I feel so awful. I always always always always lock my birds up in a predator-proof pen at night. If we're going to go out, then I put them up early so that they are put away before dark. Last night, my group of young ducks (about six to eight weeks) were being a real pain about going to bed, and I went inside in a temper with the plan to go back out after a bit when I wasn't so irritated any more. But I forgot. Amazingly, there were no predator visits. Something almost worse happened instead. One of the ducklings, apparently spooked by something, ran over rough ground and got a leg stuck between two small stumps. And whatever spooked it REALLY spooked it. It was moving so fast, it literally snapped its leg in half--bone sticking out, leg held together only by some skin and ligaments. It was awful. When I went outside this morning, it was still stuck, blood on the ground (not completely dry, so it must have happened toward morning), grisly bone sticking out, just horrible. I freed the duck and carried it around to where my husband was in the driveway. I know this isn't the decision some people would have made, but after heart-wrenching discussion, we decided to put the duck down. My husband was kind enough to do the deed, and I went inside and cried. The worst thing about it, other than the fact that it was my fault, was that the duckling was otherwise acting completely normal--it just wanted to join its friends and catch bugs and go for a swim. And we put an end to that. I don't know whether it was the right decision, but we did it quickly and cleanly, and I believe that duck is now in a happier place. But I still feel sad and bad about it, and of course I'm second guessing myself about the decision. I still *think* it was the right decision but I don't know--maybe the duck could have recovered and lived a happy life... the break was pretty awful though, and recovery would have been a long-drawn-out thing, if it could have happened at all. There was no muscle or anything useful connecting the leg to the foot--I doubt the foot could ever have been used again. I don't really want post-mortem advice--if you think I made the wrong decision, hearing about it would just depress me. But I am curious (for future reference, to torment myself, whatever...) whether it's possible for a duck to recover from an injury that severe, and what exactly would be involved. Also, how is it possible for a bird to cause that kind of injury to itself? It seems incredible that it could snap its own leg completely in half just getting caught by a stump, and yet--that appears to be exactly what happened--if a predator or something had been involved, then at least part of the duckling would have been missing, and it wasn't. I'm also open to comforting words! Thank you.