Village Life

Make Way for Ducklings!

A few weeks ago some tiny bundles of yellow fluff were introduced into our household. They lived in a box under the kitchen stove when they were not being scooped up for cuddling. The cutest little yellow and black ducklings, complete with little duck feet and bills. The quiet quacking sounds coming from the kitchen were a constant source of pleasure.

Had I written this post when our ducklings originally arrived, it would have been nothing but awws and oohs. However, the realities of life have been strongly present among my ducklings. Of the original seven, only four are still with us. And I fear that that four will soon become three.

The first two hatchlings did not survive the first few days. Then there were five and all seemed well. The little quintet was moved out to the porch where they nervously explored their new environment and tried to stay out of the way of the gawky adolescent chickens. Little thugs, I swear. And then one day the smallest duckling was just . . . gone. Grandma Neli was asked for his whereabouts and she just shrugged her shoulders with the shrug of an experienced, toughened farmer. Just didn’t make it. End of story. Tamta and I consoled each other. The little duckling had been our favorite.

And then to the dwindling numbers of our duckling family a new tragedy arrived. One of the ducklings has become lame. Accident or injury, I don’t know, but now this little guy is attempting to make his way around the yard on a single leg with a great deal of lurching and flapping as his nest mates unconcernedly waddle ahead. Though I might hope that this little guy could make it, game leg and all, I think the reality is that he will eventually fall prey to another animal or perhaps even a quick, potentially merciful end via Grandma Neli.

This is when my American anthropomorphologyizing gets me in trouble.

It’s been raining all morning. Very duck appropriate weather. From my window I can see the little foursome wandering the yard, drinking rainwater from puddles and throwing back their heads in that peculiar ducky way. The little fourth guy is hanging in there. Looks like he is getting better at getting around on just the one leg.

Soooo ducklings. Yeah. I will just have to cherish my remaining ducklings and cheer the fact that even some of them will make it to maturity. And maybe my fourth duckling’s leg will heal. It’s possible, right? I can’t help but hope.

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