Wednesday, August 27, 2008

And then they were ten.

The walkie talkie crackles and then I hear the dear wife. “She’s dead.”

“OK, I’ll be right out.”

Last night, as I was bringing the birds in from their paddock, I found the odd duck sitting in the high grass along the fence row. She had been spending her day in there the last few days. As I approached, she stood up and then moved out into the field. She was moving slow, so slow that I had no problem picking her up and carrying her into the coop. As we walked, I noted that the feathers near her anus had a greenish tint to them. I took this to mean that she had been either eating a lot of grass, or that she had not eaten at all and this was bile. I listened to her breathing. She seemed to be having a hard time getting air and her quacks came shallow and strained.

By the time we got up to the coop, I had determined that I would have to put her in the infirmary. In addition, I would spike her drinking water with an antibiotic. (This is always a last resort, as our eggs are supposed to be organic. Quarantining her would guarantee that if she was to lay eggs, we could dispose of them.) Even though I had not seen her eat, I had watched her drink, so hopefully the medication might help. My dear wife said she had shown interest in eating worms yesterday, so I put three big worms in the water. Two worms remained in the bowl.

Two ducks in two weeks. I still had a small pile of compost that I hadn’t moved for the earlier burial, so…

The diesel engine of my tractor sounded a bit mournful, or rather, my mood caught a lower register than the ringing sound one usually associates with diesel. I kept the tractor in a lower gear and took the opportunity from my perch in the seat to have a look around. The late season blackberries are ripening; the Gravenstein Apples have a nice color to them; the Italian Plums are almost ready to pick; my dear wife gives me a half-hearted wave as she fills the waterers in the back paddock.

I resolve to pick some berries this afternoon and take a bite of an apple to see if they’re ready. I say to myself that I now have today’s blog entry.

1 comment:

PAPro_SandMan said...

Man, they're dropping like flies.


Sorry to hear it, man... You're having a truly unenviable run lately.