1 male and 3 females. The girls were pretty crazy about Mack because he would defend them when another male came around. Unfortunately, Mack has out lived all of the girls. I am hopeful that he will meet a nice Mallard girl and give me a grandduck!

Macky about 1 week ago...
Thumb of 2011-01-13/duckmother/b11df1
Imagenap
Jan 13, 2011 5:22 PM CST
Name: Nancy
Buffalo NY
Maybe you've covered this before. My apologies ifyou have.

How long do ducks live, generally, and how old is Mack?
Imageduckmother
Jan 13, 2011 9:33 PM CST
Name: Kim
Arkansas
A duck is a wonderful adventure!
Mack, I cannot say for certain, but he has been part of our clan for 4 -5 years.

Certain farm (domestic) ducks can live up to 20 years. Wild ducks can live 10+ years. The number lowers depending on the conditions. If domestics are put on a lake in the wild, on a small pond or are not housed off the ground at night, they average around 3 years. Wild ducks that migrate a great distance lower their life expectancy...duck hunters, tainted/spoiled food, airplanes, etc...to around 5-7 years.

Please ask any question at anytime...even if I covered it the day before Smiling
Imagenap
Jan 13, 2011 10:27 PM CST
Name: Nancy
Buffalo NY
Okay, I sure will! Thanks!
Imageduckmother
Mar 19, 2011 12:24 PM CST
Name: Kim
Arkansas
A duck is a wonderful adventure!
About ten years ago, our neighborhood lowered the local lake for maintenance, cleaning, etc. As the lake lowered, the fish became more concentrated but it was difficult to get to the water due to the muck and mud. Being the avid anglers that my husband, Jeff, and I are, we went almost every day! We did not just go to fish but to look for the numerous fishing lures that we had lost on the many sunken trees!
This one particular warm and sunny day, the lake had lowered about forty feet and the muck and mud had started drying. There were lots of anglers and birds that day but especially ducks. We fished and watched the ducks sift through the mud. Boy, the fish were biting! We seemed to reel in one right after the other and had a stringer full of fish. Every few minutes, I heard a jingling that sounded like a shaking fishing lure but could spot the location. Finally, Jeff asked if I kept hearing a sound. We began to search for the noise. We did not see anything in or around the water. Therefore, we slowly started searching up the embankment. The noise got louder! Jeff yelled that he found the source. He found a female mallard duck with a treble hook through her bill and foot. Our theory is that she found a submerged lure as the water receded and took a quick bite, getting the hook stuck in her bill. Since she did not have any hands, she tried to get it out with her foot and in the process, getting a hook stuck. With the lure only being about six inches long, she could not move much at all. She was exhausted from trying to wiggle free. You could almost see a grin on her face as Jeff neared. He gingerly removed the hook from her bill and made certain there was nothing else wrong. He must have taken to long because she stuck her foot out as if to say, “Hey, don’t forget this hook!” After removing both hooks the little duck was so tired, she just collapsed. Jeff assured her that we were not going anywhere. She then leaned her head over and rested it upon Jeff’s hand, as if to say “thank you.” My loving husband carried the mallard to the water and when she saw other ducks, she began to chatter. Once in the water, she began cleaning and preening.
As we continued with our fishing, we would spontaneously laugh about her sticking out her foot. We wondered how long she had been in distress and if anyone had seen her and ignored her. Within a few minutes, a cute little mallard female swam over to us, got out of the water and stood between us until almost dark. We think about her every time we go fishing on that lake.

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