musovy duck adventures--the history of Helga

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eco2pia

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So I have so many ridiculous stories about my one duck already that I think I am going to need a place to put it all.

Here is Helga when she first arrived:
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She spent her first night in a cardboard box in the garage. I went to take her to introduce her to the flock of chickens that would be her new family in the morning, but first I had to clip her wings. Muscovies are incredible fliers, and I did not want her to wander off before she figured out where home and food were. I was concerned because she was already big and did not know me at all yet. I carefully took the lid off the box and she sat there, concerned a little but but just waited until I lifted her out, set her on my lap, and clipped her wings. She barely protested at all. Such a sweet girl. I was sad to clip her beautiflul wings, so I only took the lift feathers--she can get off the ground and steer, but not make it over the 6 foot fence--at least not for the first few weeks, she eventually figured out how to compensate and greets me from the roof now sometimes.

Anyway, she has been an incredible kick in the pants and is just charming, funny, and adorable. I never expected to be so bowled over by her.

This morning she looked at me thru the sliding glass door and yawned. Then twisted her head side to side and looked at me thru one eye. I laughed at her antics and started to walk away and she did it again, and then came up and pecked the glass. This time I looked closer at her and realised she was not closing her mouth all the way. I called Mr. Eco2pia, and he picked her up and held her while I gently pried her beak open. She had a piece of vegetable peeling wedged against the roof of her mouth, like just jammed in there. She wiggled a little but let me reach in and snag it and pull it out. We set her down and she shook her head and tail at the same time, settled her feathers and waddled off to find something to eat...none the worse for the wear.

The thing is she is so sweet and funny but I am pretty sure she is smarter than the chickens by a fair bit.
 

MaggieJ

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What a darling! Chickens are as smart as they need to be (not very) but waterfowl seem to be much smarter. She came to you for help -- that argues a high degree of intelligence -- and trust.

Your post gave me a smile because it brought memories of my Pilgrim geese. They were wonderful birds, and besides being intelligent, they had a sense of humour equivalent to a two-year-old child. I miss them terribly -- much more than either the rabbits or the chickens.
 

MuddyFarms

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That's a great story. I was in a big farm and ranch store a few years ago when I overheard a customer ask an employee what the differences were between chickens and ducks. They were trying to decide which ones to get. She said there really weren't any differences, they are pretty much the same thing and behave the same ways. That employee must not have had much experience with either!
We raised four ducklings in a trough in our house for their first few weeks before putting them out with the chickens. They imprinted to us very well, and would come up to visit us at our house. When they were fully grown, something got into the chicken house. Our duck fended it off and we lost nothing. She was clearly attacked, but she got rid of the intruder! She was a very bold duck. We named her Sassy.
She would also make sure to share the barnyard gossip with us every morning- it would be a full conversation! And if they were out of feed, the conversation was very different until we got that taken care of for her.
They also liked to sled on top of the snow when it got deep. They would propel themselves with their feet and glide around on top of it quite happily.
Ducks. Very different from chickens, although chickens are great, too!
 

arachyd

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I've had a few different breeds of ducks in the past but muscovies had very different personalities. It takes a bit of getting used to their looks, especially the drakes, but they are excellent bug hunters, good egg layers and meat ducks too. When they were young each of my kids was given a muscovy duckling. Even when full-grown they would seek out "their" kid and didn't hesitate to hop on a lap and settle there or follow him or her around. Once when one of the kids left the door open I caught the muscovies sitting on the living room floor intently watching the tv that hadn't been turned off.
 
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eco2pia

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We recently had snow for a week and all the ponds froze. Helga was downright disgusted with this arrangement. She tried to jump in and bathe in the half inch of melt water on top of the ice. The snow has melted, but there is still about 5 inches of snow/ice floating in her pool. She is very put upon. I have compensated by giving out multiple crocks of water which she tries to bathe in, and now the hens are annoyed, lol.
 

MaggieJ

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We recently had snow for a week and all the ponds froze. Helga was downright disgusted with this arrangement. She tried to jump in and bathe in the half inch of melt water on top of the ice. The snow has melted, but there is still about 5 inches of snow/ice floating in her pool. She is very put upon. I have compensated by giving out multiple crocks of water which she tries to bathe in, and now the hens are annoyed, lol.
Poor Helga!

Our goose, Elsie, used to try bathing in her water bucket in winter. She seemed to have fun even then, but she much preferred a bit of a pond in a low-lying area or even a kid's wading pool.
 

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Zee-Man

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As a chimney sweep I often have to remove live animals from chimneys. Squirrels, birds, racoons, mice and bats are all commonly found trapped in a place they think will be fun to sleep in. The stangest animal removal I've done is 2 of these Muscovy geese. Two in one chimney! I could see one trying to land/perch upon the chimney and falling in accidentally. But two? Maybe Helga can spread the word, don't duck inside chimneys!
 

eco2pia

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I visited my mom when I was in my twenties. Some violet-green swallows had nested in the chimney cap and one of the fledglings fell down the chimney. Mom had the flue closed and planned to just ignore it until the movement stopped! In her defense she is pretty irrationally afraid of birds and bats. I had to argue with her for 20 minutes to get her to let me rescue it while she hid in a bedroom with the door closed. Poor little thing was all mussed up, but managed to fly off once I carried him outside.
 
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