Wednesday, 7 March 2012

A Death in the Family

We went to work on Monday - we had a carpet to clean in an elderly people's sheltered accommodation.

That went well - everyone was impressed with our work and the manager said he would be happy to write us a  letter of recommendation for prospective customers. Woo hoo!!!

Then we went to see a friend - Steve was borrowing a piece of woodworking machinery from her husband to help with the duck houses.

And home at around 4 pm.

The first thing we noticed was a strident call from one of the ducks in the back garden. It sounded like it was coming from the nursery so that would be either Big Bertha or Little Shadow. (These were the 2 extras we got from Basingstoke last week).

We went to the nursery and sure enough Bertha was shouting. Need more food? Water? Then we noticed Shadow was sitting underneath the ramp to the sleeping quarters. Just sitting. On closer inspection we found she was dead. We secured the ramp/door at night with a piece of string. By a freak accident she had got her head through this and hung herself.

And she was still warm.

I was distraught - more concerned about the effect it had had or would have on Bertha. The first thing we did was move Bertha in with the four back garden ducks - Dot, Ebony, Ivory and Opal. I couldn't leave her in the nursery alone for fear she would become depressed, and while it is probably a little early for her to be outdoors (remember we don't know how old she is) it seemed like the best alternative.

She walked in looking far more confident than I imagine she felt.

After a bit of gossiping amongst themselves they accepted her into their midst.

We then had to do something with Little Shadow.

She was put into the pond along the lane where all the dead in shell ducks and the non viable eggs have gone.

Yesterday I was not good. I was blaming myself for Shadow's death and trying very hard to find a reason for it.

That reason occurred to me today.

Had both Shadow and Bertha survived they would have become too bonded to each other. That would have made integration with the others almost impossible and could have lead to bullying. This way, traumatic as it was, Bertha has been accepted by the elders.

One of life's tough lessons.

I keep thinking I am too thin skinned for this duck lark. But if I didn't care I wouldn't be able to do it at all would I?

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