Splish Splash...Four Ducks Taking a Bath

Got water? Just add ducks! Not only are they natural swimmers, they absolutely love it. The first time I gently placed each feathery duckling in the dogs’ green plastic turtle pool, they explored their new environment tippy-toe style on their webbed feet. Gingerly they each removed one foot and then the other. Suddenly four perfect baby ducks floated on the water’s surface.

Later I added old tile “pilings” to the water and a makeshift wooden ramp on the outside so the ducks could easily enter and exit their turtle “pond”. I laughed out loud as each duckling tested their water skills with such Olympic feats as diving, underwater record-breaking breath holding and free-style swimming.

It was immediately obvious that the largest of the four ducklings had mastered the art of water-proofing. Its feathers were perfectly dry while the other three had dripping yellow fluff plastered to their shivering bodies. Goose bumps were visible and their water time needed to be limited. Over the next few days, each duckling added water-proofing to their preening routine and all expressed a firm preference to remain in the pool instead of dry ground.

Their growth during this short time surprised me as their bodies’ lengthened legs and webbed feet thickened and they abandoned their futile attempts at swimming in their water bowl. I suspected that the ducks may have been a bit older than my earlier estimations.

As the Englishman steadily worked on creating a more suitable indoor and protected environment, we began to leave them in a roughly constructed circle of cinderblocks layered in three rows. I added a piece of lattice to prevent hawks and other predators’ access to a duck buffet. The plastic green turtle pool took center stage and was a crowd pleaser.

The ducklings were quite content with their outdoor play pen and happily floated in their pool from sun-up to sun-down. When I scooped them up at the end of each day to return them to their indoor quarters, they loudly peeped their displeasure with me, but quickly resigned themselves to their other favorite activities of eating and sleeping. I would check on them once more before turning out the light, pausing briefly to listen to their peeps and chirps while they gently dreamed of water.

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