Sometime Halloween night, our Muscovy duck managed to hatch out a clutch of 13 eggs (coincidence?). Not the best time of year, but she is a new mom, so I guess she has to learn somehow. I knew she was sitting on eggs but couldn't find the nest for about 3 weeks. Since they hatch in 28 days, I couldn't really take the eggs away from her at that point, it just wouldn't be right.
So on Saturday, 11/1, there was momma duck with her little trail of ducklings behind her in the cool sunshine. We called the kids out to come see, and they ooohed and aahhhhed over the cute little ducklings that momma kept far away from the humans.
Then my son happened to look down by his feet, and there was a little duckling, upside down, eyes closed, head lolling to the side, and cold. Nope, it wasn't dead, but almost. He nestled it in his hands, then handed it to me, where I then pronounced that it may not make it. The kids insisted on trying to save it, and while I tried to explain about survival of the fittest, and that the reason why they lay so many eggs is because some will NOT make it. I busily readied myself for the days painting, and the kids brought the duckling in the house and snuggled it all morning long until it perked up. Then they set it up in a cat crate, and its name became "Champ".
Champ is now a week and a half old, and has endeared himself to the family. The kids snuggle him before and after school, and I have been known to take pity on the poor thing and let him climb up my shoulder and nibble my hair, which seems to be a favorite pasttime of his (or hers?)
(self portrait, not good at all, I know, and also quite early in the morning).
If we can just keep Champ from getting chomped by the dogs until he is big enough to go outside, we'll be doing well. He's far behind his siblings in development, and I don't think he would make it if we tried putting back out with them. I tried last weekend, but he sort of stumbled around, lurching rather than waddling. Since the kids had named him and grown attached, I decided he would need to be raised in the house if he would have any chance. He is also smaller than them as well, so I think he was a bit premature, or a runt. Maybe he was the last egg laid, so didn't get as much incubation time. If he becomes nothing more than a lame duck (har, har, har) he can live in the old rabbit pen that was abandoned by Dengi, when he went in search of greener pastures (or more likely, girly bunnies). The pen is protected from legged and winged predators. He'll need a companion I'm sure, I haven't even begun to think about who I would relegate to companion to a lame duck, but that is all a ways in the future.
Champ apparently like snuggling in sleeves, also. He stayed in there for well over a half hour before my son decided it was his turn to hold the duck.