I have been waiting to post an update on Drainpipe for the last few days because although he has grown enormously over the past 10 days, and that would have been worthy of a post in itself, I planned to try and reintroduce him and try and place him back with the ducks and chickens. I never like introducing new ones to the existing lot because I find my feathery friends are not friendly at all - at least not to each other, they do not accept newcomers lightly and in my opinion and can be very cruel during the initiation ceremony, sometimes killing the new ones if they are placed straight back with the others. This was not going to happen to little Drainpipe!
If I am introducing a new chick or duckling I would put them in the isolation unit inside the hen house from which they can see the others and the others can see them and leave them there for a few days before letting them out (under my supervision) and monitoring the introductions. Even with these steps there are usually some quite ugly scenes before all settles down and the pecking order is adjusted taking in the new members and so I was prepared for Drainpipe to get some stick from the others and because he was such a special fella I knew it would upset me if any of the others attacked him but also knew that his place is really outside with the freedom to roam, grab his own food as and when he felt like it and being able to dip in and out of the pond whenever the mood took him. So I took a deep breath and walked outside with him.
I put some food down for everyone and then put Drainpipe down - he seemed to join in without any fear (living with 5 dogs and a Sheep in Dogs Clothing (aka Dave - who we will discuss tomorrow!) for the first part of his life have probably helped develop this attitude!)) the other hens occasionally pecked him to move out of the way and the other Muscovy ducks grabbed him quite aggressively from time to time - this worried me because I immediately knew he was not going to be accepted by them just now and he needed someone who would accept him and provide protection if he was to go back at this stage. His mum, the white Indian Runner duck constantly called and I thought she may want her little one back but every time he went after her she would run away. Things were not going to plan just yet but I was not about to give up.
I stayed in the background watching him as he was ignored and/or pecked and tried to grab a bit of food here and there and whenever another bird moved he would follow until they realised and then turned on him. It was very sad to watch but after a few hours I decided to leave him alone and check every 20 minutes or so. Each time I checked he was sat alone - but unharmed which was all I could ask for really. There was never going to be a reunion with his mum and dad - too much time had passed but I hoped he would be accepted by someone. So when I looked out of the window and saw this...
|Dad and Drainpipe (the small blob)|
I was and still am gobsmacked!
I noticed his dad was affording him protection during feeding time and then I noticed him encouraging him into the water and over-emphasising the pecking of food which ducks and hens do to teach their young how to do it - usually its mum who does all this but not this time - Drainpipe's Dad had one thing in mind - to get his little boy back and his family back together.
|Drainpipe and His Mum|
And he did just that!