Animals, Grief, Homesteading

A Violent End

“The Lord is close to those whose hearts are breaking; He rescues those who are humbly sorry for their sins. The good man does not escape all troubles–he has them, too. But the Lord helps him in each and every one.” (Psalms 34:18-19)

I found Dweezil duck’s remains beside the waterer last week. And I’ve been beating myself up over it. None of the ducks wanted to go into the barn that night but I played border collie and herded them inside, thinking predators might get one (or all) of them if I left them out overnight. Their resistance to going indoors and to their nest should have tipped me off. But, over-tired and over-wrought, I wasn’t paying close enough attention.

Some small predator ripped out his throat, scalped him and took out his eyes, too. Not sure what. The hole under the waterer was scarcely big enough for a chipmunk to get through. But through it this predator did get because all of Dixie’s eggs were gone, too. I’m guessing Dweezil either chased it to try to save the eggs (she’s been sitting on a clutch for a few weeks now), or else was trying to get out the door and away from whatever it was. Or maybe he was totally unsuspecting that it was waiting below him when he went to get a drink of water.

I’ll never know.

I’m guessing a rat, or a small weasel. There’s no way anything larger could’ve gotten in. I’ve checked carefully in case of a larger entry but there aren’t any. So Duncan and Dixie are bunking in with the goats right now. Not the best solution as I have to be extremely clever and sneaky when feeding the ducks or Felicity and Co. are thinking they’re getting an extra treat. But they’re safer than in their own space.

Until I can get it properly repaired and gnaw-proof.

I blogged last year about having to replace the floor in their area. The plan was to replace the wooden floor with a cement one. But under-employment and too many hours’ away from home made that next to impossible. I can’t afford to hire a handy man (or woman) and I lack the proper tools to do it myself. My best was to patch the floor where needed.

Obviously, my best wasn’t good enough.

And Dweezil paid the price.

The scary thing is Mom heard it happening. She was outside having a cigarette but she said it sounded like cats fighting. But not. Of course, grieving and upset, I asked her why she didn’t come wake me up. But, really, I was angry with myself. And, even if she had awakened me, could I have made it out to the barn in time to save him? Probably not. But I certainly would’ve tried.

Being angry at myself–or Mom–won’t help the situation any. Dweezil is gone and I am heartsick at how terrified he must’ve been in those last moments of his life. My poor boy! It’s a lesson. I’m not sure what. But there’s work to be done around here. Lack of funds? I’m going to have to call upon that ol’ Yankee ingenuity and find a solution that doesn’t set me back but truly is a solution. Tall order…a good dose of prayer won’t hurt either.

My poor Dweezil…Rest in peace, Sweetheart! You will never be forgotten.

(Dweezil is on the right)

May God bless you & keep you!

4 thoughts on “A Violent End”

  1. I’m sorry that happened to you! The sense of guilt can be hard to bear, but it seems like it happens to everyone at some point, no matter how well built the coop. 🙁

    1. Hello, Katie,
      True! And, in this case, I’ve recently discovered we have a fisher cat in the area. Apparently, what I thought was too small of a hole for a fisher, actually isn’t. And I found the entry hole in my fence last weekend so some work to be done. And, for now, the ducks are bunking in with the goats. The goats aren’t too happy about it but their floor isn’t half rotted from playing in their water the way the ducks’ floor is. Some repairs in the not-so-distant future. Thanks for the kind words!

      Lisa

  2. The hard hard lessons of farm life. Sorry to hear about this boy.
    I’m sure you will remember him fondly .

    1. Thank you, Laura! I do remember him fondly and always will. And, actually, since writing this post, I have discovered a fisher cat lurking in the area. Mom & I have heard its cries in the night. The hole was small but, apparently, they can get through pretty small holes. They are weasels after all. So I am on the lookout, taking extra care to get everyone into a safer place overnight; the remaining ducks won’t even go into their pool, never mind their barn. I’ve had to move the kiddie pool out of the duck pen, which is standing empty for now. A tough lesson, indeed. Thanks, again!

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