It took some time and a raucously colored kiddie pool but we finally figured it out.
Yup, we got one.
ROOSTER IN THE HEN HOUSE!!!
Long-time (-suffering?) readers of this blog may recall our vague chagrin when we thought a few months ago that Peep might have been a male. Her coloration left it an open question but then when she achieved her first full-throated quack, the uncertainty evaporated. (Females are louder than the males. No jokes, please.*)
That said, we were not exactly duck experts and didn’t have a quack baseline for comparison so I thought it best to wait for egg production to erase any lingering doubts.** In May, we left the world of gender fuzziness for a future date. The penny dropped on Monday, September 3, 2012. Doubts and any naïve notions of Duck Girl Power floated away on a cloud of molted plumes. But I get slightly ahead of my story.
Somewhat strangely, it goes back to this question of “oh, you have ducks—are you going to build a pond?” Which to said frequent query, I typically respond, of course not, a pond is too much work, you have to get permits, keep it clean, all the experts say they don’t need a pond to live a good life, blahbedeblahbedeblah. Instead, we keep a large container (made for sheep) filled with fresh water and the girls love to use it for drinking, bathing and playing.
Right, playing. Chasing each other around. Canoodling, as it were.
Scroll down to last weekend when the weather finally downshifted to sub-hellish heights and I got it together to thoroughly scrub out the kiddie pool we had employed in their duckling days. My plan was just to put it in deep storage but Pamela intervened.
“Mama, Mama, can we please let the ducks swim in it? Pleeeeease!” she wheedled, effectively.
“Just this once, PJ,” I warned. “It takes too much water and it’s a pain in the neck to…” I continued but she couldn’t hear my whining over the high-pressure splashing of the hose.
The ducks milled about, intrigued but wary so Pamela chased each one down and plopped it in. Wow, what is this lovely sensation of floating? This liquidy freedom? This lighter than air…hey, what the ducks?
I swear, Puff was in the water no more than three, maybe four seconds before he did the deed. He, yes, he managed to get much better acquainted with Peep, Bonnie and Fannie*** faster than you can say Casanova, don’t ask.
And there’s not much more to tell.
Apparently, ducks prefer (or require?) a certain amount of flotation before they can unleash their natural tendencies. The backyard shifted slightly as I replayed an array of details from previous weeks, realizing how much I had (willingly?) missed the cues. Oddly, the biggest disappointment was that I couldn’t come outside anymore and just say “hi girls!” Now I’d have to hail them with the awkward “hi girls and Puff!” Or, worse, strip away their femininity with the de-genderized “hey there” or, worse, “hey, guys!”
Well, at least, one thing is clear.
Now I know why Puff keeps coming to the window whenever my husband watches TV.
*That’s my department!
**I had some vague plan to install an EggCam, I guess.
***He seemed to have left Gladys alone, at least, that day.
Copyright 2012, Lori Fontanes