Make Way For Ducklings

I write this sitting in the bathtub. The bathtub is empty; I wouldn’t bathe with my laptop. That would be stupid. I have lined the bathtub with an old blanket, because My Fella took a shower in here this morning and it’s still a bit damp.

I am in the tub because of a box, which arrived at the post office at 5 am this morning (we received a voicemail, also at 5 am), and which I collected at 9, when the post office actually opened.

And here are the contents of that box:

"ducklings by hue"

How many ducklings do you see?

My Fella made a nice brooder out of a collapsible pool, and attached our inherited banana stand* to our towel rack to make a sort of truss that holds up the heat lamp. And then he filled it with pine shavings so that they’d have soft, dry bedding.

Ok, look, I know what you all came for. And you’ll have it. Just scroll on through my commentary and go straight to the duckling pictures. I won’t be offended.

"indian runner ducklings"

From what I understand, the ducklings were hatched on Monday, placed in a box shortly thereafter, and spent all of Tuesday in transit before arriving at their destination this morning (Wednesday). During their journey, they sat on a little heating pad and subsisted on a sticky green goo called “Gro-Gel”.*

"first contact"

This is both the reason they’re alive and the reason they initially had no idea what food is. As soon as I set them down in their little pen, they started trying to eat the pine shavings. I had to pick up each one and dip her (or his, we’ve got one drake) bill into the water dish before introducing the concept of duck feed — mostly by sprinkling a little bit into the water and letting them snap it up.

"the shadow"

Anyway, my tutelage seems to have been successful and they’ve now got it down to a science. As I speak, they are busy gulping duckling crumble and guzzling water with gusto. They feast like little avian pirates, throwing their little heads back and clacking their jaws as they flap their wing stubs and shake their (mostly nonexistent) tail-feathers. At times, they look almost animatronic.

Soon, they will probably take a nap — after they arrange themselves by color, of course. I’m starting to wonder if poultry aren’t just the tiniest bit racist (come to think of it, our chickens liked to group themselves this way, too, even though they’re of the same species). In the case of the ducklings, they’re all the same breed as well — Indian Runners — and I’m told that all domesticated ducks are derived from wild mallards, anyway. So really, these little ones have no excuse at all.

And…there they go.

"sleepy ducklings"

Good night, ducklings!

*There’s no money in this banana stand. Also, talk about statistically improbable phrases.
**Which is something I think my paternal grandmother would have appreciated, since family lore holds that she always felt personally cheated by the fact that scientists never achieved her personal dream of rendering all food into pill form, the way either NASA or the Jetsons promised. She literally went to her grave lamenting this fact, so strong was her antipathy to both cooking and eating. So Gro-Gel seems like a decent compromise.
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