Patti had warned me that Muscovy ducks might not be the brightest of the animal kingdom.
The temperatures plunged this weekend, with highs in the low single digits and windchills at 20 below. When I went out to feed and water the ducks and chickens this morning, I had my usual 10 ducks plus the one little brown hen with the speckly white chest that’s been hanging out on the creek with New Drake. But no New Drake, and I figured he was a goner after last night’s bitter cold.
I went back out at noon with more hot water and there in the shed with the rest of the ducks was New Drake, looking like a big ducksicle. Clumps of ice covered his entire body, making it hard for him to even move. There was an especially big clump covering the top of his tail feathers.
So I grabbed him and carried him back to the house, tucked under my arm, careful to keep his wings pinned against his body. The garage attached to the house has a heated floor and we keep it about 45 degrees in there. I figured it would be warm enough to defrost him.
As soon as I got him in there he started picking at the ice on his back and wings, preening and grooming himself. And pooping all over my garage floor. Oh well. Every once in a while he would stretch up and spread his wings, flinging bits of ice around.
It took about 6 hours, but he finally got defrosted and dried off. I took him back to the shed with the other ducks and shut them all in for the night. Hopefully New Drake will stay put until spring.
And I thought this was supposed to be the “quiet” time of the year!