Our March ducklings have officially arrived!
Kitty, having sat on her clutch for the last 36 days straight (except for a few breaks to stretch her legs on the warmest days), was finally able to see her ducklings this morning!
Knowing the day was near (we actually thought they’d hatch yesterday), we’ve been keeping a close watch on her behavior for signs of hatching and while she was a bit on edge yesterday, this morning was different. So we checked on her a couple of times and tried to give her some space to take care of the hatching ducklings as necessary.
After a mid-morning check in (and a few visible ducklings under her fluff) we ate some breakfast and drank some more tea before heading out again to see how it was all progressing.
We walked down full of excitement and hope only to be greeted by (are you ready for it?) and itty bitty duckling out of the nest, laying in the warm sunshine (about a foot away from Kitty and its siblings) and dead.
With no visible signs of trauma we loved and rubbed on the little guy until we were sure his spirit was (indeed) gone.
And so, with Ember brimming with excitement and confusion, we talked about life and death and how sometimes babies just don’t make it.
We talked about bodies and spirits and lifetimes and sadness and hope.
And there were tears and snuggles…
There were periods of bargaining and wailing…
And there were calm talks and full on denial…
And then there was acceptance.
And so, while that tiny duckling’s spirit is free, its little body was given back to the earth in a bed of straw, with a few purple shamrock flowers taken from our kitchen window, with prayers said for its smooth transition and better luck in its next life, and with gratitude given for the lessons it gave us in this one.
But with more sweet, fluffy, curious ducklings to count (as well as still unhatched eggs) and Kitty’s Good-Mama-ness to admire, the day was not lost.
As of this afternoon, we *think we counted eight live ducklings and four unhatched eggs. Tomorrow should give us a clearer picture of what our first set of farm babies of 2017 really looks like.
In the meantime, cuteness and hope and real-life lessons abound.
No one ever said this was going to be easy, but if we’re paying attention, the good always outweighs the bad.