— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — The Tale of Two Stuck Ducks I was walking by the enclosure where Meenie and her duck family live, when an unusual movement caught my eye. There was something stuck in the fence. That was odd. There shouldn’t be anything there. I walked closer. There were two somethings, actually. Two plump little duck bottoms stuck in the fence, wiggling furiously as they tried to get through an opening much too small for them, back into safety and Momma. They must have squeezed their way through the opening between the fence posts and couldn’t find their way back in. I took one soft brown bottom in each hand and pulled, to the accompaniment of extensive quacking by two...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — The Experimental Duckling Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be too exploratory (too soon). I will explain……. We had a first here – after years of laying eggs and sitting on them, this July we had an Event. Our lovely brown female duck, Meenie, was finally rewarded for her patience. This was the second sitting of the year. The first one ended in the eggs disappearing one by one until she was sitting on one - and then none. It was hard to watch. Her patient hope and work ended in nothing, the shells of stolen eggs the only testament to what had happened or to the fact that hope had ever existed. If you ever watched the laying of eggs, that alone is...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — Brunnhilde the Hen: We have on the property some very strong-minded, independent and exploratory chickens. There is little that escapes their notice or their investigative interest as they wander the property seeking treats. We are not safe when we leave the office door open on lovely days...She doesn’t respect boundaries. (If only she could type…) Cherry blossoms enliven a local parking lot | Photo by Earthfire Glorious Blossoms: Every spring as I drive through the supermarket parking lot to get my mail, I pass these magnificent blooming cherry trees. There they grow, planted to beautify the lot, surrounded by asphalt, cars, exhaust, grocery...

I described how Gimpette, who had been an outsider to the clannish three of Flock #2, was now able to perch next to them because an new outsider, Orange, made her more of an insider. This has progressed. Here is a photo of Gimpette cuddled in a nesting box with Roadrunner…….

-- by Susan Eirich, PhD --

Many of you wanted to know the outcome for poor Orange. Here is a blow by blow ( or peck by scratch) description: Day 1- We brought Orange out of Adrianna’s enclosure the next day into the “open air pavilion,” as a neutral meeting ground. It is a fenced-in area next to the barn, the ground covered with hay. Her flock loves to hang out there when they are too disgusted with the snow.* We locked them into the inner barn, and opened the adjoining door to Twisty’s flock. Stunned silence. No action. They had never been in the pavilion (they have their own run). They didn’t come out – and Orange didn’t go in. There was studied indifference on both sides though we caught a few...

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