It's springtime. The birds are singing, the bees are buzzing, and the ducks are... mating. Yes, it's true, while rabbits are widely considered to be the great multipliers, from what I have seen it's the ducks that actually try the hardest. Under normal circumstances this would not be a problem but Minna and Maggie are two different breeds of duck: Minna is a mallard mix and Maggie (despite the name, Maggie is actually a boy) is a pekin, and is at least twice as large as Minna. In addition to putting in lots of practice, Maggie also never seemed to learn that no means no, which means that Minna is frequently not in the mood when Maggie comes calling, and tries to wiggle away.
A couple of weeks ago Minna caused some alarm when she seemed to be under the weather. She wasn't eating much and she seemed to be unable to move very far without resting. I rushed her off to the vet and waited to hear the results. Is it a gut upset? Is she egg bound? Is she sick? Is it curable?? Often the news from the vet is worse than we had expected so I am rarely surprised now when the bill comes out in the hundreds of dollars. I am sure we have single handedly paid for the new wing at the vet hospital. One of these days I fear I will find myself on the street corner holding a sign that says, "Have 14 pets. Sold the house to pay for vet bills. Anything helps."
When the vet came back with the verdict I held my breath and braced for the impact. "She sprained her leg. A week of Rimadyl and she'll be fine." What? Could it possibly be true? A vet bill under $100 and a problem so easily fixed? My luck must be changing. The vet went on to explain that it was most likely caused by her trying to stand up and get away while a giant pekin stood on her back. I was told to give her the medicine and keep her separated from Maggie at least until her leg healed. Minna was thrilled. Maggie was not.
Minna got to spend the week lounging in the bunny room, getting private meal times and sleeping on a soft bed. Maggie spent the week standing outside my window quacking at me to let me know what he thought of this new arrangement. Aside from mating related injuries, Maggie is actually very protective of Minna and likes to stay where he can keep an eye on her and know that she is safe; that he couldn't even see her did not make him happy. Maggie is also very good at figuring out where in the house I am, and going to whichever window or door is closest to make his presence known.
Below the second floor bunny room is a patio, and the yard slopes upward and away from the house beyond that. So while the patio is closest to the window, it is also farther down than the back section of the yard. Maggie decided he needed to be on the patio, but higher up somehow. His solution to this dilemma was simple: he got into the livestock tank that serves as their pool, and stood on the four bricks that are stacked in the pool to facilitate easier exiting from the pool, then stretched his neck all the way up and quacked under my window. He seemed quite proud of himself for discovering this solution - despite what you may think, ducks are very smart animals.
I am surprised that Maggie didn't lose his voice with all the complaining he did that week, but despite being out of sorts he managed to survive. Minna healed up quite well and has rejoined Maggie in the yard. Life on the Unfarm returns to normal - which is to say that it is in a constant state of chaos.