It’s hard to believe that they’re now so big or that we thought, only a couple of weeks ago, that we were going to lose one of them – it (we can’t sex them yet) accidentally got into the chicken coop and was mercilessly attacked to the point where their neck was ripped open and I honestly thought it wouldn’t last the night.
We brought it into the dining room in a cat carrier and Nin helped me clean it up whilst I told her to not hold out much hope. We washed it’s gaping neck with salt water and popped on some antiseptic. I then wrapped a bit of bandage around its neck. Then, it a fit of worry to ‘do the right thing’ I instead took it over the road to see if he would kill it (to put it out of its misery) because I worried that it was in so much pain and it wasn’t fair to leave it like that 😦
He wasn’t in and a good job that was too as it turns out because the duckling was alive and kicking the next day, although we found out that the bandage was a bad idea as it dried to the duckling’s neck and despite trying to soak it to loosen it, I had to tug and it must’ve really hurt the poor thing. We decided against re-bandaging and instead just cleaned the wound and applied antiseptic for a few days.
After a couple of days of this the duckling decided to channel goose and would pretty much hiss at me whenever I opened the cat carrier door (which I took as a good sign – birds that fight back have a drive to live). However, aside from its raising itself to threaten me, poor duckling was looking really rather lonely and whenever the window was open in the dining room would peep-peep-peep dejectedly when it heard the chickens and other ducklings. I felt so desperately sorry for it and wondered whether to bring in another of the ducklings as company for it (as I was worried that as it had been a few days, mother hen would attack it rather than welcome it back) after canvassing some opinions on a rather excellent forum I’m a member of.
In the end I plumped for popping it outside in the dog crate with another duckling for the day and seeing how it got on – but the chosen 2nd duckling was clearly distraught at being taken from its mother and she kicked up such a fuss and then all the ducklings were peeping away so I went for a gamble. Nin fetched 3rd duckling and then mother hen, whilst I watched like a hawk, worried that poor duckling would be in for another beating.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Mother hen didn’t bat an eyelid and the sheer joy on the little duckling’s face was palpable. We watched carefully for a little while, but all was well and the duckling was returned to the fold.
To think that if our neighbour across the road had been in we may well not have had it with us now 😦 Now to look at the photos above it would be hard to tell which one of the ducklings had been so badly mauled by the chickens and they’re growing so well. It turns out that ducklings are really much hardier than I ever thought!
We picked up a dog kennel from Freecycle that J and his father have adapted for their use and J finished their run proper at the weekend. Now they’re getting bigger we’re on the look out for a paddling pool for them to play in, as they’ll soon outgrow their washing up basins!