We had a very close call today with the ducklings. My mother left the garage door open and one of the hens, Georgie, got inside. She ended up in the duckling brooder and I don’t know how long she was in there. I just thank God that I was going out there to give them dandelion greens when I did. All of the ducklings were huddled in the corner. At first I didn’t see them at all. All I saw was Georgie, but then I got closer and saw them all hiding behind the waterer.
I grabbed Georgie and took her outside, firmly shutting the door in her face. Then I went to face the damage. At first I thought one of the ducklings was dead. It didn’t appear to be moving at all, and a second one was spraddle-legged and bedraggled. They were the two smallest Welsh Harlequins, the ones I think are hens. I was heartsick, but when I bent to pick up the one I thought was dead, she blinked at me. I saw the tiny rise and fall of her chest. I was sure she was taking her last few breaths, but I went and got help. I was of a mind to put them out of their misery, but the husband convinced me to try to save them. If they didn’t improve at all he’d do the deed.
At first we tried laying the two ducklings under the heat lamp, but one of the Pekins walked over the worst off one, so I made a small hospital tote up, while my husband and son held the two ducklings close to keep them warm. I shoveled some sand in, put in a small container of water with a few dandelion greens in it, and took a 3 segment section off an 18 egg carton and filled it with feed. We set the two ducklings inside it and put it under one of the heat lamps. We covered the brooder box with an old screen door to keep anything from getting in again. After an hour we turned the one duckling over onto her other side and she held up her head for the first time. The other duckling had righted herself and stood up a couple of times, but was still walking funny. She was cheeping.
We checked on them again in an hour and the one duckling was standing normally and the other duckling had sat all the way upright. They had eaten some feed, all the greens were gone, and they’d drunk some water. I moved the box so that they weren’t fully under the heat lamp but still partly were. In another hour they were both standing up and cheeping. When I reached a hand in they both started to run around. I gave them two more hours in the hospital tote and then put them both back into the brooder. They both walked off like nothing had ever happened to them. They were both eating and drinking normally by evening. The other ducks seemed happy to have them back. They’d tried to get through the transparent hospital tote a few times.
I am not 100% sure that they are okay. There could still be internal damage, but they seem to have recovered completely. Hopefully they make it through the night. Hopefully any damage will heal.
Special in the Head Pekin duckling had what I think was a seizure tonight, though. He shook for several seconds and then went in about six circles before shaking his head and returning to normal and going off to eat and drink. He has done the circling before, but he hasn’t had the shaking first. He isn’t flopping around like in all the links I’ve found for Pekins having seizures. I’ve inspected him for any signs of illness. There are none. He looks healthy, but he’s always been not quite as bright as the other ducklings. They are getting niacin so it isn’t a niacin deficiency. I am not sure if there is anything else I can do for him. He is destined to be a meat bird, but I do wonder if he’ll make it that far.
It was all very stressful. Georgie didn’t seem to have bothered the meat chicks at all. At least there was no visible damage. Although they did all run to the corner when I came in and they don’t usually do that.
Throughout the day we managed to get the rest of the fence hung. All we have left now are the two gates to put up. We have fencing across one of the gate openings. We will get the open one hung tomorrow and hopefully the other one, too. We got the compost tilled in to 2/3 of the pasture field. The other 1/3 will get done tomorrow and then it will all need to be raked. We will hopefully get the duck house built as well.
All is well in the rabbit shed. No drama there. I want the husband to build a screen that will fit in the rabbit shed door to keep the chickens out when we leave the door open on warm days. With the kits due in a couple of days I don’t want to take any chances with the chickens, especially Georgie. It shouldn’t take too long to do. Just a frame with some screen in it or even some chicken wire will be enough. The baby gate they just hop over. It’s more to keep out smaller animals like squirrels.
Lola is allowing us to pet her. She’s still not eager, but she hasn’t been moving away. This is good because it gives me the chance to feel her backbone and sides. She’s got squirmy little kits in there, that’s for sure. Serenity is being super affectionate and demanding head pets still. They are both quite large now, though of course, Lola will always be smaller than any of the other rabbits even at the height of pregnancy. The kits are due around the 5th and they both look ready to pop.
I just found out that my former doctor died over the weekend. He was the doctor that delivered me and I was with him until he retired at the start of 2013. It was very sad news to hear. He was truly an old-style family doctor and we all loved him very much. Such a good man with such a good heart. He was 87, though. It wasn’t unexpected. He was a Christian so there is that consolation. I’m sure he’s up in heaven with Dad trading stories. They both loved to tell a good yarn.
Well, I am glad this day is ending. I hope tomorrow will be better. I am in a surprisingly positive mood considering all that has happened today.