Here’s how I learned that ducks are experts in panicking, and what I decided to take from the experience.
… so the family business recently expanded into poultry. We want the kiddos to be able to play with some little animals this summer: bunnies, baby goats, etc. My mother and I drove to Murdoch’s on Monday and purchased a few more ducks than we were planning and six chickens.
I was thrilled. I had offered to take care of the little creatures while they grew out of their heat lamps and until our staff filled out with the personnel who will be feeding them long-term. What fun, I thought, to guide these little birdies into life on planet earth.
I was right, and I was wrong.
The chickens are just chickens, in a smaller, fluffier format. They cheep, flap, and behave like chickens. We used to own a small flock 14 years ago, so I still remember what they were like.
The ducks (4, in total – Yankee, Waffles, Wahoo, and Yahoo) are different. They are neurotic little maniacs. They are experts in panic.
While I am enjoying taking care of my little charges, I was worried for their physical and mental health. After all, every time I entered the room, they would run to the other side of their massive green bucket cheeping their fool heads off and pattering around like they’re trying to avoid certain death. I turned to the almighty Google.
Apparently, a lot of other people are worried about their panicked baby ducks, too, so there was plenty of learning material available. I learned a few bonding techniques, paired it with my knowledge of training horses, and started conditioning the little suckers. We’re only to Thursday now, and the only time they panic is when I have to pick them up and put them in a clean bucket with new bedding. They certainly don’t like me yet, but they’re learning.
I listen to podcasts while I’m sitting with them, and the sound helps to calm them right down.
But, here’s the thing: I don’t like change either. I don’t like bad news. I don’t like confrontation. Sure, most people don’t, and I get that. I just lose perspective on the big picture.
My feet get swept out from under me and I just start cheeping my fool head off and panicking like a baby duck. Wherever I land, it seems to be just fine when I’ve had a second to check it out and flock to my friends.
I got a spot of unexpected news the other day. I’m trying not to cheep as loud as I normally might. I’m trying to act with grace and wait for my feet to hit the ground.
Maybe, with a little more practice, I won’t need to be reconditioned and neither will my ducks.
By the by, for an Instagram video of ducky bath time, check this link out: