Having said good bye to the guests on Saturday morning we immediately had a two-legged visitor at the front door, making the loudest noise! I knew straightaway it was a wild duck calling her young and thought no more about it. However, the noise continued endlessly so I decided to investigate. There were no ducklings anywhere to be seen but she was calling them and when I stood and listened, I could hear them return her call.
I called Stephen to help with the duckling hunt and even sent him down the cellar to ensure they hadn’t dropped down the air vents which are at each side of the front door, to allow the air to circulate under the house and through the cellar; no joy!
After 5-10 minutes of head scratching I decided to stand back from the house and just watch where the duck called to try and ascertain where the duckling return calls were coming from.
What I next saw was quite unbelievable. On both sides of the front porch is a pillar which carries the porch roof and above each pillar there is a void and from one of these voids came the tiny, duckling calls!
Mummy duck had laid her 9 eggs in the safety of the porch roof, above one of the pillars, the ducklings had hatched safely but there was no way they were going to make it to the ground to join their mother.
And we then had the dilemma of the cats, all 8 of them, although the 6 kittens would just think they were fluffy play mates whereas “Tiger”, the Burmese, panther, hunter-gatherer male cat and the kitten’s mother, “big momma”, although she is only 9 months herself, would think Christmas 9x over had landed on their plates, literally.
So out came the step ladder, gloves (wild mother ducks are very protective of their young and quite vicious), cardboard boxes and quad motor bike! Having eventually got mother duck out (she had decided to go back up to her young whilst we collected our rescue equipment), it was then a question of getting the ducklings into a separate box, load them all onto the quad motor bike and transport them up the field, away from feline predators, to the secluded pond where they would have more of a chance of survival.
We have since checked on them and they are all merrily swimming around on the pond with their mother!
The next morning, I was woken up by what I thought was a lamb with a sore throat calling its mother. It turned out to be a greedy goat which had got its head stuck in the wire fence trying to reach the grass and nettles between the field fence and the chicken enclosure. Still modelling my pyjamas I put my wellies on and went to investigate, hoping that no guest would spot the crazy looking landlady in her pjs! The goat was rather awkward and it turns out impossible for me to get his head out, plus his horns were in the way, on my own. After breakfast, I had help to get him released. He hadn’t been there that long but long enough to realise he was in trouble; he had probably realised there was nothing else to eat there as he’d eaten it all and was getting stressed at the valuable eating time he was wasting for goats can be greedy, like most animals, and will literally, eat everything!
No day is the same at the farm and you never know what you are waking up to!