Elizaduck and Marguerite
Elizaduck and Marguerite
Baby ducks
Duct tape and duck
(Young Lucky helping Doug pack for a climbing trip)
Doug and ducks
Doug offers the ducks a treat
Bet and Lucky
Doug kept this picture of
Lucky and I on his desk at work
Lucky the Christmas Duck
Lucky the Christmas Duck. He had ten minutes of fame when his picture was reprinted in the Hartford Courant.

Doug and I both loved animals. We often went to the local grain store together to get chow for Marguerite the Goat.

Doug got Marguerite used. Her owner moved away and abandoned her. Doug had a barn, and decided to adopt her.

Marguerite was in our wedding. She wore silk flowers around her neck (which she ate during the reception.)

On one of our many trips to the feed store (Marguerite was a big eater), we noticed a bunch of baby ducks for sale. Doug and I thought they were adorable. After some begging on my part, we talked about maybe getting a few for our little farmstead. However, we didn't know much about caring for ducks. Doug, ever the Voice of Reason, wanted me to research duck husbandry first. He also thought it would be wise to wait until the weather warmed up.

Several weeks later, I received a heartbreaking phone call. The father of one of my best friends had committed suicide. WG was a very special, brilliant, caring man.

I laid in bed, weeping for WG and for his family. I knew from personal experience that this kind of loss leaves a wound that never heals.

Doug told me he had to run out to do an errand. Shortly afterwards, he came upstairs with a small shoe box. Inside were two tiny baby ducklings - a boy and a girl. He had gotten them to cheer me up.

We named our first two ducks Elizaduck and Duckless. Duckless turned into a handsome duck, with an iridescent green head and gray body. Elizaduck was a kooky critter. She developed an extremely loud quack that echoed throughout the valley.

One day, a runaway dog got into the yard and killed Duckless. Doug and I were very upset. We buried him in the back yard. Elizaduck was distraught. She became clingy and sort of neurotic. She followed us everywhere and wanted to be held all the time.

We kept Elizaduck in the pen with Marguerite the Goat. Marguerite grew quite attached to her. She would pick Elizaduck up and carry her around the pen. For some reason, she pulled out a lot of her tail feathers and ate them. Marguerite would cry when they were separated.


Eventually we got more ducks. We named them all - Dumbo, Puzzles (because our two year old neighbor couldn't say Puddles), Looney, etc. They are all Khaki Campbell's, a breed that makes a great pet. They have silly personalities. They are friendly. Doug loved to tease them into quacking up a storm while he fed them from his hand.

Khaki's crank out eggs, which are quite tasty. I love to eat the eggs and bake with them. Most of our friends won't touch them though. Maybe it's our motto - "Straight from our duck's ass to your table."

Unfortunately, since we live out in the country, a lot of our ducks ended up getting eaten by the raccoons, foxes, Red-tailed Hawks, fisher cats, bobcats and coyotes that roam the quiet corner. I understand and appreciate that wild animals need to eat. I just wish they wouldn't eat our pets.

Doug and I mourned every loss. We grew tired of "Death in the Valley." Often we would say "no more." It was just too hard. Then we would fold. We were both saps.

We also went through several goats. We got a young kid we named Peanut to keep Marguerite company, as she was lonely after Elizaduck was eaten. Then Marguerite croaked and left Peanut lonely.

Young Peanut was eating a lot. She kept getting fatter and fatter. She looked like she had swallowed a 55 gallon drum. However, Marguerite was like that too, so I figured it was typical. One morning I went down to the barn and found TWO goats! Peanut had apparently been knocked up when we got her, and we never knew it.

Now we had Peanut and Macadamia. Macadamia contracted a weird illness the vets couldn't diagnose, and died. So now Peanut was lonely. We quickly learned that a lonely goat is a difficult goat.

So we got Butter - half alpine, half pygmy goat. She is a loveable goat. Then Peanut died, perhaps after getting into some Deadly Nightshade. More Death in the Valley.

After that, Butter decided she was a duck. She became part of their flock, and they became her herd. We allowed them to free roam together in the yard. Butter protected them from attack, and we stopped losing ducks.


Maybe about seven or eight years ago we ended up with Lucky in one of our duckling batches. He did not look like the original Duckless, but was handsome in his own right. He had bright orange feet and a golden-brown body.

Lucky was the alpha male. He amassed quite a harem. All the females hung with him. At one point he had five wives. That is why Doug named him Lucky. (Our neighbor said he should have called him Poor Bastard.)

Lucky was bold and had endless energy. He would chase all the other males away from his females. He was also a relentless bang-aholic. He amused Doug no end. Lucky was definitely his favorite duck.


Three months after we lost Doug, I was on my way back from picking up Tenzing the Cat at Doug's parents. They cat-sat while I was away on work travel. As I drove into the driveway, I saw my neighbor Dirk walking up. He didn't look happy.

A loose husky (dog) had just run through our yard and killed two of the ducks, despite Butter the Goat's attempts to defend them. Fortunately, the neighborhood men came to the rescue and rounded up the remaining birds. Two other ducks had disappeared - including Lucky, Doug's favorite. To date, he had always escaped being eaten by predators.

Doug would have been very sad to lose him. I felt so weary of Death in the Valley. Why is there so much sadness in the world? Of course, I know things could be way worse for me. I could be living in a hot, humid earthquake disaster zone with a house that was converted into a pile of rubble, amputated limbs, with no choice but to stay in a camp where there are no bathrooms and everyone has diarrhea. But things could also be way better.

Dirk and I searched for Lucky and other missing for hours, to no avail.

That night I left the lights on, just in case one of the missing would find their way back. However, I was not hopeful. In the past, when ducks disappeared, if we didn't find them that day, we never saw them again. It's a rough world out there.


The next morning, my good friend and fellow Duck Owner Reva called first thing. She had heard about the dead ducks, and offered to donate three of her girlie ducks to the Z flock. I was ambivalent. I didn't know if I could do this anymore.

Then I went outside to the duck-goat pen, to feed and water the remaining ducks and Butter.

I was shocked and thrilled to find Lucky the Duck waiting by gate to the fence!

I have no idea how he made it all the way back home. In the pandemonium he had flown off about 1/4 mile at least. Khaki Campbell ducks are not good flyers (which is one of the reasons they often get eaten by predators), but a neighbor said he was flying as high as the tree tops.

I thought of how happy Doug would have been! For the first time in three months, I actually felt hope. I thought that maybe, just maybe, there could be joy again.

Lucky had a broken wing and a broken leg. I put him on a cushy straw bed in a hutch, with one of his multiple wives for company. He rested peacefully.

However, he wouldn't eat. I didn't know if he would survive. At least I knew he wouldn't have to die alone in the woods.


That evening, it turned out that one good day was still too much to ask for. I buried Lucky.





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