Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Crusty The Duck

Once upon a time, I had some wonderful feathered friends. Most of them simply found me from up or downstream where someone purchased an Easter gift or thought ducks and geese would look pastoral on the river, but once released never gave them another thought. My friends called my place "Els' Home For Wayward Waterfowl." Last I heard, everyone was still healthy and showing up twice daily for a nice trough of chicken scratch and some bread.

One of the ducks was the only egg hatched in my homemade incubator, and thus immediately and forever thereafter imprinted on me as "mama." Crusty the Duck, so named because of a bit of her shell that stuck to her head on the way out, followed me everywhere the first part of her life, spending her first month living in my kitchen. I was accused of feeding her better than the humans of the household, with fresh greens, boiled (and cooled) potatoes, carrots, peas, corn, eggs (yes, it was a bit cannibalistic, but she loved those hard boiled eggs!), and bread. Eventually, she made friends with my other duck and goose friends, who lived free on the river that flowed past my house, and stopped following me, though she usually came when called. There were also coyotes and fox in the area, and one morning Crusty was no more. I survived the loss by telling myself the coyote mamas needed to feed their families, too, but I never could bring myself to have another duck as a pet. Geese are another matter. They are simply phenomenal creatures..intelligent, funny, intense...and the softest creatures this side of a chinchilla. Turns out you can diaper ducks and geese, which - in my experience, is a GREAT idea.

It is my hope that I'll have a piece of property of my very own again someday, where I can happily have some goats and geese and of course, a smattering of feline and canine friends, too.

Next time a duck or goose becomes my friend, though, I think I'll follow the lead of other waterfowl lovers, and diaper them so they can live with me. Wonderful friends that I highly recommend as good companions.

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