A couple of weeks ago our coop suffered losses. A raccoon got in and killed my sebright rooster, one of the silver sebright hens, a silkie rooster and a silkie hen. He managed to take the birds who could least defend themselves, who also happened to be the ones I’d worked so hard to add to my flock.
But the death that affected me the most was Howard.
When I brought two ducklings home from Tractor Supply I had no idea if they were male or female or even what kind of duck they were. I also had no idea how quickly ducks grew, or how messy they could get.
I couldn’t get them out of my house fast enough. But as much as I hated them when they were inside, I grew to love them when they lived outside.
Howard, especially, grew on me. After months of thinking she was a male duck, I figured out that she wasn’t. I kept calling her Howard because it suited her. She was different.
She couldn’t wait to get into the water pan, so more often than not I’d be filling the pan with her in it trying to catch some of the water with her beak. She always had a lot to say about everything and would let the flock know I was coming, even before the roosters did. And like all the other birds, she loved mealworms. The only way I had physical contact with her was by feeding her mealworms from my hand. Then she’d give me ‘Howard kisses’, which was her nibbling on the back of my leg or shoe, looking for more.
Losing her was hard.
We had two roosters that had been free ranging and lately began to follow me with the intention of flogging me. Grumpy would back off if I pushed the broom or stick in his direction. He was alpha and I don’t think he intended to hurt me per se, but he liked to test me. He did go after my husband and our friend though, so he was a definite threat. George was the bigger problem for me. He would act submissive when he could tell I was watching him, but when he thought I wasn’t paying attention he’d try to come after me. And pushing a broom toward him didn’t stop him, he would try to get past the broom to get to me. He didn’t want to be last in the food chain and I was in his way.
They had to go.
So go they did. I had a family emergency this weekend, but my husband took the two roosters to a man and traded them for a duck and $10.
That duck is Sam. Also a female. She’s learning her place in the coop but so far the flock seems to have accepted her.
Judging by the feathers sticking out of her nose, she’s going to be a character too. She’s only been here a couple of days and I met her for the first time last night, but she seems easy going and, while I can’t replace Howard, I’m willing to give Sam a chance.
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