Friday, 8 June 2012

A Duck In The Dark

At the moment all animal activity is being intently observed by a somewhat excitable eight year old with a dog fixation. Supervising him is just fine as we only have to keep him amused in the early evening , as during they day he and his parents are off roaming the rather wet hills and valleys of North Wales.
Last evening we collected the eggs, I taught Leo how to blow a large goose egg at the kitchen table and  we herded the geese and turkeys back into their houses for the night, a procedure that was not a easy as it sounds as the geese and turkeys are all larger than he is.
When it came to the ducks only seven were seen standing nervously in the dusk light. I have eight ducks. 5 pure bred Indian Runners, a magpie female, 2 half breed Indian Runners and a bog standard drake called Halleh, who, long term readers will remember was a lone ducking that was brought up by Blanche, an over broody hybrid hen, who had a desperate need for babies.
I have found through bitter experience that a ratio of 7 females to one male is more desirable given the fact that drakes in season will shag the arse off every female in sight and will do so without finesse or any delicacy whatsoever..
The ratio of 1 to 7, I have found, will give the females some respite in spring and early summer.
The Ducks facing off a cat in the grass next to last year's Bosoms


The ducks are a constant on the field. The Indian Runners  criss- cross their way through the grass all day long, screaming like teenage girls at a Take That concert as they do so, and all look as though they do bugger all except show off this hysterical part of their somewhat neurotic personalities.
The truth is somewhat different.
The female ducks remain the most prolific eggs layers on the field given their age, and provide an invaluable contribution to the animal care piggy bank by doing so.


Anyhow, like I said, last night at bedtime only seven ducks were standing by their house waiting to be locked away for the night. After a quick head count, I worked out that it was one of the Indian Runner females that was missing, an unfortunate thing, as Runner Ducks go even more hysterical ( if that was at all possible) when they are alone and separated from the flock.
Leo and I looked everywhere. In the pond, in the stream, in the long grass......she was nowhere to be seen and with a heavy heart we locked up the other animals and headed back to the cottage.
As we came back I explained to Leo that she was either sat on some eggs somewhere under a hawthorn bush or she had been snatched by a fox.
He thought about this for a moment, the concentration almost steaming up his glasses


"What you need to do", he said at last, " is to go out when it is very dark and light a candle for her so she will see  it and she will find her way home!"
I said I would see... and we went off to walk the dogs down the lane...


Around 11.30pm , as I was tidying up after our guests had gone, I remembered Leo's advice and took myself out on the field.
I didn't have a candle but a small wind up torch which I shone around the bushes and trees for one last look before bed.
Suddenly, from out of a mass of nettles came the duck, quacking loudly as she galloped forward across the field like an extra from a disaster movie.
I caught her easily and placed her back safely with her chattering flock who were sat quietly in the duck house.


I had to smile to myself and the phrase
"Out of the mouth of babes"
came to mind

35 comments:

  1. Well done that boy!

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  2. I taught Leo how to blow a large goose egg

    Is there a parable in there somewhere? or maybe that's something to do with grandmothers :-D

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  3. What a brilliant piece of advice!

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  4. We should take kid's advice more often.

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  5. nice one - i feared the worse for the silly old duck.... i also find that kids of that age are excellent egg hunters - they can find all those "laying away" stashes that keep the broodies out all night!!

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  6. Go, Leo! That kid'll go far, I reckon!

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  7. Nice post. It's clear that you have a lot of affection for Leo. Perhaps you and Chris should acquire a child of your own. He could tend the animals when you are old and infirm - which won't be too long now. I mean, you are fifty!

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  8. Nice to have a happy ending. Smart boy that.

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  9. What an amazing story. Leo may be way smarter than we know.

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  10. Leo the sage. Love it!
    Jane x

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  11. You tell the nicest stories, John.

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  12. I do love a happy ending. Ahh!

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  13. Beautiful tale John

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  14. not half a beautiful as your writing sarah

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  15. Another phrase comes to mind - a wise head on young shoulders...

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  16. Love it! Worthy of a letter to Farmers' Weekly magazine I would have thought.

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  17. That boy sure understands animals. Bet he grows up to have Bosoms of his own someday.

    And thanks for the explanation of the ducks' contributions. I often wondered why the hell you had those hysterical pinheads anyway--chalked it up to your soft heart. You see what a reputation you have constructed yourself across the 'net?

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  18. How wonderful! Leo may have just saved the life of that duck for surely she would have been fox feed, sitting out by herself all night!

    I remember your stories about Leo's past visits and look forward to hearing more about this year's exploits...

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  19. Awww! Leo will be glad to know that his plan worked.

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  20. Smart! Bet you wish you had thought of it!

    ;-)

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  21. I just bet Leo worried his little cotton socks off all night long, about that lone duck.
    He thought long and hard about the solution, probably putting himself in that same dilema, and thinking if only I had a light to show me the way home.....
    Well done Leo !
    ~Jo

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  22. I love it! Hurray for little boys with solutions for rescuing desperate ducks!

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  23. Leo is a little problem solver. Great thinking through to an end.

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  24. John, may I suggest that whilst Leo is with you, you show him how to fry and hard boil an egg. He will be eternally grateful. Maybe you could keep Omelettes till the next visit.

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  25. Good for Leo. Sounds a great little chap to have around. He'll always remember his little holiday with you.

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  26. Pretty smart boy. I don't think I would have thought to do that.
    Glad your duck came home safely!

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  27. Truly a lucky duck!

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  28. It's all very well kids being smart. They are. By definition. Because they see the world before their glasses start steaming up.

    The hero here is you, John. In that you actually did as advised.

    I had no idea that a happy ending could make me feel so chuffed. As it will Leo.

    U

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  29. Another dinner missed by too slow Mr Fox

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  30. I was thinking along the lines of Yorkshire Pudding, but with Leo taking over Bosoms when the time comes.

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