Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Menagerie -- Zek & Gillian

There are always things happening here on the homestead in between the making of a daily practice. My days are so full and inevitably that daily gnome holds things together when they start slipping and sliding around as they so often do. I thought I might share a little bit about slips and slides and adventures starting with the story of our ducks: Zek and Gillian.

**I should warn you here that some of the photos show the ducklings with extensive wounds which may be upsetting so please keep this in mind as you read this post. Despite the injuries this is a small story of hope and healing.**

What does the day look like with all these animals? 
After the dogs and cats have finished their important morning task of licking and greeting everyone in the house, we head out to the barn where the sheep, goats and horse are let out into the fields. Then on to the chickens who quickly flock into the yard and start their roaming. And last but not least are our ducks: Zek & Gillian. The two of them waddle out, heads together, holding counsel as they head for the apple tree where, until recently, there was still a substantial load of apples on the ground.
There's something extra special about those two and it has a lot to do with their awfully rough start on this planet.

When they were a couple days old, we came out to the barn to discover that their father, our drake, had attacked them, leaving them close to death, their backs de-feathered and raw. We cried as we carefully gathered them up and took them inside.
Once we had them cleaned up we discovered that Zek had lost an entire wing and neither one of them could walk or stay upright in the sink.
I prepared the children for the grim reality that they may not live but I promised them that we would try.
And we did.

We washed them with anti-bacterial soap and then carefully covered them with triple antibiotic cream.
 We made little raincoats for them out of plastic bags and we wore those tiny ducklings in our shirts to keep them warm. The wounds which encompassed most of their backs, were washed several times a day before we reapplied the antibiotic cream and put them into fresh little raincoats.
And then it happened! We saw hope in the form of tiny, fluffy feathers budding out all over their backs.

So, we set to making cotton t-shirts for them.

And then, in what seemed like no time, they were covered in bigger feathers and running around like any other ducklings would. Even Zek, with her one wing, seemed to be as balanced as any other duck around.
We did have to say goodbye to the other ducks since Zek and Gillian could not escape (and possibly not survive) the chronic (sometimes violent) pestering they were receiving from the other ducks. Their parents and siblings went to live on two other homesteads where we knew they would be happy while Zek and Gillian settled into a gentler life here.

So, every morning when those two run out into the yard, I think:
"They are so amazing! We are so lucky to have spent this time with them!"
And we are.....

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