Saturday afternoon, I got a message on my phone from a neighbor asking if I had some chick starter. Apparently he had a duck in his backyard with a couple of small ducklings. This wasn't a neighbors domestic duck that had gotten lost mind you. Oh no, this was a wild mallard hen with two very, very little ducklings.
Apparently that morning, while outside, My neighbor heard some quacking in the corner and upon investigation found a doting mother with her two chicks. They observed them for a bit, but as they didn't move on, she called the county animal control officers to come out - hoping that they'd assist the happy family back to the wetlands area a few miles away. Ah, yeah....NO! What they did do was to try to throw a blanket over the hen and scared her off into the wild blue yonder leaving her little ones behind.
Enter, I, the duck wrangler. We had the ducklings in a crate, with a bowl of water and a little powdered chick feed; now, how do we get mom back? She finally flew back, gliding in at top speed like an F-16 and cruised over to the neighbors driveway and began the squawking. We dropped off the ducklings across the street and she promptly waddled over to pick them up. It was then that the problem came about.
She immediately led them right back across the street to the shade of the neighbors garage. Um, did I mention that this was the same neighbor that has like 5 cats that roam the neighborhood. Yep, that neighbor. So now you see the problem right?
OK, plan two. The neighbor (Is all this neighbor reference getting confusing? The one neighbor I keep referencing was actually two neighbors, husband and wife.
Just FYI) Anyway, the neighbor and I began herding the ducklings toward my side of the street. The original plan being that, we'd get them into our backyard and let them have their place there until they were ready to go on. Our yard is safe, fenced and I have equipment available to make a duck tractor if the need came about. At least they'd be safe until I could find a way to take them to the wet lands. Well that changed quickly when she find a nook in the fence between my house and the next one and holed up there. So now came the wrangling.
We had no way to get her and the kids out but it needed to be done. The ducklings were so small that they took a few minutes just to get across the street; They would never make a couple of miles to the safe wetlands. I got on a coat (to protect me from claws, yes they do have them) and some gloves and my kids butterfly net. The plan was to get a hold of mom, get her into my dogs small carry crate and get her to the wetlands with her kids. So, with the fates on my side, I made a clean move and was able to get mom on the first try. She didn't like the crate at all and hissed heartily at us for the ten minute ride to the wetlands, but she made it in one piece.
We put the ducklings right out in front of her and flopped the door open for her to join them and it worked perfectly. Out she came and took her little ones into the water and they were on their way.
So anyway, nowadays I'm just known as the Duck Wrangler.