Mandy was an eight month old Pekin. Out of all the Mallards and Pekins that share my life, she spoke to me the most because of the gentleness of her spirit. While the other ducks were busy eating the flowers in the garden, Mandy was more apt to be looking at them and watching how they moved in the wind. She was always the one to be found closest to me, while I watched when the ducks and geese were allowed to free range in the yard. Never was she a "problem child" as some of the other Pekins could be. Yesterday, I had to go out and take care of somethings that we as humans find necessary in our lives. Before I left I made sure that everone was well taken care of, the kiddie pool was filled, as the day was above freezing, and that the "safe area" was all set for any of the girls being bothered by the males. Everything was good and I left at about 1:00pm.. We got home a bit after 4:00pm. and I called my son when I got in as I got ready to go outside and do the night chores and close everone up for the night. It seems he had come to my house while we were gone and found three male Pekins in the kiddie pool with Mandy, holding her down so they could take turns with her. After he shut off the fence and opened the gate he could tell by then it was too late. Evidently quite a while too late but that hadn't stopped the males. My son, horrified by what he found went after the males and left poor Mandy in the pool. I found her about an hour later, the ice already forming over her on the surface of the pool water. This is going to stay with me a long, long time. If you read this and are new to ducks, or if you plan on having ducks in the future, please, please read and believe what someone who is an 'old hand' with ducks tells you. Don't think, 'I have time to get to that' or 'that would never happen here, I'm always here and can stop that', 'Oh my ducks would never do that! They are so well behaved.' Mine for the most part, were too..... until they weren't. While I was in the process of providing seperate pens, and getting my equipment made for processing some of them, I was too late to save this gentle little girl. Lessons learned; If you don't have the proper space and pens built before they are out of the brooder? It's already too late. If you plan on using some of your ducks for the table, you need to have the equipment and a plan already in place months before you need it. And, if you can't build it yourself or buy it, make sure you have an alternate plan to carry you through. Set a date and when that date comes around, act on it then. No good comes from putting something off. Finally, we lose sight of the fact that ducks are not totally tamed. Cute and cuddly, the antics of a duck will always bring a smile to my face, but I have remembered something very important because of Mandy. Ducks, like all animals, humans included, are hardwired to procreate. They are driven to complete this task before they die. This was not the duck's fault, I am solely to blame for this incident. I, as their keeper, should have been better prepared and knowlegeable long before this came about. Rest in peace, my little girl and know that because of you, no other duck here, will ever see what you did.