Horses, Cows, Chickens…and Pet Ducks

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Published: February 21, 2016 |

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I suppose I should add a few pieces of golden information to my ever growing list of “things I’ve learned since moving to the country.” Two of those being: You’ll be the only one in town with pet chickens, and definitely the only one in town with a pet duck. Actually, I take that back, there’s a little boy at the middle school who has pet ducks, and every time I substitute in his class, we talk nonstop about our pet ducks as if we are in some sort of club because we are the only two people with pet ducks. Meanwhile the other kids are hanging from the ceiling, or doing some sort of other forbidden thing like texting, or God forbid, chewing gum. 

Anyways, there aren’t very many pet owners up here in general, because animals are little furry workers who sleep outside and aren’t allowed on the couch, and definitely aren’t allowed to sleep on the bed (unless it’s a Chiuaua, for some reason they seem to live like Queens around here). Nope, they’re not pets, they’re tools. A dog is simply a dog, and a chicken is food. 

I’d like to take this moment to say that I should definitely not be considered a representation of the agricultural industry, because I have a huge mental gap between the food I eat and where it comes from. To me, the chicken I eat is most definitely not the same creature as Lady Gray. I nearly threw my computer out the window earlier this week when Pinterest suggested a pin for me: “How to Make A Kill Cone” WITH A PICTURE! Seriously Pinterest? I prefer “How to Knit Chicken Sweaters” please.

I suppose the point of this story is to introduce you to our pet duck, Eleanor, whom I got from a salon. 

We were both getting our hair done (well, feathers for her, obviously), and she looked over at me, and I said, “Hey, you look like a nice duck, would you like to be my pet?”

No, in reality, Nicole (the super awesome hair genius) at Hello Darling mentioned she was looking to re-home her duck, because her 2 year old son doesn’t understand the word Salmonella or “stay out of the duck pond”. Naturally, I said we would take her on the spot, without remembering Greg’s statement: “NO MORE ANIMALS,” until it was too late. Luckily, there’s lasagna for sticky situations like that. 

So a few weeks later, we picked Eleanor up in a cat crate, and buckled her in the back seat of the truck next to Cody. Cody is a Chessapeake Bay Retriever (aka duck killing machine), but he has an innate fear of feathers, so the entire trip home, he quivered like he’d just been beaten with a feather stick, appalled that we had the nerve to bring home yet another feathered sister. 

We got home, and step one was to clip Eleanor’s wings so that she couldn’t attempt a pilgrimage back to Reno. I had never owned a pet duck before, nor clipped a duck’s wing, but after watching this video, death seemed imminent for Eleanor. When a twelve year old YouTube star tells you repeatedly: “If you’re unsure of where to cut, do not cut your duck’s wings,” but you do it anyways, something bad is sure to happen.

A few days later…OMG Eleanor was losing all her feathers!!!! I had let the girl in the video down. I had let Eleanor down.

I began to draft a eulogy for Eleanor, and started knitting little black mourning sweaters for the chickens, kittens, and Cody, but then to our surprise, Eleanor grew her feathers back! Only this time, they were white and beautiful, and she looked like a winged goddess. Because she was molting. Something birds do. She was a bird. Right… and, I was an idiot. 

Eleanor’s feathers came back, better than ever, and she befriended Maria. She spends her days in her little pond, and doing other duck things. The other day I heard a huge noise, and I thought maybe we were under siege, but I peeked outside only to see Eleanor taking flight, zooming by the second story window. She can fly!? Of course she can fly Chloe, she’s a bird. 

The story ends on a happy note, and if you follow me on snapchat (@boxwoodavenue), you probably saw my bonding experience with Eleanor (and also wondered what would happen if I said “puff pastry” one more time), Eleanor and I are becoming real life friends! Yesterday was the first time she came up to me and was curious about what I was doing (evidence above). Or maybe she is just a blogger at heart, who knows? One thing’s for sure: we both love puff pastry. So from here on out, I will be trying to coerce Eleanor into becoming my best friend forever with puff pastry, and outdoor blogging. 

And that wraps up another week out here on the open range in the middle of nowhere, where people have horses, cows, trucks…and now, pet ducks. 

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  1. You have me crying I’m laughing so hard! We are just starting our own little farming journey and I am sure going to keep reading your blog to catch all your advice. I am SO loving this! Thank you for sharing about this WONDERFUL type of life :)

    Brenlee @ Life in Lake Street