My wife and I have a house with a huge back yard that has a koi pond and swimming pool. We’ve lived here and raised our 7 kids over the past 17 years. The kids have pretty much all moved out on their own and now it’s just us and our dog Bailey. That is until, about a week ago.
Every spring we have a few ducks that like to visit and hang out in our koi pond and when the pool opens later in the summer, they love to swim in the pool. Every few years these ducks will return with a new brood of baby ducks. Last week momma brought her brand new itty bitty baby ducks (8 of them) to swim in our pool.
The ducks seemed to be less than a week old and It didn’t take long to figure out that the ducks were much too small to be able to get themselves out of our pool. So later that night my wife, Tracy and I, armed with a pool skimmer net, fished all 8 out of the pool and sent them on their way into the darkness with Mom.
The next morning I get a frantic text from my wife saying to call here asap. That is never good news. So I call and she’s frantic saying the ducks were back and she can’t get them out of the pool. She would get a couple out and they would just dive back in to be with momma. I told her to leave them alone and I’d get them out when I got home.
That afternoon, my sister in law, brought the grand kids over to swim and they were able to get all the ducks out, but later that night I looked out into the pool and saw one lonely baby duck swimming around. We are talking really young ducks here, as in maybe a week old.
I knew I couldn’t leave the duck in the pool all night with nothing to eat and no way to keep warm. I also knew I couldn’t catch him and let him go as we have cats, owls, hawks, falcons, raccoons, blue herons, coyotes, and dogs etc. in our neighborhood. We knew that there was no way the duck would survive on its own overnight unless we brought it into the house, dried it off, fed it and kept it warm.
But how do you do that? I don’t know nothing about birthing no babies….even if that baby is a baby duck.
Thank God for the internet. After doing a little research, I was able to get a box together with a pan of water for the duck to live in. We have koi and goldfish that we feed fish food to and know that the adult ducks love to eat the koi food, so I fed our little duck koi food. It must have been starving as it ate about 20 little pellets of the fish food.
Our dog Baily was in duck heaven as she immediately fell in love with the duck, although that may be because she has a squeaky toy about the same size, and color, plus it makes a similar squeaky sound when she chews on it. By the way the duck was enthralled with Bailey too and wanted to cuddle with her, but Bailey doesn’t want to cuddle, she only wants to play. She was so tender with the duck and tried to keep covering her up, as you can see in the video.
Our plan was to take the duck to the Animals in Distress bird rescue. Last Friday we were going to head to McCall for the weekend and drop Dewie off on our way out of town. Yes our first mistake was naming him. The second mistake was laying on the floor in the living room and making a bird sound….he immediately came to and sat next to my head on the pillow I was laying on.
I called my wife and said she had to decide if we were dropping him off or keeping him. She said if we don’t drop him off, we couldn’t go to McCall, because there was no way we were hauling a duck and a dog all the way to McCall and back.
Needless to say we ended up canceling our trip to McCall.
We have had one close call with Dewie. We usually let Dewie swim in the pool
Every afternoon for 4 or 5 hours, he loves it….When we put him down he makes a bee line to the pool and jumps in. It’s impossible to get Dewie out. My wife and I have to surround him and when he dives under the water, take the skimmer net and position it to where he’s coming up for breathe and catch him.
The other night I was cooking dinner and watching him in the pool when I noticed a big bird sitting by the edge of the pool and Dewie was nowhere to be seen. It took me a few seconds to realize that it was a falcon that had probably tried to dive bomb the pool to snatch Dewie and was waiting for Dewie to surface again. I ran out and scared the falcon away and immediately retrieved Dewie. It was lucky I happened to be looking outside when I did or Dewie would have been dinner.
For the past few days, Dewie has been less than enthusiastic to get into the pool. We nearly have to force him to get in and usually I would have to catch Dewie with the pool skimmer net to get her out, but for the first time since Dewie adopted us, Dewie let my wife catch her by hand.
It’s amazing just how similar baby ducks are to baby humans. Dewie has his nightly routine already. After his swim, he likes to eat. (Did I mention he eats like a pig) Then when he’s done he chirps at us, until we pick him up and let him sit on our shoulders where he watches TV with us and preens himself or the dog for about an hour or so. Then we put him to bed in the garage.
Oh and he’s learned how to cover himself up with the towels in his box. But we’ve figured out that he doesn’t cover himself up to keep warm, he does it to be in the dark. I’m not kidding. He only covers himself up if the sun is out or all the lights are on. When I go to the garage at 4 in the morning, while it’s still dark he isn’t covered up. When my wife leaves for work a few hours later after the sun has come up, he’s covered up, sleeping. And he won’t come out when you call, you have to uncover him.
Every day, Dewie does something new and we are there to take pictures or videos to share. I have included a few links below to YouTube videos that we have taken over the past week.
Dewie is small enough now, that we can easily take care of and protect him, but when he gets bigger and is able to jump out of the pool on his own, before he has learned how to fly and protect himself from predators we know that we won’t be able to take care of him. Thank you to all the people who have written to us and offered to take Dewie into their own homes and farms.
We have some friends who have a farm with chickens and ducks and they have offered to take Dewie when he and we are ready. It will be hard giving him up, but by going someplace that we know, at least we can keep tabs on Dewie to see how he’s doing and if he’s successful and I’m sure they will make sure he doesn’t get hooked up with a bad crowd……Hopefully that won’t be too soon, but he is growing really fast, so we know our days as a family unit with my wife, our dog Bailey and Dewie won’t last long, wo we will enjoy our limited amount of time together. I’m just not sure how Bailey and Tracy will survive once Dewie is gone.
This is video of Dewie’s Duck Family
This is our Dog Bailey’s reaction to Dewie the first night we found him
This is Baily and Dewie enjoying each other’s company