It’s almost six weeks since Gabby was hatched and our duckling is growing like a weed. She has now, in human years, become a teenager. And is going through growing pains.
As with most young teenagers, life is so very tiring. We often find Gabby sitting and simply watching the world move around her. Or more often, asleep. She sleeps a lot. I guess it is all those sudden bursts of activity. They wear her out.
She is currently fledging, exchanging her duckling down for her duck feathers. It’s a painful process as the feathers grow they pierce the skin, coming through in calcium tubes. She then spends all her time, when not sleeping, pulling out the down and then breaking up the tubes, bit by bit. Finally a little feather is revealed. It’s a rather messy process, as all these calcium bits are strewn about. And a long process as she has to do each feather, one at a time. No wonder she likes to rest in between.
And our Gabby is a piebald. A wonderful mixture of brown and white. A unique combination of Maggie, a mallard, and Louis, our white call duck. So far her neck, wings and underbelly are white, whilst her breast looks like it is going to be typical mallard.
She has this amazing straight line across her tummy, delineating white and brown. (You can see it at the end of the video below.) It just makes you want to scoop her up and tickle her just to see it. Her back is still a fluffy brown down, so we wait with great curiosity to see what comes next.
She has the most enormous feet. And her duck bill looks a bit too large for her face. It’s also changing colour, from a dark brown to a current beige. Curious to see if it will go orange or not.
It won’t take long for her body to catch up to her feet, as she grows so fast. But until then, this is very definitely the ‘ugly duck’ phase. (Think unkempt, unwashed teenager and you got the idea.) And very soon, if she is a he, (and given the size of those feet, hmmm) his voice will change, too.
If she is a he, the voice will deepen and become raspier. Like a smokers voice. And Gabby will be renamed Gobby, according to Pumpjack. Sigh.