I admit, there were a lot of things I didn’t know about Muscovy ducks when I brought home the ten orphaned little fluff balls last summer. One of the most gaping holes in my knowledge regarded the frequency and necessity of walking them.
While most of the ducklings went to live with my Amish neighbors, two stayed with me: a male (Brownie) and a female (Veelie.) They seemed content enough to stay home and regally ignore the chickens surrounding them. Sure, they would occasionally fly to sunny spots in the yard or perch on my husband’s truck (much to his annoyance), but they were generally well-behaved homebodies.
Alas, they’re big ducks now, and Brownie has developed an ongoing yearning to visit his kin at the neighbor’s farm. I wasn’t opposed to the family reunions per se, but I really did NOT want Brownie learning to sit on the road the way the other ducks had taken to doing. (Their bad habit has already thinned their ranks by two.)
So when I walk by the neighbor’s farm and see my delinquent duck nonchalantly sunning himself in the yard, I tell him to go home. The first few times, he obediently returned, but now he’s taken to pouting like a sullen toddler and refusing to fly home without an escort. (He’d be pouting if he had lips, anyway.)
So I have to walk the duck home. It’s a process that takes extreme patience–Brownie walks with a toddler’s slow, vaguely drunken gait–but it’s oddly therapeutic. The first time I did it, I’d begun the trip seething with anxiety; by the time we got home, my spirit had settled into a soothing bath of equanimity.
My duck walks are usually solo trips, but today–the day of Sage’s family birthday party–some of our friends and family got in on the action.
I’m not sure how Zen my fellow escorts were feeling once our mission was complete, but I’m positive they won’t soon forget our duck walk.