“How strange this fear of death is! We are never frightened at a sunset.”
- George MacDonald
A sketch done many years ago when I was still breeding Carolina Ducks (Wood Ducks).
I bred with these ducks (imported from America for breeding and as pets) for a number of years, always had about 10 pairs, each pair raising approximately 10 ducklings at any given time, or should I say, I would be raising between 50 and 100 ducklings at a time – they are very delicate and fragile when small, and have to be removed from the parents within the first day otherwise more than half usually don’t survive due to various factors like getting cold, wet or picking up some disease. I housed about 10 to a box, with a light to keep them warm and water in water-drinkers impossible to throw over, sometimes having 10 boxes to tend to. They would be pinioned within two days of hatching, otherwise you would have ducks (and then not indigenous at that!), flying all over the neighbourhood. Then, when they were about 12 weeks old, they would be released to the pond area, waiting to be identified as male or female at about 5-6 months old, when I could sell them as pairs. Each one had to be tagged with birth date and from which parents, so that one doesn’t pair a female with a brother, but made sure she was betrothed to a neighbour to keep the strain pure.
This unlucky little fellow was very weak right from the beginning and suffered a cripple little leg to boot and despite my tender care and pampering, died within 24 hours of hatching. It’s always a sad event for me when something like that happens, and I sketched him lying on the lawn before I buried him.
HB Pencil and Pilot Fineliner Black ink sketch in one of my Moleskine Nature Journals
From my portfolio of Sketches