The loss of a Michael Quackson
April brought us, not showers, but a series of snow storms. Sunday brought about two inches throughout the morning followed by about six inches and whiteout conditions throughout the day Monday. This is when I think she got separated from the rest of the flock.
When I came home from work Monday evening, the snow had stopped, and the ducks were hanging out by their coop. I noticed immediately that someone was missing and set out about the yard and stream looking for her. After about 30 minutes Jay took over while I started dinner, then after dinner I went out again, though at this point is was getting dark.
I cooped the ducks and settled in for the night hoping that she may wander back and spend the night in front of the coop door as had happened previously with a duck that refused to leave the stream one evening. The morning came with no sign that she had made her way back. I headed off to work thinking that I would need to cull a male soon to keep the ladies from getting to beat up.
When we pulled up the driveway I noticed the first one, though from the passenger seat I mis-identified it as a hawk. Once I saw the second one, my mistake was obvious. Not a hawk, but a turkey vulture, several of them flying about the wood. I set off knowing that they had found what I had been looking for a day earlier.
She wasn’t far, just straight back from the ducks favorite watering hole, though the low lying wood covered in skunk cabbage blossoms. About 20 yards in, the steam is parted by an old stone wall. It was there where the two divergent bodies come back together as one where I found her carcass. She lay in the shallow water, some feathers scattered on the other side of the stream and only feet away from Jay’s footprints in the snow and mud along the embankment. Some wild ducks swam back and forth up stream voicing their disapproval of my presence.
I’m convinced that she wasn’t there when Jay went looking for her. Even with the snow on the ground I don’t think she’d be hard to spot, especially being in the water. She likely swam a little further down stream when we went looking for her as she was always a little wary of everyone. My guess is that something found her overnight, an opossum or raccoon seems like the most likely suspect.
She was the Quackson responsible for the 100g eggs, and as much as her loss saddens me, I do have 2 of her eggs in the incubator and another 2 that should still be viable once the incubator is free again. She was a pretty duck, a lighter shade than the others which made her easy to ID from far away. Here’s hoping for an easy hatch of some female offspring.
One of the males will need to go to the slaughter house soon. The flock was male heavy before, but now one really needs to go. I called up Antonelli’s Poultry in Providence at the recommendation of the folks at Baffoni’s. They’ll process ducks for $8 each.