2004-03-09

On the Farm

On the farm there are cows, chickens, a cat, and a dog. There is a pond, or a fish tank. There are no ducks. I saw a post in the local newsgroups about young female ducks for $15. I decided that my mom and dad need some ducks to go on that farm.

The post described these ducks as young runner ducks. They didn’t require a pond. They only needed a fresh supply of drinking water. Further correspondence revealed that the ducks were social animals and that I should consider getting at least three so the ducks wouldn’t be lonely. I arranged for four ducks, all female, and all younger so we won’t have to worry about eggs for a while.

When my mom first brought chickens home the chicks were small, about the size of a hamster. All ten would easily fit in a small moving box. My duck provider said these ducks were younger, she said they would fit in a cat carrier. Naturally, I thought I knew what a duck looked like, Hailey’s bathroom has rubber duckies all over the place. All ducks are small, yellow and squeak if you squeeze them.

The plan: pick up the ducks after work, go by the house and get Brianna and Hailey, drive out to the farm and drop off the ducks.

Reality: the ducks are bigger than I expected. They are the size of our cat with a much longer neck. Two ducks will just fit into a banker box. Rubber bands must be used to make sure the ducks don’t push off the lid. Both banker boxes fit on the back seat of my car safely snuggled between the side panel and the car seat.

The ducks look like the ducks in the illustrations of the children’s book The Story About Ping except they are not yellow. There are two dark green ducks, and two mostly white ducks. They have long necks, large wings, and webbed feet. I do not think these ducks can fly. The ducks are quite vocal when they are unhappy. The ducks were very unhappy to be stuck in a dark banker box in the back of the car. Ducks smell badly. Imagine the smell of the penguin cage at the zoo. Now imagine that my car has just become the penguin cage. I rolled down all the windows, called Brianna and told her she would have to meet me. I’m going straight to the farm.

It is now 4:50 pm, I am at 183 and Mopac. I need to go south, way south.I have smelly, loud ducks, a stick shift, open windows, and traffic. Mopac isn’t moving. From the back of my car I hear quack-quack-quack, NPR and and the AC on max seems to calm them down a little. After an hour of bumper to bumper, stop and go traffic, and quack-quack-quack, I am in South Austin and can finally accelerate out of 2nd gear. I am confident that any minute the ducks will break free from their containers and I will have to fend for my life at 60 MPH on highway 290. I reach back and put my laptop across the two lids just in-case.

At the farm we arrange to use one of the chicken coops as a new duck home. I spread some hay in the corner for a roost, we put some food and water down and then let the ducks out of the boxes. They are not hurt but they are not happy either. They walk together in a mob. They look like penguins or bowling pins or a mixture of both.

After about five minutes of quack-quack-quack the alpha rooster, who looks like “little Jerry Seinfeld” comes strutting from the back of the yard to the front of this duck coop to investigate. He struts back and forth with frequent cock-a-doodle-doos. The ducks do not seem impressed.

In theory, Sassy is a dog. She barks and she chews on bones. In reality she is about the size of a 5lb bag of sugar or a medium sized city sewer rat. She thinks that she rules the yard. She came running over to see the ducks as soon as she heard the quacking. She would look through the fence from the front, then run around to look through the fence from the back. I can’t wait to see how she acts when the ducks are turned loose to roam the yard.As night fall approached and “little Jerry Seinfeld” deemed the situation was safe, the other chickens began to come near the ducks.Eventually as it got darker the chickens went to their coop which is on the back side of the duck coop and settled in for the night.

The ducks found their water and their food and seemed happy. Once again it was quite in the country

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