On May 12th, I adopted two ducklings from a local farm in North Carolina.
At 4 weeks old, Manioc and Miondo were hardly ducklings but they still harbored childish behaviors that indicated they were very much children.
Manioc, the bigger of the two ducks, is definitely the calm one. Loyal and cuddly, she provides a lot of comfort to her brother, Miondo. She’s also an incredible jumper, and can easily escape her enclosure (which she does often).
Miondo is an a*shole. He’s a complete diva and is usually a nervous wreck. With the slightest thing, Miondo can get himself, and his sister agitated. If Manioc is being held, Miondo will jump right out of the enclosure with her.
I’ve found that ducks have incredibly unique personalities: rock music calms them down, thunderstorms and dogs are a no, and the duck siblings hate anything red. Red towels, red buckets, even the infrared light used to keep them warm. In fact, in the latest outburst from them, Manioc and Miondo complained about the rain, and upon rescuing them from the weather to return them to a safe box (and test out a new heat lamp,) they fled at the sight of the warmth and ran around the home NAKED.
Ducklings are a lot like babies: you can’t understand what they’re saying, they poop a lot with no preemption, and they cry at everything. There were times were at 4 in the morning, I’d wake up to cries of hunger, or just cries (for no particular reason), or to the time when I wanted to give them water and they kept knocking it over, and it made me so frustrated!
All of this made me realize I’m not ready for a duck or a baby. But no one is, no matter how many blogs you read, how many people you talk to, or how many times you search what can or can’t be done or eaten, you will never be able to quite understand what caring for a life is like until you do it for yourself. I can now distinguish the difference between a hungry cry, a conversation, and a ‘hey mama.’
It’s hard to be vulnerable and prioritize when you’ve got nothing to do it for. As the second oldest of four competent, and capable siblings, I don’t often find myself having to put the needs of others' care above my own. They could take care of themselves. We too often forget about the needs of others when we ourselves are good, but when we’re not, we learn very quickly how it feels to not be taken care
Nurturing something so unlike myself, lacking the ability to communicate in a method that I understand, was a humbling endeavor.
I was upset with my ducklings for not being able to channel their emotions and requests in a way that I wanted. Really, I had to learn how to change to understand them. Since of course, I am keeping them hostage and all...