Yesterday our first snow of the season started early in the morning and lasted most of the day. My geese and ducks didn’t seem to mind the ground being blanketed in white and the colder temps. I shot this photo of them on the pond, acting as if they didn’t have a care while I did my morning chores. Today they still played in the waters as the edges started to freeze and a misty fog rose off the warm waters.
Not wanting to see the duck struggle on the ice only to freeze to death or to be caught up by a predator…I decided I should crawl out on the frozen pond and do a duck rescue. Now this was back before cell phones, before my mom lived out here, and before I had any common sense. With extreme ninja stealth I lay on my stomach and started my army crawl across the frozen pond. The stuck duck did not appreciate my approach or my trying to retrieve him. My efforts to be a still as possible were tossed into the wind as the duck tried to flog me to death with his wings. In the struggle I became keenly aware of the gurgling ice and water bubbles rushing underneath. I decided enough was enough, reaching out for the duck as I turned my face away to keep from getting scratched to pieces, I snatched the duck free with a bear hug. He was minus a few feathers but alive. I let loose and lickity split he was across the ice and back on shore where he met up with his buddies.
Still on my belly, staring back at shore, the distance back to safety seemed to double. It was probably only thirty feet or so but it seemed like a mile. Adrenalin had gotten me out to the duck, fear would get me back to shore.
I have since switched to Muscovy ducks for the farm. They tend to hang close to the house in bad or freezing weather and they will also roost in the trees...keeping them safe from ground dwelling, night predators. Muscovy’s are also capable of great flight which also gives them an advantage over other ducks typically found on small farms. To date I have not yet had to save a Muscovy…knock on wood.