Meet Winky the duck. She is a
born hatched troublemaker.
Winky is a Muscovy duck. Muscovies are commonly found in warmer climates, like South America or Florida. Except that she is a domestic duck, not a wild duck. And much less able to tolerate the low temperatures that Mallard-derived domestic ducks are bred for.
The most recent incoming duck is a new Muscovy hen, Carmen Miranda. Carmen is a very poised and attractive young duck and has been popular with the flock because her manners are so lovely.
Winky has been hell on wheels since she was hatched here at The Funny Farm. We don’t breed here, but Muscovy nests are deep. This time, I failed to locate one of the subterranean eggs, so Winky’s mom, Cocoa, was sitting on a dozen golf balls and one duck egg.
Poor Winky, her Mom was horrified when a duckling emerged from the pile of toasty warm golf balls. Sometimes, a duckling will be taken in by a hen, but not this time. Even Winky’s two auntie ducks rejected her.
Winky was strong and hungry and grew quickly.
It is kind of fun having a duck in the house, and for a while I thought it would be fun to raise her indoors as a companion for Dobby.
Dobby loved sharing his milk with her and loved having a little pet. But one day she pecked his eye. I was so stunned — and so was he! — that she pecked it twice before I yanked her out of there!
Winky moved outdoors but she was so aggressive I had to pen her up when the other ducks were in the yard. Adult ducks are usually fairly tolerant of ducklings, but she was really obnoxious. She would run around harassing the flock, and I was afraid they would hurt her.
She grew up big and strong, and the duck population here has learned to tolerate Winky. She is still very feisty, though, and everyone pretty much avoids her, even Romeo, my Muscovy drake. In fact, the tomcats even steer clear of her. Norman the Goose is agitated at dusk if his flock doesn’t return to the aviary. He paces until they follow him in. Norman ignores Winky, though. She is always the last to return to the aviary at dusk: If Winky has returned to roost, I know everyone else is there.
This year has had a lot of unpleasant freezing temperatures, and none of the ducks like it. The grass is gone, the worms are hibernating deep down, the ground is frozen most of the time. The distant sun isn’t up long enough to thaw it.
The last straw seems to have been the addition of the new duck, sweet Carmen Miranda. Compared to Carmen’s nice manners and flirtatious crest flaring, it is clear why rambunctious loner Winky is less tolerated by the flock. Frankly, I don’t think she cares.
I take full responsibility for what happened next, for I clipped Carmen’s wings when she arrived. I did not clip Winky, who had shown little inclination to fly or flee. Friday, as I stood in the back yard, the sky was momentarily darkened as a gigantic brown bird flew overhead. Dang. Winky had flown from the rooftop of the house to my west (when had she flown up there?) clean over the top of my house and beyond. I ran to the front yard, but she had flown next door, to the pond Dobby is so fond of gazing at.
She had a lovely day out there with her Mallard friends, and then they flew away at dusk, leaving her alone and vulnerable. I know this pond, I know this duck, and chances of catching here were slim. Most likely, she would fly further away from home, and this way I could watch out for her.
I’m looking through the fence at her here, from Dobby’s favorite pond gazing spot. There are ten acres next door, about half is wetlands, creeks, and this spring fed pond.
Monday morning, she was in my back yard, waiting outside the gate to be let back into the aviary. As predicted. I clipped her wings, and she scurried away to check out her favorite dabbling plots, and to raise a little hell with the resident ducks, hens, geese, and cats.
We’re all lucky that raccoons or coyotes didn’t get her. Her mother and two aunties all flew off the same way and returned, so I had some confidence she would be okay for a day or two. And that she would eventually get hungry and come home. It’s not going to happen again, though. I’m going to keep her clipped!