Hello! My name is Jennie (or Doveheart, I guess.) I'm 18, from Massachusetts. My family has raised birds almost as long as I can remember. From our first birds, a small flock of hens, to then a pair of cockatiels, From there our flock fluctuated and grew, as the years passed, some birds passed, others grew bigger and raised their own, etc. My story is mostly heart ache..I'm sad to say. But the heart ache rivals all the fun I've had watching and raising our birds. My dad bought the family a mixed flock of Indian runners, Pekings, Khaki campbells and the like (all ducks) one spring, all as ducklings. Man, they were the best. I raised them along side my father into strong adults, we led them to the river front each day to swim and flex their wings and legs. Well, one day, a rogue dog snuck into the yard somehow and attacked the flock. We were home when it happened so we were running out there in no time. Unfortunately, it killed two of the larger, slower Pekings, and left one Indian Runner laying in the grass and injured. We rounded up the shocked and riled ducks back into their coop, moved the two bodies to the shed until we could bury them and took the little indian runner into our house. He was very weak and his one leg and one wing were badly hurt. Though, as the days passed, we were able to nurture him and slowly build up his strength and health again. Unfortunately, infection took the injured leg, though we were able to properly set and heal the wing. So, we had a one legged indian runner... My dad insisted on ending him and his disabled life, but I insisted on keeping him and assisting him to as best of a life as he could lead with one leg. The poor thing couldn't keep up with the other ducks as they moved bout the yard and river. He couldn't swim or graze with them. He's be left hobbling after them for a few steps, then resting, then hobbling again. Repeat. We'd always here his desperate quacks from the house and it was quite sad. But each night, we brought him in and set him up with a blanket in a cat carrier to rest and stay warm. One day, though, I came home from school and in habit, went to the duck pen. It was empty. I thought that maybe they were at the river front. I also was faintly aware of my dad cutting wood off in the grove. I checked the waterfront and there was no ducks. Getting worried, I headed in the direction of my dad. And, as I rounded the corner of the house, I spotted my father....and a pile of ducks besides a tree stump. He was doing the unthinkable; culling them, for food. I was led to believe for so long that these ducks would be our pets. But, he lied until he could get them alone. I was able to have him spare the one legged duck, though. ..But he was picked off by a hawk one afternoon soon after. The ducks I loved were gone, headless corpses in the dirt. I don't think I'll ever be able to lift the scars laid upon my heart from that day. Our chickens had to be given away, due to the heat lamp failing inside their coop all winter thus no heat so we gave them to a farmer with a heated coop so they could live. My finches and doves were picked off over the course of a year or two due to our cats..I should have given them away sooner, but my own selfish desire to raise and love my birds kept them close, and ultimately ended some of them. Finally, after another dove was killed, I ended the senseless massacre and gave the remaining birds to a friend with a safe, cat-less home, with a heavy heart, I too have many happy memories of my birds over the years, but they are quickly followed by terrible ones. As you can see by these posts, I am hurting very much and miss my birds...I want a pet duck or chicken or the like but know it wouldn't be in their best wellfare to keep them at this house. It's a huge tease and emotional torment to be in this forum all about birds, but I like birds and like to see pictures of them and the like, so I came to watch people raise their birds through the pictures they post. Missing my babies every day. Doveheart.