Thursday, April 16, 2009

The end of a legend

Buddy
2001 - 2009

Today Buddy died. He'd had a stroke or small heart attack about a month ago, but recovered. The last few days his face was a lot darker than usual, often indicating that his heart wasn't pumping as well as it could or carrying enough oxygen to his lungs. He was found with his very best friend B.D. standing next to him, looking confused and a little lost.

Buddy and B.D. (Big Duck) were Muscovy ducks and brothers. I had eight of the ducklings from that hatch, both male and female since they were about two weeks old. About a year later a coyote attacked the little flock and killed all the females and one of the larger males. That left me with just three. Buddy, B.D. and Chester. Three males together is not a good mix and their were lots of fights. So Chester went off to befriend a Toulouse goose while Buddy and B.D. remained on the farm.

They were never apart for a moment. You never saw one without the other. They spent all their days together and their nights. They ate together, explored together, slept together and pretended to bathe together. Well Buddy got wet, but B.D. puts his head in the water and pretends he got completely wet. They're not strong swimmers and not dependent on water like many ducks.

They are very large ducks, almost the size of geese but extraordinarily placid and laid back. They move slowly and lounge in the shade whenever possible. They are quackless and hiss which to someone who doesn't know them, sounds menacing, but in fact its their version of quacking. They come to greet me when I get home like dogs, hissing and wagging their tails and bobbing their heads with crests erect. They liked to hide under the steps to the house, hissing when people walked up. For people who didn't know them, it sure made them move fast to think of 'monsters' under the steps.

Its just a duck you say. No. Buddy was much more than a duck. I can't explain how or why, but he was very different, as is B.D. They were the characters of the farmyard. Everyone who came would comment on them and ask for them if they weren't in sight.

They would catch mice and eat them and in fact become anemic if they didn't get enough protein. That led me to an adventure in buying dead mice from a pet store one day when we didn't have any 'fresh' mice to feed them.

Buddy, I will miss you, but I think B.D. will miss you even more.

21 comments:

Rose Welty said...

Jeanette, I'm sorry to hear about Buddy. You've written him a beautiful tribute.

K. Henderson Art said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Buddy. We had ducks and geese, suffered through the coyote attacks and finally had to find them a new home when we moved to an arid location. I miss my ducks. I hope BD will not pine too much from the lose

Teresa Mallen said...

What a sad day Jeanette. I am very sorry to hear of your loss. Buddy was with you for a long time and you obviously have some lovely memories. I hope you can take comfort in knowing that you gave him a great place to live his life. It will be difficult for B.D. but I am sure that you will find a way to give him some extra TLC. Your pictures are wonderful. My thoughts are with you and I'm sending you a big hug.

Jeanette said...

Thanks Rose. I know people just think he's a duck, what's the big deal, but he had character. I will miss him.

K, the number of ducks and other birds here are limited now because predators just make it so frustrating when they take them. I may try to find another friend for BD but don't know how he'll take to someone new. And he's such a big duck, he'd overpower any other breed.

Thanks for the kind thoughts Teresa. I get too attached to everything - even the animals that are destined for food. However Buddy was my baby and always made me laugh.

Billie Crain said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Buddy, Jeanette.:( I feel very bad for B.D. because he's lost his best friend. I'm like you....I get too attached to any animal(or bird). I'd have made a lousy farmer. I hope you can find BD a new 'buddy' somehow.

Laure Ferlita said...

What a sweet boy your Buddy was. Yes, he was more than a duck, he was a friend. And it hurts to lose a friend.

Healing thoughts to you and B.D.

Lindsay said...

I hope Buddy is re united with all his former female flock and is in Duck Heaven.

I can't tell you how envious I am that you have room for ducks, and other farm animals. Bees and Chickens...that's all I want from my tiny tiny postage stamp of land. But alas, Himself has put his foot down.

Sorcha said...

We're sorry to hear about Buddy :o(

At least he went from old age and not an attack.

And we hope BD does ok too. Can you hug a duck??

Sydney said...

I'm sorry to hear about Buddy. I remember you mentioning him and B.D. in previous posts. Hugs to you and B.D.

pencilportraits said...

Poor Buddy, we have a flock of muscovy ducks and they really are such big personalities. I'm sure Buddy will be sorely missed.

Felicity said...

So sorry for your loss. This is a lovely tribute to him.

vivien said...

a beautiful tribute bringing them all to life for us in words

Jo Castillo said...

Sorry about Buddy. Nice post and I hope you are feeling better.

Jeanette said...

Thank you everyone for you comments, they're much appreciated.

Life - and death - are part of life. They just seem to come much more quickly with animals and I see much more of them living on the farm.

I suppose I put human emotions onto animals at times where there may not be any at all, just intuitive behaviour.

Today BD seems ok. Eating, wandering around, greeting people enthusiastically. Maybe he's already done his grieving and has moved on.

Amie Roman said...

Ohhh. That is just so sad. I know that death is part of life, but it's not a happy part. My dad just lost all but one of his Muscovies this past month (probably coyote), and he's pretty blue about it, too. They're such a wonderful animal. It's tough to loose an animal fixture in your life.

Robyn said...

You gave your friend Buddy an excellent life, Jeanette. I'm so sorry that you now have to miss him but I hope you are comforted to know what a lucky duck he was to have been adopted by you.

Jennifer Rose said...

So sorry to read about Buddy :( he wasn't just a duck, he was your friend.

cathsheard said...

I am sorry to read this Jeanette - our pets do become part of the household - way more than "just" pets.
I know what you mean about worrying for the one left being fretting. We had a pair of Galahs (big pink and grey Australian parrots). They'd been together ten years. He died very unexpectedly this year. She fretted. We ended up getting her an unrelated type of parrot just for company. It seems to work ok...

laura said...

Oh what a touching story of companionship and comfort; my heart breaks for poor Buddy, and for you too!

Katherine Tyrrell said...

I could tell this was going to be sad right from the off and that this was a duck who meant an awful lot to you - and to B.D. too of course - it's a really lovely and loving tribute. I ended up with wet eyes.

Sheona Hamilton Grant said...

Jeannette, so sorry!.
Such a lovely tribute for a special chap.