Monday, May 28, 2007

Injured Duckling

Wow... what an day!

It all started out pretty well. I got up and did chores out at the barn as usual. While sitting in the chicken coup watching the birds, which I like to do daily to make sure everyone is eating and drinking and noone is getting picked on... plus it is really relaxing, I still had the door open and in buzzed a hummingbird! I wasn't expecting to see a hummer so when I heard the loud buzzing noise from outside I was a little conserned about what kind of fly it was. :) But, it turned out to be a beautiful hummingbird. It flew in just inside the door, hovered for a few seconds and then flew off just as quick. It was an pleasent addition to my morning.

After breakfest, I started a new project of trying to outfit one of Rick's (the previous owner) hoop style chicken tractors so I could put some of the birds outside for a while during the day. I scavanged some chicken wire out of the dump pile and attached it around three sides of the hoop house, then I covered the top with an old tarp to keep the sun out and the birds in. Neil took the door off of the second hoop house that was broken a bit too much for a quick fix and attached it to this house. Everything seemed secure so I went and got our 7 ducklings and a waterer and set them up in the outside house. At first the little ducks didn't know what to think of their new digs. A few nibbled on some grass but mainly they piled up and settled in for a nap. They seemed quiet so I left them to go 10-15 feet away to clean up the dry lot area behind the barn that the cows and donkeys use. It must have been 30 minutes or so when I looked up and saw a little duckling walking toward me!

I rushed over to scoop up the little duck but my dog Tate got there first! 70lbs of enthusiastic dog landed on the poor little duck! I was there seconds later or sooner. Scooped up the duck which was writhing in pain and looking very aginal. I was sure something must have gotten broken. I held the little duck to me for a long time but it was limp. His head would just hang down and I couldn't get much response from it at all. I was so sad. I felt responsible that it was able to find a way out of the house in the first place, then that I didn't control Tate prior to moving toward the duck. I was sitting down with the duck against my chest when I noticed that it was bleeding from it's right nostril. Not a good sign... most likely a head trauma. After about 45 mintues there wasn't much improvment and I couldn't hold the little thing all afternoon so I took it into the house and set up a cardboard box with a towel in it and settled the limp creature in it.

I hated to leave it but I had other things I really needed to get done. I got my squashes replanted again after I lost them all to the freak frost at the beginning of the month. Set out some more pepper seedlings I had started. I moved the reamaining ducks back into the brooder with the turkeys. Finally, when I went back into the house to check to see if the duck was still alive I was pleased to see that it was sitting up a little more sternal. I offered it some water with some electrolytes in it and it made an effort to swallow some. Good signs!

This evening it was still with us, taking sips of water for me. I can only hope for the best overnight as it could still easily die from shock or internal damage overnight.

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