Yesterday morning I had seven large ducks. There were three 7 year old Golden 300 hybrid hens (Emmaline, Gabby & Victoria) and two 4 month old cayugas (1 named Toughie, the other still unnamed), a welsh harlequin (unnamed) & a chocolate runner (named Lady Godiva, what else?). They have been integrated for 3 months now but the two groups still avoided each other like the plague. If one group would walk up the hill the other group would flee with much quacking, flapping and squawking. OMG!!! THE QUACKING!!! Last week I was wondering "when the heck are these two groups going to relax around each other and become one flock. EVER!?". One of the Golden 300 girls Emmaline (who has been my favorite duck from the very beginning) has been feeling/acting "on again, off again" a few times over the last year. She would become slow and just sit around for a few days and just about the time I'd think she wasn't gonna make it she'd rally again and act fine for months. This routine started again about a week ago but the curious thing I noticed on Tuesday was that she was no longer running away from the new girls and they were no longer running away from her. I don't think she felt very good even though she was eating, drinking and moving around, albeit slowly. I was surprised, as the younger girls seemed very curious about her and the fact that she would stay put when they came within her personal space. A few times on Tuesday I found the five of them just standing around each other very quietly. I was surprised. Yesterday, when I went to check on her Emmaline was laying down and she kept closing her eyes. Sadly, I knew it was the end for her this time and I believe within the hour she was gone. I had my elderly in-laws in the car with me heading for a Dr. appointment so I couldn't stay with her as I would normally have done and it broke my heart to leave her and that she died alone. I had considered petting her before I left but was afraid it would cause her stress as she'd never been a duck that liked being touched (do ANY of them really ??). I texted my DH & DD about what was happening and then my phone died. When I got home two hours later I rushed out to check on her and she was not in the place I had left her. With a hopeful heart I thought "OMG she's ok!!! YAY!!! Wait, where is she, where is she?!" A half second later I noticed a staples paper box in the run. I started to cry and I just KNEW that my DD had checked on her when she came home shortly after my text and had found she had died. She very sweetly put her in the box for me (I'm assuming to protect her from the others prying eyes maybe?). I opened the box and there was my most favorite duck of all time. She looked like she was sleeping. I came into the house and hugged my daughter and cried pitifully for a few minutes. Then my DH and I went out into the wooded front yard and found a good burial site. He dug a great hole which was amazing since we have tons of rocks around. I said goodbye to my best girl and then we buried her and put rocks on top. Ok, that's the sad part. Now here's the the interesting part: After the funeral ( ), I went to check on the other 6 ducks and they were all standing around near each other. No one was running, quacking, squawking or making any noise at all. They were just standing there. Quietly. I thought "Hm, that's weird." A little while later I checked again and Gabby & Toughie were eating together at the same time, from the same feeder, TOUCHING EACH OTHER side by side!!! Today when I checked on them they were all sitting together, right near each other. Another time Toughie was in the small pool and Gabby jumped in with her. Neither left. The other 4 girls were just going about their business (eating bugs, dabbling in the wet ground near the pool etc.) but they were doing it together. As weird as this sounds, I think the imminent death of Emmaline caused a shift in the dynamics of the two groups. I believe the young ducks could sense something was really wrong with her and this caused them to calm down. Now, they're finally one united flock. It's a sad but interesting story. Edited to add her picture from last fall.