I’d Like to Wish Happy New Year, but…

One of our Khaki Campbell ducks striking a pose. One of our Khaki Campbell ducks died this morning. She became sick about two weeks ago. I took her to the vet, gave her medications, and syringe fed her baby food, but she didn’t make it. She would have turned 6-month old in three days.

It may seem strange to those who raise animals on a larger scale that I’m devastated by the death of one duck. Maybe I’ll get used to animals dying as I continue to engage in backyard poultry. Her death, though, is the first death I’ve suffered since I started keeping chickens and ducks in my backyard almost a year ago. Right now I’m just very sad.

She looked different before she passed away. Three weeks ago she was sleeping underneath the bushes with her sister. She was swimming in the water, flapping her wings, and quacking away. Toward the end of her life, she couldn’t stand up on her own legs, let alone flap her wings. It amazes me how quickly she became sick and passed away.

I took the picture above in September. She looks so healthy in the picture that I have a hard time believing that she’s gone. But she is. Keeping chickens and ducks in my backyard has been fun, but part of keeping them is that I get to witness their death. I think I’ll try to remember all the good times I had with her rather than her end.

Death is part of a life cycle, and life goes on. I hope everyone has a Happy New Year, and when faced with bad times, just remember the good times and keep on going.

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13 responses to “I’d Like to Wish Happy New Year, but…

  1. So sorry about losing your babe. Namaste.

  2. Thanks, Mean Girl. It’s been rough, but I’m slowly recovering. Gosh, I need to go back to yoga. I need some inner peace here.

  3. You wanna know what’s bad — I’m a yoga TEACHER and I haven’t been in ages! Although I don’t make resolutions, getting back to a regular practice is on my to-do list.

  4. I emailed you about this yesterday. Let me know if I need to send it again.

  5. Hey Jason,

    I just emailed you back. Thanks for looking out for my flocks!

  6. Hey Mean Girl,

    We could be going-back-to-yoga buddies so that we’ll actually go back!

  7. Yes, I need a motivator — email me!

  8. I will. I’ll email you on my yoga day and report back to you.

  9. I don’t think it is un-natural or unhealthy to mourn the passing of a duck. It is healthy to feel sadness when a creature in your care dies. It shows sensitivity and a sense of responsibility. The world would be a better place if even the owners of the largest flocks of ducks would feel the same responsibility as you do.

    Having said that, please don’t beat yourself up about it. There’s just no way to keep them all safe and healthy all the time.

  10. Thanks, Leah! It means a lot, coming from a veterinarian. I’ve been feeling like a terrible mom, but I’m slowly getting over it. Thankfully, the others are doing well, foraging away.

  11. http://www.arkansasbusiness.com/article.aspx?aid=111289.54928.123418

    Speaking of the lack of remorse over one’s flock… both literally and figuratively.

  12. Fast Food Nation had several chapters on how meat and poultry processors have no care for their workers. When they don’t care about workers, how could they possibly care about their animals? I just can’t bring myself to eat their chickens. Makes me so sad that some chickens are caged with no room to flap their wings. Having had chickens, I can never do that to them.

  13. Brooke Donnelly-Grzelak

    I’m sorry to hear about your loss. I can tell you that in my experience fostering and bottle feeding orphaned kittens for the past few years, even though the death of animals may be something that you come to expect, it is never commonplace and breaks my heart every time it happens. Sometimes it’s inevitable and you have to solace in the fact that you gave that animal a chance that it might not otherwise have had.

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