Monday, June 06, 2011
Yes, it's a senior citizen goose
One day you wake up without ducks, the next day you wake up with ducks, and a senior citizen goose named Priscilla.
One of my vets was here checking out one of Apifera's other seniors - Matilda the donkey - and we got to talking about pasture management for our sheep. He too owns sheep so we often go into long chats about worming and parasites. Our bottom fields are soggy much of the year and are perfect for snails which can carry liver fluke eggs that can then end up in the sheep, damaging their liver. He has often suggested we get ducks and I always forgot about it, as appealing as they are.
But he knew a client who had to sell their farm due to cancer and she wanted to rehome her beloved ducks. She was being very careful about where they ended up and my vet put her in touch with me. The first thing she told me was, "The ducks have to stay together as a unit...and they come with an old goose name Priscilla."
An old goose? Named Priscilla? It was surely meant to be.
They arrived Sunday morning. They are beautiful, magnificent, charming creatures and will be characters of this farm for years to come. Priscilla arrived with her own stylish hat bubble. Her neck is as beautiful as Grace Kelly's. The chickens are quite upset that their very large chicken house now has strange Disney creatures living on the floor. I explained it all to them days before, but they never listen to me.
The ducks are not quite sure about me yet. I spent a good half hour sitting with them in the small corner of the hen house, in silence, head down, letting them sense me. No words were exchanged between duck, goose or woman. This morning when I let them out, Priscilla guided them with her wings spread out to the enclosed hen yard where they will stay for about week to get to know the routine before they are allowed to free range. I talked a bit in duck, but do not know the nuances yet, and I often slipped back into chicken language. This caused some misunderstandings and ruffled feathers.
"Is she a woman or just a really large chicken?" they wondered. The jury is still out.
The old goose is the leader and speaks for all the ducks. She is the only one with a name, and once I get to know them more, I will bestow each of the four girls and two boys names worthy of their individual personalities.
This being their first morning to rise and shine at Apifera, I was pleased to find three eggs. Like I said, one night you go to bed without duck eggs, and the next day you awake to them.