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.