After Sandy, it took some time before I had enough courage to let the ducks out of their pen again. I mean, our birds seemed fine—they laid eggs, waddled, ate and drank normally. And, yes, a hurricane is not an earthquake but there were emotional aftershocks nonetheless. I guess I just felt more protective, okay, overprotective after our all-too-close call.
Then, on the second morning post-superstorm, Gladys wouldn’t leave the pen. At first, I thought she was still laying an egg. (Hey, maybe I get to see it!) Then I thought she was having trouble laying the egg. Then, when I coaxed her out and saw her dragging a wing, I didn’t know what to think. Had it taken some time for an injury from the storm to manifest? Did something happen at pen-up last night? Did she get in a fight with her sister? A squirrel? An insurance adjuster?
Depleted and still rather shaky myself, I tried not to pre-worry* and just called the vet on the off-chance they were actually there. They were. (And, unbelievably, they had power. Since 90% of our town did not, this counts as near-miraculous.) We packed poor Gladys into the cat carrier and brought her to one of the docs who had treated her that first nail-biting week. We discussed the possibility that she needed help getting out the egg (not too bad) or whether she had a broken egg inside of her (seriously not good). There were other explanations but the exam would reveal more.
As I returned home to wait for results, I decided to distract myself by cleaning up the duck pen. (Nothing like mucking poop to get your mind off your troubles, I always say!**) As I raked the top of the bedding, I remembered I hadn’t collected any eggs the previous two days and it would probably be good to ferret them out before the girls got any ideas about ducklings.
Which is when I found The Big Egg.
How big was it? It was soooo big they’ll have to come up with a whole new category in egg sizing. You know Large, X-Large, Jumbo. Now there’s an even bigger size courtesy of one formerly tiny Welsh Harlequin duck. I’m thinking we call it Mega, as in Megalon, the Japanese movie monster.*** To compare with an ordinary (Cayuga) duck egg, see photo, but also realize that a large chicken egg is only about 2 ¼ inches. Gladdie’s was over three! Also notice what the doc saw right away: it’s not tapered. Which, I guess, makes its even more awkward to, um, eject.
Sheesh. Just can’t imagine how she…well, I mean, ouch. That would explain the limping thing, you betcha!****
Happy endingly, Gladys came back later that day, properly medicated and already on the mend. Even better, she didn’t seem to notice that any of her eggs were missing. Which is really good because no way I’m gonna let her sit on that one.
I mean, the last thing we need right now is the Thing That Ate Westchester County, right?
*Yes, that’s my own invention.
**Well, if “always” means “since we got the ducks last April”.
**Megaro in original Japanese version, Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973) or Megatron, for you Transformer-heads.
***Although it’s true it could have been Peep’s egg, two plus two equals the hapless Gladys.
Copyright 2012, Lori Fontanes