I have hunted ducks successfully but I am not what you would call a duck hunter. When I used to get haircuts I’d pick up the odd Field and Stream in the barbershop and I would read pretty much every article in there while I was waiting. Some of them were about ducks. A lot of them were about ducks. I have a pretty good memory.
We raise ducks here on High Prairie Acres. I say “we” like I have a lot to do with it. My wife raises ducks. She also raises Guinea fowl and chickens (and goats and a horse and dogs… but that is beside the point). She knows a good deal about birds – especially our birds. But, I do pay attention and I do know a thing or two myself.
We have a pond here. It used to be a 24’ above ground pool. But for the past two years we have not “shocked” it, added any chemicals or in fact – swum (is that even a word?) in it. The pump no longer works. But a few weeks ago, I added a little bridge from the deck to the water surface and we herded the ducks down into it.
Now, these ducks had never been in a big body of water. The most water they had ever been in was one of those big metal wash tubs – which they thoroughly enjoyed. So it took some convincing and they were very loud in their protestations. But once they entered the water they took to it like….well – a duck to water.
They were fun to watch paddling around, swimming a bit under the water, preening their feathers. See, ducks have an oil gland that they dip into and use to keep their feathers nice and water resistant or whatever.
So the other day I’m outside doing chores, it’s pretty chilly – about 40 or so, and the ducks are swimming around in their “pond”. One duck though was in distress. Instead of floating above the water – just like a duck decoy – it was submerged between it’s upper back and the top of its neck. At first I thought it was just sliding down in the tub like I do but no - it was having difficulties. To make matters worse – another duck would come by periodically and push the obviously messed up duck’s head under water. Nice duck…
So I go get our really big net. It’s about 30 inches in diameter and on the end of a long aluminum pole. I think it is for netting deep sea fish – no idea where I got it. Anyway – I scoop the duck out of the water. I was expecting it to fuss and make noise. Nope. When I moved it to the deck, it just lay there – shivering.
Who ever heard of a duck shivering? The one day I hunted ducks (there, the truth is out) it was SNOWING and the ducks seemed fine. I called my wife and said I think we have a sick or injured duck. She looked it over and pronounced it, “not sick”.
So I said, “Good let’s eat it”. We have too many ducks anyway but I know better than to get into my wife’s business…. So when she gave me The Look – I just shrugged.
Anyway – long blog short – she took it in to the wood stove, wrapped it in a towel, put it in a box on top of bricks that we keep atop the wood stove as a means of trapping more heat and then she BLOW DRIED it. I took pictures and tried real hard not to make any smart alec comments.
But would you believe that duck recovered and is now waddling around out on the pasture? I don’t think it’s going back in the water though.
Imagine that – a duck that doesn’t do well in cool water…
And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself. – John 18:18
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