Three days ago I bought three ducklings. Yeah, I know: I’m a pushover for baby animals.
I haven’t had a duckling since I was a teenager (a long, long time ago!), and when I had that one, I wasn’t able to observe it the way I’ve been able to watch these three because it was raised outside next to a man-made lake, so when it went swimming and disappeared beneath the surface of the water, what it did down there remained a mystery to me.
I’m raising these three ducklings in the house for the first several weeks, to help them imprint on me and become very tame, and so I can observe them more closely.
I filled my bathtub with water yesterday morning and put a cedar log across one end of it. I turn the ducklings loose in there three times a day for “play time” while watching them closely.
What a hoot they are to watch!
In the clear water, I can see what they do when they duck under and speed around the bottom like furry little torpedoes. Then they pop up, stand on their duck feet and flap their almost non-existent little front limbs (not yet wings!–no feathers yet–just stubby little fuzzy arms!)
Take a look…
My Baby Ducks Swimming in Blue Pan (their first-ever swimming experience) (takes 2 min to load)
The next three progressively shorter, take less time to load (or whatever you call it)
They will be making personal appearances in their movable eight inch deep 4′ kiddie pool this week in two different Tacoma-area locations–the first in Spanaway (in the middle of Spanaway Lake on Enchanted Island) at the birthday celebration of a 94-year old bird watcher I’ve known since I was a toddler, Mary Jane Cooper; the second in Steilacoom, where they’ll be swimming and diving for an elderly lady who’s in her 80’s. Both love animals, and neither knows (yet) what’s in store for them.
I suppose I could make outings like these a regular routine by taking them to assisted living communities so people who grew up on farms (and those who didn’t!) can enjoy these little ducklings while they’re young’uns.
If they tame completely, I suppose they could continue to visit people in the Tacoma area, if I wanted to advertise their availability.
But doing so would take me away from looking for writing work here at home, so I’d have to charge to do it, I suppose. Drat!
I can’t shoot myself in the foot financially by taking them on the road…so I guess I’d better confine my vision to ladies I already know who I know will enjoy them. I can do that once a week for a while (on weekends) as long as the ducklings want to cooperate.
I won’t abuse them or misuse them. Right now they don’t care where they get to go swimming, as long as they get to go swimming!
By the second night they were so imprinted on me that they cried piteously when I turned off the light in their room and left, so I had to go back in and leave the shirt I was wearing under them so they’d settle down and think I was still with them.
Every time I turn on water, they stand up and chirp excitedly, figuring I’m going to be taking them swimming, or giving them fresh water. (The very small container–barely big enough for one small duck foot and one quarter of its body–that I put in with them as a water basin gets drunk or polluted fast because they try to sit in it, too. They LOVE water!)
I have to keep the shavings dry because ducklings can get respiratory illnesses if left in waterlogged shavings, so I’m always swapping out wet shavings near their water container…
They’re almost a full-time job, but they’re so much fun, I hardly notice. The cats, however, and the chickens and goats have noticed that I’m devoting a lot of time to the newcomers, and they’ve protested each in their own way.
So to keep the peace, I’m doing my best to spend some quality time with all of them–but with infants in the house, you know that isn’t easy! Babies need more time than older “babies” do!
I will hold Hunter or Patches (my cats) while the ducklings swim in the tub. (I sit in a chair right next to the tub to keep a close eye on them and get them out when they pop onto the log and start drying themselves off. Their room is heated to 78 degrees, so they go right back in there as soon as they finish swimming…)
They are delightful. I’m having a lot of fun with them…
SnuggleTime #6: I talk with my little newcomers about “duck lips” in this “bedtime story”… This one takes about five minutes to load, but it’s worth the wait, I think. Hope you agree!