A Duck Rescue 

When we got home from Michigan, and I went out to check on the birds, 4 of our ducks were missing. I could hear loud quacking in the distance so I followed the sound all the way across the State Route to the river on the other side. Yup, there she was, Bossy Pants, swimming around on the other side of the river. No sign of the others.  My mind was racing, what to do, what to do?? It was cold and dark and there was a river in between us – really, no chance I’d catch her. So I said a prayer she’d be safe overnight and I went home. 

The next day Josh and I went back with the 4wheeler and a net, hoping we’d find her still there. We picked our way back down to the bank but couldn’t find her at first.  We rode and walked down about a quarter mile stretch of river. A concerned neighbor gave us some binoculars to use since we’d forgotten ours at home. The task was made more difficult by the snow on the ground which acted as camouflage for our white ducks. Also there were loads of wild ducks and geese out swimming. 

Finally we heard Bossy Pants’ distinctive loud quacking up the river, and I broke out running. There she was! She’d gotten herself stuck in a partially frozen area. 

Josh joined me with the net but in trying to get out to her some tree branches broke and made a loud noise, scaring her so much that she broke through the ice, free out in the moving water. 

We went back for the rowboat. We tried and tried to either catch her or corral her over to the shore.  The thing is that our boat is old and cumbersome and we don’t even have any real oars. We had shovels!  What a poor plan thinking back on it but we were feeling desperate to catch this one duck knowing the others were almost definitely already dead. 

Exasperated, we finally decided it was time to throw in the towel. We got the boat out, and I looked back down the river to see where she was. She’d climbed out onto the shore. I told Josh that I was going to try our neighbor’s trail one more time and see if I could get close enough to net her. 


I got down to the water’s edge and there she was, tucked into a log resting. My only chance was to go in the water and block her from swimming away. Without thinking about it too much, in I went. Man it was cold (outside temps were about 10). Initially I thought I’d only have to go in ankle deep and I had my boots on but I was soon in above the knee. My boots were full of freezing water and my coveralls were saturated. 

I did it though. She watched me but didn’t move to escape. I didn’t even need the net. I was able to reach in and grab ahold of her then Josh came down and took her so I could climb out. My knees were getting stiff almost immediately. I was so happy she’d be safe though, I wanted to cry.


I’m guessing she and the 3 others were out ranging and found themselves being chased by coyotes. She made it to water but the others didn’t. I don’t know why else they would have wandered so far. Poor duckies. 


Life is hard. It warms my heart that we were able to save this one. 


My resolution for 2018: finish projects that have gone undone including that new duck house and a better fence system to keep our girls safer.

5 thoughts on “A Duck Rescue 

  1. Please I am in need of your advice. last year someone dumped to Pekin ducks into my gated community a male and female they gravitated toward my house I have been feeding them she began this year to make a nest and laid 20 eggs then later discarded 10 of them then she went down to just five when they hatched only two of them hatched . Fred and Ethel would bring the two babies on to my Lanai 3 to 4 times a day then one day there was only one and I was observing that Fred was being very aggressive toward the one. Later the neighbor lady across the lake had told me that she saw Fred pick the baby up and Shake him viciously . The next day when they came for their normal feeding there was no baby chick obviously Fred killed it is this normal behavior is there such a thing as jealousy please help me ,I really need to understand this behavior. I was so terribly sad to know that Fred had killed the only two survivors please help thank you so much Suzanne Malless

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    • Such a sad story. It is a fact of nature that sometimes the adults will take out the babies. We have only had a successful duckling hatch once and the mom stayed with the babies constantly which seemed to keep them safe until eventually a coyote got them. Same with our chickens. The broody moms usually keep a close watch on the babies. I don’t know what advice I can give you other than to try not to get too attached to them. It’s a dangerous world for Pekins since they can’t fly. They really are sitting ducks if they’re not locked up at night. The chances that those babies would’ve made it to adulthood without shelter were pretty slim to begin with.

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  2. Yes, I realize that but it’s also during the day that day as well, seeing that our lakes have alligators as well as otters.I guess my question is it Behavior that one is expected from the Drake toward the babies, or something else ???

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  3. Yes, I realize that but it’s also during the day as well, seeing that our lakes have alligators as well as otters.I guess my question is it Behavior that one is expected from the Drake toward the babies, or something else ??? I’ve been trying to find a home for them.

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    • It’s not unusual. we’ve had some drakes that were more aggressive than others but we usually get rid of them when they show signs of aggression like that because it’s bad for the flock, as you are seeing. I know that’s heart breaking to see the babies disappear.

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