When my daughter was about a year old, Cat and I decided to adopt some ducks. That might sounds strange but there was a small pond in our back yard and Cat thought it needed something. Ducks. Why she thought ducks, I’m not sure, but she was determined that we would get a couple hatchlings, raise them and release them in our back yard.
This started off as an interesting concept. We got a trunk, covered the top with chicken wire and picked up a couple ducklings at the pet store. They were ridiculously cute so it seemed like a terrific idea at the time. Little did we know about the craziness that would soon follow.
Within about four hours we realized that ducklings, while extremely cute, are still babies. They only do three things: eat, sleep and shit. What some people might not know is the duckling shit smells like shit (pun intended). It was awful. Within the first 24 hours they completely coated the bottom of their make-shift cage with slimy, runny, smelly duck shit. We quickly decided that their box needed to be moved from inside the house to out on the porch.
To clean the cage we would release the ducks in the kitchen with the door closed, hastily strip the news paper out of the bottom of the cage, hose it out and put new paper in. Then, we would have to chase the ducklings around the kitchen until we could catch them and return them to their now clean cage. The final step was to clean the ridiculous amount of duck shit around the kitchen they’d deposited in the 20 minutes we’d taken to clean their cage. And they shit so much that this process needed to be repeated every other day. Not fun.
As the ducks got older they got even cuter. It was hard not to like them, they were like yellow muppets that ran around and tripped over everything. Once the gained a little bowel control we let them run around the living room and play with our daughter. She would lay on the floor and the ducklings would hop up on her belly and walk around on her. We got a few extremely cute pictures from that time.
Then, almost overnight they went from cute ducklings to ridiculously bright, white ducks. Now, when we’d bought the ducks we didn’t realize they would be white, so this came as a surprise to us. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a white duck. Whatever, they were still ours. They moved to live on the porch until they got a little bit bigger.
Once they were close to full size we released them into the back yard. They took to the pond like… well, like ducks to water. They moved in like they owned the place and became neighborhood favorites.
We thought this would be the end of the story. The ducks were raised, they got big, they successfully adapted to the back yard pond. All cool, right?
Things around the pond were extremely peaceful for a couple weeks until a couple wild, brown ducks decided to move in. Ducks are pretty chill, everybody will get along, right? We’ll have even more ducks to watch.
Nope. Our white ducks were scared of the creepy, wild, brown ducks and the brown ducks decided these weird-looking white ducks needed to get the fuck out.
This is when we found out that these ducks (maybe all ducks, I’m not an expert) didn’t resort to typical violemce to resolve their differences. The brown ducks decided to rape the shit out of the white ducks to establish their dominance. What the hell kind of crazy ducks were these? We didn’t even know the sex of these ducks (who does?) but it was pretty obvious that violent rape was going on.
There was a very weird race war going on in our back yard, brown vs white, and it was incredibly one-sided. This was a stressful time for us, every day we were watching our precious white ducks getting the shit raped out of them by these crazy wild ducks. This went on for weeks. The white ducks wouldn’t leave, this was their home and the freaking wild ducks would leave them the hell alone.
But the story wasn’t over yet. You see, our ducks were juveniles when the violent sexual assaults started but every day they got a little bit bigger. And a little bit bigger. They went from being smaller than the brown ducks to the same size and kept growing. A few weeks later and the two white ducks were bigger, stronger and whiter than the brown ducks.
All the sudden the tables were turned. After weeks of being violently raped the white ducks took their revenge, they started raping the brown ducks.
Yes, the white ducks raped the brown ducks. They were just as hard on the wild ducks as the wild ducks ever were to them. So much for white being the more angelic color.
This was very troubling for us because our daughter kept asking what the ducks were doing. First she saw the brown ducks “playing rough” with the white ducks but now the white ducks were “playing rough” with the brown ducks. It was all very confusing to her tiny mind. I can’t say it was much better for the adults.
On one hand we wanted to cheer because our precious underdogs were suddenly winning the backyard battles but at the same time cheering on rape seemed wrong too. We watched these ducks that we raised from babies grow up, flourish, be victimized and then turn into sex offenders. I mean, we’d let these ducks play with our daughter, for god’s sake. It turned the stomach.
The brown ducks weren’t happy with the new situation, apparently they liked pitching better than receiving. Eventually, they realized that they weren’t going to regain their dominance and decided to leave. They flew off one day and never returned.
However, this wasn’t much of a victory. Or, at least it didn’t feel much like a victory. Imagine if Rudy ended with the victorious team gang-raping the losers. Yeah, it’s just not the same. But at least the epic backyard-duck-race-sex-wars were over.
Peace finally descended on the back yard pond and the white ducks took their rightful place as sole inhabitants.
From eating, sleeping, shitting ducklings to victims, to rapists, to rulers of the pond, thus is the life cycle of ducks.