...sometimes even a single feather is enough to fly. (Robert Maclean)


overdue duckling update

I had intended to post regular installments with updates of the ducklings...
But with summer in it's full swing and life overflowing even more than usual,
I've definitely been slacking in my duties as a duckumentarian...

So here goes, in chronological order, duckling development, thus far (to 6 weeks):
They grow up SO FAST!

Their fluff started to turn into feathers:

All along they have been faithful followers...
the three messy stooges, bringing up the rear of our little poultry train. 

They get caught up in doing ducky things,
but never ever want to be left behind.

The other hens are very tolerant of them but once in awhile 
I catch a look of complete bewilderment...  
I imagine in this photo, Brahmie is thinking something along the lines of
"What the duck is going on around here, anyway?"

And sometimes I see their chicken mamma giving them a good talking to:
Listen up, you crazy kids!  There are rules around here! 

  Luckily for the ducks, our property is very wet... 
We dug out a small pond for them and they absolutely adore it!
 Commie has been such a good mamma and never strays far from them...  

At first she kept a very close eye on them while they were swimming, 
but now she has started to go off and forage on her own more 
and seems to trust that the ducks are okay in the water.  

Our friend Betty said her family did a similar thing with chickens raising ducks about 60 years ago, 
but the chicken mother panicked when the ducks went into the water
 and she would squawk and squawk for them to get out.  
Somehow our girl Commie seems to accept that while they're "her" babies, 
she knows that they're different, and she's okay with that...
Jersey, on the other hand, gave up on motherhood after a few weeks into the task.
We're not exactly sure what happened... maybe Commie got possessive and bullied her out of her role, but I'm thinking it's more likely that she just lost interest after realizing that the babies were ducks and not chicks... always splashing about in the water,
being terribly uncivilized and unchicken-like.

Now Jerz is back to hanging out with her best friend Lorpie,
 taking afternoon siestas in the sun and the dirt, and doing whatever she pleases,
whenever she pleases. 

She knows now that motherhood is not for the weak of heart,
and even though her parental rights have been terminated,
Commie allows her supervised visitation with the ducklings on occasion.

And that's that.
Other than that, things have been just ducky:

You've heard of copy-catting, but here's copy-ducking...
Duckie see, duckie do... 
Everything they do, they do together.

They wait for their turn at the feeder after the hens have finished...
One of them always seems to lie down to eat since there's always food all over the deck...
(In a duck's world, the five-second-rule is perpetual...)
They eat so much every day...

They're practically as big as their mother, but they still follow her.

She's been trying to give them lessons about personal space, since they're real space invaders.  

She said, "Imagine you each have your own little pond,
at least as wide as you can stretch your wings... 
That's how much space you need to keep between yourself and others to be polite, most of the time..."
The duckies stare at her blankly, and sometimes, even though she loves them very much,
she makes a run for it when she can, especially if she thinks they'll be distracted long enough so that she can get a little peace and quiet!

Look at those beautiful wings!
They seem to be mostly feathered out now...
It's been crazy fast development, all around...

At about 4 weeks old, it was so exciting to hear the ducklings start to make some new vocalizations beyond their baby 'peeep!peeep!peeep!' sounds.  

They've been trying to make honks and quacks
but theirs sound more like 'bonk' and 'back.'

They're going on pure instinct, because their only role models are ones who cluck and squawk...  
 They're probably a little confused.

I might just have to call my friend Sarah, who is a speech therapist,
 and ask her to come work with our misguided little ducklings 
... poor things don't know a bonk from a honk or a back from a quack!

We can't confidently tell them apart, but some characteristics are starting to emerge that are helpful...  One of the ducks has a bigger patch of white on it's neck.  And one of them struts around a lot and with a more shrill voice, makes a whole bunch of noise, all the time...  
 When we listen carefully, the other two are much more quiet.  
Just a hunch that the noisy strutty one could be a boy...

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