A new pet makes life more interesting

I had just arrived home, and my roommate, Raina, looked down at me from the top of the stairs.

I had just arrived home, and my roommate, Raina, looked down at me from the top of the stairs.

“I’m so glad you’re home!” she said, walking down the stairs towards me. She extended her hands and opened them to reveal a small black duckling, covered in downy feathers. Apparently too little to quack, he squeaked a greeting.

Raina had purchased him at an agricultural show in Wetaskiwin, along with five fertilized eggs and an incubator. They are due to hatch in a month. In the meantime, the duckling is more than enough to keep us occupied.

It turns out that ducks and geese imprint very strongly on their caretakers and think they are the same as them, whether the caretakers are humans or birds. Even though our duckling seems to think he is human, he is still very much a duck, and behaves as one. He follows us around the house the same way ducklings follow their mother. When he gets lost, he squeaks for us to find him.

He also likes to swim in a bowl of water. The first time he did this, he dove underwater, splashing it everywhere, including over us. When he’s done, he struggles at the side of the bowl to get out, squeaking for help. He is too little to climb out himself, and he can’t fly because his wings haven’t developed their flight feathers yet. When we take him out, he stands up high on his webbed feet and flaps his wings and wiggles his tail.

We have been experimenting with different foods for him. In addition to his regular millet, we’ve been feeding him fruits, vegetables, and cooked egg with varying degrees of success. He loves the egg, and most of the vegetables, but doesn’t seem to like any of the fruit. He takes it from us and then lets it fall onto the floor. He always needs lots of water when he’s eating, and seems to like stirring it with his food to make a “soup”, as Raina calls it.

It’s all very cute. Raina likes to take care of animals, and a few days before she got the duckling she brought home 14 chicks. After a week, she gave them back to the woman from whom she’d borrowed them, but for a time the duckling slept in the same box with them. She set up a heat lamp, and they all huddled together underneath it.

Most of the chicks were grey, or yellow with black speckles, but my favourite chick was completely yellow. I christened him Peep, after the Easter candies. Raina and I took Peep and the duckling out of their box and put them together on the floor, where Peep promptly began chasing the duckling, who ran up onto Raina’s lap for safety.

I would never have known that ducks make good pets, but I am really enjoying the opportunity to have one around now. When we first got him, he was less calm when we held him, but the more time we spend with him, the more trusting he has become of us. It’s a very rewarding thing to see, and whenever I hear that little duckling squeaking for us it makes my mood that much better.

Just Posted

Hard fought win for HJ Cody senior boys Lakers

Lakers took on Camrose Jan. 10 at home and waked away with a 76-65 win

Hope restored: Sylvan Lake resident receives kidney donation from younger sister

Sylvan Lake’s Lexie Libby undergo an operation for a new kidney, donated by her sister Emma.

Anglers reminded to register ice huts on Sylvan Lake

Lacombe County is reminding anglers to register their huts with the “Take it Off” program

WATCH: Pro-pipeline convoy travels through Sylvan Lake

Over 600 vehicles drove the route from Red Deer and back on Jan. 12

Sylvan Lake library hosting fifth annual XOX Valentines Party

The ladies only event will be held at the Sylvan Lake Municipal Library on Feb. 1

UK lawmakers reject Brexit deal in 432-202 vote

House of Commons votes against the deal struck between Britain’s government and the EU

WATCH: World-renowned illusionist, magician, escapist performs in Stettler

Matt Johnson performs two sold-out shows at Stettler Performing Arts Centre

Olivia and Liam top list for Alberta baby names in 2018

Premier Rachel Notley announced the top baby names in Alberta in 2018; Loki didn’t make the cut

Edmonton Police charged 236 people with auto theft in 2018

Police states many of the thefts are crimes of opportunity

Official torchbearers for 2019 Canada Winter Games announced

Canada Games officials open time capsule from Grande Prairie Games in 1995

Sylvan Lake Municipal Library encourages residents to Read for 15

Read for 15 is an annual event held in connection to Family Literacy Day.

Alberta Health Services, United Nurses of Alberta reach agreement to settle union grievance of nursing staffing shortage

Settlement includes the designation of 11.7 full-time-equivalent Registered Nurse relief positions

Woman’s complaint leads to sexual assault charge against Calgary priest

Malcolm Joe D’Souza, who is 62, has been charged with one count of sexual assault

Most Read