Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Story of Lola the Pigeon-toed Duck

One Saturday, about a month and a half ago, I accompanied my mom to a “poultry swap” and we came home with a mama call duck, Bella, and her three sweet ducklings.


At that time, we had no idea what kind of adventures we were in for and we busily went about building a pen under the willow tree and converting an old dog house into a duck house so they could be safely locked up at night.

A short while later, when I was at my “other” home in Victoria, I talked to my mom on the phone and heard about Lola (although she could very well be a Lolo – we don’t really know yet). We had noticed that one of the ducklings was smaller than the others. Now my mom informed me that the little one, whom she had affectionately named Lola, seemed to be ill with pneumonia. Things were looking grim and so she had brought her into the house for some emergency medicine, i.e. extra food and warmth. By the time I visited the following weekend, Lola was on the road to recovery and completely tame. She had imprinted on my mom and refused to be left alone, peeping plaintively at the top of her little lungs if left in the other room or area of the garden. In order to keep her safe and happy, the pocket of a old work shirt came in handy to tote her around and my mom was glad to have me there to help out as a second surrogate.

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The bathroom sink became a swimming pool, the laundry basket became a playpen and a spot to sleep at night, and our lives were filled with digging for worms, apparently duck candy, and the sweet little peeps that showed her appreciation. Indeed, in no time we learned the difference between her happy cuddly peeps, her “thank you for the food” peeps and her “where are you” peeps. We really couldn’t leave her alone, and not because of the dog or the cat, they seemed to have gotten used to her presence although they were most definitely jealous of the attention she was getting, but because she was always falling down and on some some occasions she got stuck on her back and wasn’t strong enough to right herself. If we weren’t there to help her up she would have peeped herself hoarse and exhausted herself of the little life force she had. We noticed that our stumble-duck was pigeon-toed and was tripping over her own webbed feet!

So she spent time in the garden…

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but was often in the house as well.

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She was content to cuddle up in a bowl while I worked on jewelry…

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and have a little snooze. Notice how she tucked her beak behind her non-existent wing. Nonetheless, she always kept an eye out to make sure we were close at wing-tip.

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She loved her bath time and was starting to prefer being inside the house rather than out…

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when it seemed like she was strong enough to be reintroduced to her real family.

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Mama Duck accepted her right away, which we were worried wouldn’t happen, but her siblings, and the one we call Jethro in particular, seemed to pick on her whenever she got too close. This resulted in a gradual reintroduction which included continuing the bath and bed routine in the house. Here you can see that she is getting her “big girl” feathers, but that she still has a lot of duckling fluff as well.

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Now she has been completely accepted by the others and although she is still a tad smaller, she is almost indistinguishable from them.

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Luckily, little Lola hasn’t completely forgotten us. She is still the tamest and succumbs to a snuggle from time to time… if you can catch her!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I love this story with darling pictures! I read it with a big smile on my face. My favorite picture has Lola sleeping in the sun on a blue hand towel in a bowl. Awwww. How patient you and you're Mom are. This would make a delightful children's story. I bet your pupils would love to hear such a sweet story with a happy ending! I'm so glad you're posting again. I look forward to your updates.