Although he lived on a farm, had plenty of room to roam, and was fed and cared for by humans, our friend duck’s tale starts off quite b(l)eak; Duck and his two sisters were joined at the feathers, until one evening, a mystery predator entered their sleeping quarters and killed both girls. Poor duck witnessed the tragedy.
Fearing for his safety, his people decided it would be best to secure duck in a cage in the garage at night. So during the day duck would wander solo, not venturing far from the safety of his human’s dwelling; the people would look out and see duck alone, on the porch. The people felt bad for duck, and made the decision to find him a home with other ducks, preferably somewhere with a pond also. I learned of the situation simply by walking into the room where the conversation was taking place. The duck’s options were not good: he was going to have to fend for himself in the wild if left by a pond with other, (strange) ducks, or take his chances at the farmer’s market the following Sunday – hopefully someone would decide he would make a good pet and he wouldn’t end up in the pot! Not one to miss an opportunity to help a being in need, I offered to contact my brother – who lives on a farm, with a pond and other ducks and geese.
My brother works away from home two weeks at a time, and isn’t always good at replying to messages. Sometimes he replies, sometimes, he does not – I’m not sure the working away is any excuse, but, we’ll give him that. Imagine my surprise when, five minutes after sending my message, I received the following response from him: ‘Ya, I can take a duck. My place to a duck is like Disneyland to a five-year old child!’ He would definitely be a lucky duck!
It just so happened, I was heading to the town near to my brother’s farm, the following weekend to see my Aunt who was visiting from Kelowna. My brother would also be home during this visit. It seemed we had all our ducks in a row!
When my husband asked what the plan was for departure day, he didn’t even blink when I told him we would head out earlier than we normally would because we were picking up a duck along the way. He knows me well.
The duck’s owner consulted with her vet who advised her how to make a travel carrier for the duck. We arranged our pick-up location and packed my car, leaving space for our special passenger. The weather on the day of our trip was appropriate – favoured only by a duck.
We met at the carpool, where the lady apologized for the fact that duck had done his business in the box and we would be subjected to the smell for the duration of our journey. She suggested that if my car needed detailing upon our return, she would be happy to ‘foot the bill’. We loaded the duck onboard, covered the box with a light blanket (as you do with birds) and took flight. We were heading South – to the pond. The odor was not offensive, and it was a relatively quiet ride considering the length of the journey.
We weren’t sure what Henry and Reese would think of their new travel companion and after a few initial sniffs no one’s feathers seemed to be ruffled. Occasionally, there would be a chorus from ‘Old MacDonald had a farm’ with a duck quack here, followed by a Reese bark there, here Henry would squeal (at a higher decibel than usual it seemed), and John would bark at me! E-I-E-I-O!
The rain had cleared by the time we reached the farm and my brother greeted us in the driveway. As soon as we opened the back of the car, Henry assisted with duck’s exit by head-butting the box, tipping it forward. Thankfully, the wide base of the hand-made carrier kept it from falling over. Unfortunately, the base and size of the box also made it a bit awkward and as my brother lifted the box out of the car it slipped from his grasp. “FOR DUCK’S SAKE IAN”, I yelled, “BE CAREFUL”. My brother had managed to tuck his knee under the box as it was slipping. No harm done and our new winged friend didn’t seem to be bothered – ‘water off a duck’s back’ (so to speak).
‘How should we do this?’ My brother asked. ‘Should we just ‘wing it?’
Never having dealt with ducks before, I reached out to my friend Jennifer, who provides ‘animal interaction consultations’. Her advice for the ‘intro-duck-tion’was to allow the duck to remain in the comfort of his box with food and water, while becoming familiar with the scents and sounds of his new environment. So, my brother slowly lifted the top of the box to allow me to place some food and water in with him. As soon as the lid was high enough, duck decided he’d been ‘cooped up’ long enough and wanted to stretch his wings. He headed straight for the pond!
Lord love a duck – sometimes things just don’t go as planned.
Ian: What will we call him?
Ian: As in duck stew?
Me: Ya. Cuz he’s not!