My heart is heavy this morning--a fox visited last night and took 5 of my remaining 8 ducks. He took four newly egg laying females, which adds insult to injury. It's our fault, however, because we forgot to go and put the ducks in their pen last night. My husband used to do it when he arrived home from work, but since Daylight Savings Time last weekend (another reason to despise DST), it's light when he gets home. That means we need to remember to go back out later to do it, but with three busy boys to feed, bathe and get into bed, it's easy to forget.
This hurts more because the fox visited a few weeks back and took three females. Why couldn't he have taken the males? Argh! Last time, the fox wounded one of my ducks but she managed to escape. I brought her in, put her in the bathtub to contain her and the mess. She had a bite mark on her back, so I cleaned it up. There was still blood seeping from somewhere and when I did a thorough search, found the fox had bitten her on the breast, causing a deep, gaping wound. A human would not likely survived a wound like that, but ducks and chickens are very sturdy. I debated trying to sew it shut but trusted that she'd let me know what she needed. Animals, like our own human bodies, know what they need if we just stay still enough and pay attention to its signals.
For three days, I disinfected and dressed her wound. On the fourth day, Miss Duck began to behave differently, letting me know she would take it from here. I removed the bandages and let her to it. Within a week, the wound had crusted, within two weeks, she was healed. I knew it was time when she laid me an egg (first one ever!) as if to say, "See? I'm okay, I have enough energy to lay an egg!" I released her on Tuesday. Now she's in the fox's belly, hope he choked on her.
I've just ordered a new batch of ducklings for hatching in two weeks. It will be baby season--ducklings, then chicks, then turkeys. Cute to think of, but a bit dusty and stinky towards the end. It's the cycle of farmstead life.