Tiny duckling, possible injured leg - Page 2
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Swimmy is doing pretty well. Sadly she has been rejected by the rest of the flock -- I think her mode of locomotion is disturbing to them, as she tends to sort of fling herself forward walking on her hocks and using her wings and bill for balance. So, in both the night pen, and the pasture, she has special fenced off/covered areas of her own, where she can see and be near everyone else, but protected from them and from predators. As long as she is in her cage, the others seem comfortable having her around, and check in on her throughout the day, sometimes dozing right up next to her. I usually carry her to the deep pond to swim 2-3 times per day, and she has a shallow "pool" in her pasture cage which she can get in and out of. When I can, I let her out with every.one else and supervise, so she can really stretch out and get mobile. I am hoping to find the time soon to create a swimming pond for her with a very gentle slope, so she can spend as much time swimming as she wants. She is still MUCH smaller than all of her siblings.
There are still times when I question whether it's right to keep her alive. She definitely does not get to have a "normal" duck life. But there is some kind of spark in her, a joy she reveals when she is swimming and a contentment when she is at rest, that really touches me. And since I have a special needs child, the idea of ending a life solely because it is challenging and not typical is hard to swallow. It would be different if she appeared to be suffering, or if she seemed unwell.
What's the situation with your duckling?
Edited by kathleens1979 - 6/12/15 at 4:27am
I'm glad to hear that your little duckling is improving. It is a terrible feeling to make an innocent mistake that leads to the injury or death of an animal... And I appreciate your sentiments about special needs animals. I raise animals in what might be considered the grey area between farming and pets. I raise them as a part of my work and yet there isn't one of them about whom I don't feel a strong sense of connection and responsibility. To me, it is mistaken thinking even to not name animals one intends to kill. I certainly understand the impulse to keep them at arm's length, but I personally feel that it is my obligation to work with whatever feelings I have about taking the life of an animals with whom I feel an empathetic connection. By naming them, and coming to know them as the unique individuals that they are, I am compelled to treat them with the level of respect and care all sentient beings deserve. And by suffering some emotional pain in the act of taking a life, I believe I remain connected to that in my heart which can easily be deadened by disassociating. It feels like the least I can do to honor the life that I take.
And so, in the same vein, I do not cull an animal simply because it will not be productive or has special needs. There are many ways in which an animal with special needs can contribute to the health and productivity of my farm -- after all, even an old or special needs animal poops, and manure is as valuable as gold to me! So, I make an effort to walk a balance between productivity and compassion. I acknowledge it isn't the path for everyone, and it has its challenges, but it is my path and I choose to walk it unapologetically, and with joy at the sight of an animal clearly feeling the glory of life in spite of physical or mental challenges.
Good luck with your duckling, and keep us posted on how he progresses!
For those who expressed an interest and concern for Swimmy, back when I was posting about her -- she ended up being accepted back into the flock, and was even able to get herself around extraordinarily well (and quickly when she wanted), she began laying eggs, and she remained an awesome swimmer, right up until today, when she moved herself all the way from the pasture to their night pen and back into the darkest most remote nest box and crossed the threshold to fly free in the heavens. She was just over a year old. What a strong little friend she's been.....
I had a week old duckling that had a leg injury. The vet diagnosed super vised swims in warm water to exercise it.
Some ducklings are just smaller. My current batch of cayugas has a duckling that about 3/4 the size of the other two hens. She's been small since i unboxed her and the difference has been constant as they all grew up.
If you're certain that everyone has enough feed and water your smaller duckling is probably just petite for this age. Her growth spurt might kick in much later.
I'm so sorry to hear about Swimmy. I do believe that there is a place like they describe in the poem Rainbow Bridge where she has been made whole again and will be waiting for you. It takes a very special and caring person to take on a special needs animal. There are many out there that don't get the chance. Special needs animals require a lot of time, effort and emotion. I just lost GG 3 weeks ago who had neuogical issues from a duck stampede when she was 5 weeks old. She was 6 months old when she passed. Of my ducks she was my favorite because I spent so much more time with her. She regained the ability to walk, but her balance was off and couldn't be in with the flock so she lived along side them and free ranged with them under supervision. I would hold her and help her stretch her legs/wings when my others wouldn't let me get near them. She was sweet. So good for you for giving Swimmy the chance to have the year she had. She'll always hold a special place in your heart. It's imprtant to let people know that ducks, given a chance and some time, can recover(whether it is fully or partial recovery)from a lot of illnesses or injuries. It's up to us to give them that opportunity. Again, I'm sorry for your loss.
Thank you for your words of sympathy and compassion. It is definitely true that the increased time spent with special needs animals tends to create a stronger bond, which is beautiful and also painful -- like life! I'm so grateful for you, and all the others, who are willing to take on the challenges of special needs animals. It is such a difficult and personal decision to choose life for an animal who may never recover fully from an illness or injury -- every situation is so different -- and yet once the decision is made to support them in life, what gifts and lessons they can bring to our lives!
Thank you for your condolences. I too believe that in her death she merely left her body behind, and her spirit can now soar and swim and move in unrestrained freedom...