Duck Rescue

Some of our windows need replacing because the seal on them are broken and condensation has gotten between the panes. We decided that we’d rather pay for new windows than have high heating bills because of the bad windows. We also decided that it would be better to have them installed than try to do them ourselves, so several weeks ago we contacted Lowes about replacing the three worst windows. They finally called us yesterday to ask us to come to the store and sign the contract for the windows. I was hoping that we could get the windows installed before this, but apparently everyone and their brother has been getting new windows so the installers are super busy. Hopefully they won’t be installing our windows in -50 degree temps or a historic blizzard!

On the way to Lowes, EJ wanted to stop at Gander Mountain just to look around. When we entered the store, I saw a display of a gilly suit. I exclaimed that it would be so much fun to have a gilly suit and go sneaking around in the forest. EJ laughed and then told me a story from his childhood about a guy who scared his scout troop during a camping trip by wearing a Big Foot costume that his wife made. News spread around of Big Foot sightings, so the scout leader decided to randomly show up around the county dressed as Big Foot. Apparently it made the national news, and then people starting declaring that they were going to start carrying guns to protect themselves so the leader finally confessed.

Marshmallow Man
Marshmallow Man

After we browsed in Gander Mountain for a bit, we continued on to Lowes. As we pulled into the parking lot, we saw a huge inflatable marshmallow man. I begged EJ not to let me get too close to it because it aroused violent urges in me and I felt a strong desire to go up and punch it in its stomach. EJ said that I could always sneak up close to it in a gilly suit…and then we began to joke about what we’d do to the giant marshmallow man. (Don’t worry, Lowes, we were just joking.) Later EJ told JJ that I had wanted a gilly suit and I told him about wanting to sneak up and punch the giant marshmallow man. JJ looked at us as if we had gone completely nuts, but I showed him the photo I had taken to prove that, yes, we had actually seen a giant marshmallow man. LOL.

Early this afternoon I went outside to see if I could move the second dog house. Then I noticed that one of our rouen ducks was not with the others, which is totally not normal because the ducks ALWAYS stick close together. “Birds of a feather flock together” is totally true about ducks. I saw the duck sitting just outside the fence so I walked up to her, and she let me get quite close, which is also not normal for our ducks. The rouens, especially, never let us get very close to them. She acted very listless, and wobbly, and I saw that there was drool on the ground. She had been perfectly fine when I saw her a short time before so I figured that she must have eaten something toxic while she was free-ranging with the others. Worried, I went inside and told EJ that one of our ducks was sick. He went outside with me and I was able to walk right up to the duck and pick her up. EJ sat in a lawn chair and held her. She hardly moved and she drooled on his arm. I thought, oh, crap, I don’t know anything about caring for sick ducks and our little duck is going to die. While EJ continued holding her, I went inside and googled her symptoms.

I love the Internet! I found that someone on a duck forum had described the same symptoms as our duck was experiencing. Several people suggested giving the duck activated charcoal. So I called our farm store to see if they sold it. I figured that if it was something that helped ducks, they might have some. They didn’t. The internet said that Woolworths sold activated charcoal, so I called the one nearest us. They said they were all sold out. So I called our local Meijer store and asked the pharmacist if they sold activated charcoal. He said they did. I asked if they had any in stock. He checked and said that they had one bottle left, and then he asked if I would like him to reserve it for us and I said “YES! We will be right there to get it!” EJ shut our sick little duck in the garage pen and we drove off to the store for the last bottle of activated charcoal. As we were paying for it, we told the pharmacist that it was for our sick duck. He asked, “Did she eat something toxic?” and we said that we thought so.

Our sick duck. By the time I took this photo, she could stand although she was still wobbling badly.
Our sick duck. By the time I took this photo, she could stand although she was still wobbling badly.

Once we got home, we emptied the powder from the capsule into a dish of clean water. I got out a syringe to squirt it into our duck’s mouth. But we learned that we can’t ease a syringe of medicine into a duck’s mouth like you can a cat or dog. There’s no way to get their bill open. So we just sort of dipped her bill into the medicated water and she took a few swallows. She seemed to revive a bit, but she still twitched and wobbled a lot and I was afraid she would fall unconscious into the bowl of water and drown, so I sat out in her pen with her. I put some of the charcoal water into a smaller container and occasionally I dipped her bill into it and she swallowed, even though it was clear that she didn’t really like the taste. Amazingly, it wasn’t long before she looked more alert. After awhile, she was able to stand and as time went on she grew stronger and stronger and began walking around. Eventually, I opened the gate and let her join the others in the outside pen. I heard them all quaking as if they were glad that she could join them.  She seemed almost back to normal, although she continued to twitch her feathers.

I think she’s going to be ok. I’m really glad she didn’t die. Having two pets die in a week would have been too much to bear.

I probably should tell Zack the pharmacist that he helped save a duck’s life?


4 Comments on “Duck Rescue

  1. Oh what a cute story, your animals are fortunate to have your guys as their family. You go the extra mile, so special.


    • I was telling EJ as we were drying to the store for the charcoal that I’m just not cut out to be a farmer or homesteader. I can’t endure an animal getting sick or dying. Fortunately, our little duck has completely recovered.


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