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A little orphan to take care of for a while.

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Post  Brent Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:58 pm

My Wife and daughter found this mallard duck chick abandoned on our gravel road this afternoon. They waited at a distance for a while but no ducks where in sight. It was shivering and not looking real well. So they brought it back to the house and put it under a heat lamp.

After a couple hours it's doing much better as has been swimming in the water dish. So they will have yet another wild critter to raise and release. It seems at least once a year we have some injured or orphaned critter to take care of. But my wife has a very high success rate with them and only one that didn't make it in the last 20 years.

My daughter has named it "biscuit".

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Last edited by Brent on Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  Guest Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:04 pm

well done!

i hope biscuit makes a full recovery.

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Post  Brent Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:10 pm

Our local feed and tack store seems to have everything. They actually have duckling starter food. And they are pretty low maintainance so he should do just fine. We will release him in our larger pond when he gets old enough.

And of course my daughter is always tickled to have a baby wild critter to take care of.
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Post  Paradox Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:13 am

Ahhhh...

Hats off to your family for having a open home and open hearts.
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Post  lesherb Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:28 am

He is beautiful! I hope his brothers and sisters are safely with their mother.
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Post  Brent Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:26 am

He/she was probably dropped by a hawk or eagle. We have not seen any ducks around for two days now so there is a predator in the area. With two ponds we have ducks and geese coming and going all the time. But they routinely briefly disappear every so often hiding until the eagles, hawks or coyotes are gone.

Any time my daughter has a small critter to take care of it's a great education for her. Too many kids grow up with only a Disney reality or idea of wildlife. It's not always cute with a happy ending.

Last week she saw a red tailed hawk swoop down and grab a wild rabbit then fly back up into the trees. She was very impressed with how fast the hawk was and that it probably had babies up in the trees to feed. I know far too many kids her age that would be in therapy now if they saw that first hand.

She also knows that "Biscuit" probably also came close to being some raptors appetizer.
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Post  lesherb Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:33 am

Won't the duck bond with your daughter? That could be a problem with it surviving on its own.
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Post  Brent Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:20 am

We have released a lot of critters over the years and we make it clear to her that they are not pets. The end goal is for it to go back and live like it should. She handled the last wild rabbit release just fine without any misgivings. She knows they would not be happy or healthy being kept as pets.

I doubt the duck will bond with us. As soon as it's turned loose at the pond it will be on it's own and will be around all the other wild ducks. It will be about 5-6 weeks before we release it. Within two weeks we will taper off the starter food and start feeding it the native vegetation around here so it learns that is food and not the starter feed.

We do the same with the wild rabbits as soon as their teeth come in. We pick the exact weeds in the exact area the wild ones hang out. So the transition is not traumatic. It just keeps eating the same food as it has all along since weening.

My wife's mom is a licensed wildlife rehabilitator and she grew up seeing how the different critters have to be taken care of. So far only one injured seagull didn't make it. All the rest were released in perfect health.

She has cared for baby raccoons, possums, weasels, owls, rabbits and even a coyote cub.

Her mom breeds pygmy goats just to have their milk on hand. It's seems to be the universal baby animal formula and they do very well on it. And she is always a great consultant if we have any questions.


This is a baby rabbit we had last year the we found with a huge cut on his back. My wife cleaned it and closed it up with Steri Strips. We kept it covered with antibiotic cream for a week. It healed up great and he was released six weeks later.

The day he was released.
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And the last pic of him before he disappeared into the brush.

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Last edited by Brent on Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:48 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post  lesherb Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:47 am

I wasn't referring to your daughter having a hard time. I meant the bonding (imprinting-better word) the duck will do. Don't they imprint on their caregiver/mother?
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Post  Brent Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:51 am

I suppose it could happen but it's still going to be released. Sort of a tough love attitude. That's still better then to have left it on the road to be eaten by the next coyote or hawk that came by. It's making the best of a bad situation of it being separated from it's mom.

And it two weeks we will be getting a Mackenzie River husky pup which will distract her and keep her occupied after the duck is released.

We are going to be part of a native husky breeding program to bring them back to the original breed of freight dogs. Since the early sixties the native huskies have been interbred and the original genetics are disappearing. The pup is a seventh generation prodigy of Balto. He was the sledog team leader that delivered the diptheria antidote to the remote village back in 1933.

We will be working with my wife's mom who is subcontracting with Donna Dowling http://www.sleddogcentral.com/mackenzies2.htm This will be a great experience for us to have a little living piece of history and to bring back an ancient working breed of dog.
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Post  alli Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:21 pm

That is so cute! Kudos for saving him/her.
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Post  HeelerLady Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:34 pm

My first question - ever feel like Dr. Doolittle? I've raised orphaned kittens but never attempted wildlife, my hat's off to you.

About the husky's - way too cool! Not sure what I'd ever do with one but great that you are trying to conserve a breed that is almost extinct. Really enjoyed reading about their history and have a love for working dogs, hence the heelers. Smile
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Post  crt Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:40 pm

Thanks for the story and the beautiful photo Brent. As you might have gathered, I love birds. All of them. I happy to hear that you have been so successful with wild birds and other wildlife. You and your family are so wonderful.

Chris
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Post  Brent Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:24 pm

Thanks! The credit really goes to my wife and daughter who are the consummate animal lovers. I am the helpful, tolerate hubby/dad that does what I can. Which means bottle feeding a rabbit at 3:00 AM. I would rather wake up to that then live in the city or burbs and wake up to some thumping car stereo or sirens.

I am looking forward to the husky pup. His dad has a lot of wolf in him. I had a wolf hybrid but he died a few years ago. So it's time for another fuzzy buddy.

This is Tony the pups dad.
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And the pup on the front left is the one we are getting.

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Three of the four females will go back to Fairbanks and my mother in law will then pick up another adult female to bring back and breed with Tony. She makes that trip on the AlCan highway 2-3 times a year. Donna Dowling wants to see her project mostly completed in her lifetime. So she has lots of volunteers helping to accelerate the program and I am more then glad to be part of it.
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Post  tecky Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:16 pm

Tony is a beautiful boy! The picture of your puppy didn't come through on my computer, however.

Nurturing injured animals is a great life lesson. I'm sure it's difficult letting them go even when you know it's what is best for them (kind of like one's children leaving home).

Bless your family for all you do for these animals.

Becky flower
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Post  pen Thu Apr 29, 2010 5:18 pm

This world needs more like you and your family Brent.
Such good work......thank you. Smile

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Post  Cathy Fri Apr 30, 2010 12:16 pm

Animals just make our lives so much richer, don't they? I had a schnauzer that I had to put to sleep two years ago and said no more animals until I retire. She was 14. Then a friend of my daughter's found this matted (groomer said matted with feces), starved dog with fleas, hookworms and scent glads so infected they bulged out his rear. I thought it was another schnauzer and called my former groomer and I was right. I couldn't get rid of him so then I had a dog.

I decided he needed a companion and to further complicate my life, got a rescue that was dumped from one of the hundreds of closing puppy mills. She hid behind my sofa the first two weeks, threw up every time she got in the car and was a basket case. She's come a long way in two months and lets me hold her for short periods although she doesn't enjoy cuddling. Everything scares her and confuses her but she's coming around and my other dog loves her and they're very bonded.

So for two dogs there is a happy ending and they've brought a lot of joy to my small life with migraines. I saw a bumper sticker that said, "Who rescued who?" and that's exactly how I feel. We make the world a better place when we help out animals. Good for you, Brent!

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Post  HeelerLady Fri Apr 30, 2010 12:25 pm

Noona wrote:
I decided he needed a companion and to further complicate my life, got a rescue that was dumped from one of the hundreds of closing puppy mills. She hid behind my sofa the first two weeks, threw up every time she got in the car and was a basket case. She's come a long way in two months and lets me hold her for short periods although she doesn't enjoy cuddling. Everything scares her and confuses her but she's coming around and my other dog loves her and they're very bonded.

My one heeler was like this. I've had her just over 2 years. She was 80# when I got her, could barely walk, had no obedience skills, was (and still is) big dog aggressive and was afraid of everything. Now she's 53#, full of energy, knows general obedience commands and is still afraid of things but is better. She used to be terrified of trash cans and the garage door (because it opens). So she may jump at things but she doesn't beeline for her crate any more. The aggression issues are also getting better. Patience goes a long way with any dog. Good for you for giving her a home Noona. Smile
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Post  Brent Fri Apr 30, 2010 12:25 pm

They do find a way to wiggle into our lives for sure. It's amazing how they are finding humans had dogs and cats as pets clear back before neolithic times.

Or the Egyptian pyramid painting showing a cat under the dinner table waiting for something to be dropped. They haven't changed in 4000 years.
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Post  alli Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:26 pm

The sure haven't! My cats have an addiction (that's the only thing I can call it) for SlimFast. As soon as they see the can, they are all over you. And heaven forbid if you put it down and turn away. They will be licking the top as soon as my back is turned. I have no idea why they like it so much but it's like crack to them! lol!

And when we have sushi.... OMG!, Covey just sits there, inching ever closer, looking at you with these pleading eyes for just a little bit... puuuullleeeeeeeease!
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Post  Brent Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:19 pm

Slimfast? How strange.


This is how he/she has been sleeping today. In the water dish. Just before I got the pic h/s had it's beak resting on the edge snoozing away.

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Post  MaryAnneLive Fri Apr 30, 2010 9:25 pm

So adorable! Thank you for sharing!
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Post  Brent Fri Apr 30, 2010 9:44 pm

Could you call that a water bed?
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Post  alli Sat May 01, 2010 11:32 am

That is soooo cute!

Yeah I don't know why Slimfast but man they go crazy for it. I chalk it up to the inscrutability of cats.
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Post  Cindy*W Sun May 02, 2010 11:13 pm

How lucky those animals are that you are willing to help.

What wonderful things you are doing.

Thanks so much for sharing them with us.

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