My last postings were about one of my so-called flightless ducklings flying about 4ft off the ground. I got great help and information here on how to clip one of his wings. I'd started the 'less is more' way of raising the two of them and it really helped improve our interactions. However we had not yet gotten to the point where I could hold them. Then Friday evening my little male flapped his wings, took off up and over the house, and disappeared without a trace.
I was angry at myself, angry at the dog (who was leashed away from them and did no more then she's always done, jump to her feet and bark at them if they get up too close to the road and her, and angry that he wanted to fly away. I've since lost all that anger and got left with sad, and sad and worried about the one he left behind. After he took off she just started calling and wouldn't stop. Followed on my heels (a 1st) as I went along above the river calling and calling. She was so agitated I was able to pick her up (a 1st) and carry her all the way back home while she lay her head on my shoulder panting and letting out the occasional call. I went back to searching without her and found no trace of him. I then got the dog and she found nothing. We've been doing that walk-along every day and I realized if he was dead anywhere nearby the dog would have been going for where the scent was so she could roll in it.
It hasn't been an easy week. Besides searching I've got a 3 month old duckling who has been constantly stressed since her companion flew off. It seems like she's drinking much more water then usual, doesn't eat right, won't move away from the porch edge of her enclosure, is scared alone at night, and has started to imprint on me. Ramps up her volume to max when she wants my attention which is often but at least not nonstop like the early part of the week. I've been searching for another flightless female around her age and getting about nowhere. The only good I can see in all of this would have to be her following me down to the river and back home. She was calling almost nonstop on Saturday unless I was right there with her and I wanted to find something that could get her attention. Thought the river was a perfect solution for several reasons mostly as a food source in the mud and grasses along the edge. Took grapes and me moving backwards on my hands and knees to get her following me that first time. This was early evening and until yesterday had no success at all getting her to follow me down there earlier in the day.
I don't leave her alone there and never would. I walk slowly along the shallow edge of the river with her right at my heels if she isn't right between my feet. Or I stand in one place and watch her. It's good for her and she does eat, drink and groom when she's down there. But as good as it is for her, having a companion would be so much better. I've had to make a tough decision. If I can't find her a companion by
the end of this week I am going to give her to somebody who has a duck pond but only one duck and one goose. It isn't healthy for her to become so focused on me and it isn't healthy for her being a solitary duck. I don't want to give her away but if it's the best thing for her that's what I've got to do.