The story of my ducks

As the week went by, the ducklings hatched one by one. First came Donald, then Daisy, then Huey, Dewey, and Louie.

Lakshya Jaiganesh

As the week went by, the ducklings hatched one by one. First came Donald, then Daisy, then Huey, Dewey, and Louie.

Lakshya Jaiganesh

The sun that shined on my face made me feel warm inside. It was like drinking hot chocolate that was cold on the top but steaming hot in the middle. It was a lovely afternoon in May. As my dad, my sister, and I played badminton outside, I glimpsed a cluster of white circles under a tree.

“Hey Daddy, look at those blobs,” I said. “They kind of look like eggs. Do you think they fell from the trees?

“Hmm,  I don’t know,” he said. “Let’s go check it out.”

I dropped my racket, and, with my father and sister in tow, rushed to the tree. My prediction was partially true. The blobs were eggs, but they didn’t have any cracks, so they couldn’t have fallen from any trees. I counted them, and there were 10 eggs.

My dad started panicking. 

“Uh…those look like snake eggs. That’s not good. Not good at all. I don’t want snakes. Snakes are creepy.” 

He frantically whipped out his phone and searched up snake eggs to see if he was correct. 

A few minutes later, we came to the conclusion that the eggs were duck eggs. My father was extremely relieved. My sister and I ran to my mother and told her our discovery. She immediately confirmed it, by stating that she saw a female duck sitting in the exact same area as the eggs a few days prior. We knew we had to do something with the eggs. 

“Amma, we can’t leave the ducklings out in the cold,” I exclaimed. “They’re going to freeze up and die.”

“Well, we can’t just directly bring them inside the house.”

My sister jumped in. “How would you feel if we froze up and died? Imagine how the mother duck would feel.”

“How would the mother duck feel if she returns tomorrow and sees that her eggs have disappeared?” My mom argued.

My sister and I sputtered. We didn’t know what to say. But we knew that the right thing to do was to bring them inside. So, as our last resort, we turned on the irresistible puppy eyes. 

My mom groaned. “Fine. We can wait for three days to see if the mother duck will come back, and if the mother duck doesn’t come back after three days, we bring the eggs in. Does that work for you guys?”

“But what if the ducks die in these three days?” I said. “Why can’t we bring them in now?”

“Oh my gosh, Lakshu, you’re so stubborn,” my mom sighed. “Look, it’s either this, or nothing. Be grateful that I’m giving you this option.”

I knew my mom could change her mind any second, so I agreed to her plan. “Okay, whatever you say.”

We weren’t sure what we would do if we brought the eggs inside the house, so after some research, my dad promised to buy an incubator online if the mother duck doesn’t come back.

My sister and I checked on the eggs every morning, just to make sure they were okay. But when the three days were up, and we went outside to get them since the mother duck hadn’t come back, three of the eggs were broken and licked clean. 

I was horrified. “Oh no, what happened? Did some animal sneak into our backyard and eat the eggs? I knew something bad would happen…I knew it.”

“It was probably that stupid cat from next door,” My sister commented, with a frown on her face. “That cat is always coming into our backyard and destroying our stuff.”

My father tried to comfort us. “W-Well…this always happens in the wild. We have to learn to cope with these things. Let’s bring the eggs inside.”

 We brought the remaining seven eggs inside our home, and put some towels on top to give some warmth to the ducks inside. My sister and I immediately started researching everything we could about ducks, while my father, staying true to his promise, ordered an incubator on Amazon. 

One day later, the incubator came. We read the instructions and carefully placed the eggs inside the incubator. My sister and I took a deep breath, prayed for everything to go smoothly, and turned the incubator on.

As the month went by, we continued to do research and took care of the eggs. According to various websites, you could shine a flashlight through the eggs to actually see the embryo. It turned out to be true. It was so cool being able to see the ducks and their hearts form throughout the month. Unfortunately, two of the embryos stopped developing throughout the month, meaning those ducks died. This left us with five remaining eggs. 

The week the ducklings were supposed to hatch, my sister and I stared inside the incubator 24/7. We were so excited because the whole scenario seemed surreal to us. Then…a small bill poked through the eggshell.

My sister was overjoyed. “Yes! Yes! One of the ducklings is starting to hatch!” She exclaimed. “I can’t believe this is actually happening!”

I stood there in shock. I couldn’t believe it either. I hadn’t expected the cheap incubator to work. I told my sister to be quiet, so we could take a video of the duckling hatching.

But as the first duckling squeezed his way out of the egg…he immediately collapsed.

“Oh my gosh…,” I breathed. “What just happened?”

My sister and I freaked out. Was the duck dead? What happened? We searched it up and learned that the ducklings get so tired when they squeeze out of the egg that they go to sleep after hatching. We calmed down and gazed at the cute, fluffy duckling for a long time. Once the duckling woke up, it immediately started quacking and running around! We were shocked. Whenever we walked away from the incubator, the duckling would slam its tiny, shiny bill against the incubator, trying to get out. It was incredible. 

Even though they weren’t our permanent pets, we wanted to name the ducklings. “Hmm…how about Gloria? I guess that sounds like a good name for a duck?” I wondered.

My sister disagreed. “I don’t know, that sounds kind of weird to me.”

We stood there thinking for a few hard seconds, when my sister suddenly interrupted excitedly. “Wait, I know! Donald, Daisy, Huey, Dewey, and Louie! It’s the Donald Duck family, there are 5 of them, and it brings back so many memories. It’s perfect!” 

It truly was perfect. 

As the week went by, the ducklings hatched one by one. First came Donald, then Daisy, then Huey, Dewey, and Louie. 

A couple more weeks went by, and the ducklings grew rapidly. We also learned the hard way, that they poop a lot. And that their poop is liquid. Nonetheless, we loved them. But it was time to give them away. 

My sister and I tried to negotiate with our parents. We wanted to keep Donald and Daisy, or even just Donald. But we knew we could never handle a full-grown duck in our suburban house. 

The only other option was to call the Michigan Duck Rescue and Sanctuary. They agreed to take our ducklings…but there was a catch. We weren’t allowed to visit them. My sister and I were heartbroken. We had formed such a close bond between the ducklings, and we couldn’t bear to never see them again.

My mom saw how sad my sister and I were, so she tried giving suggestions. “How about you give them to a farm? I’m sure you could visit them there.”

“Ohhhhh,” I breathed. “That’s a great idea! Daddy, can you call the farm that’s near our house?”

My dad called the farm and asked if they could take the ducklings, and fortunately, they agreed. We were happy and sad at the same time. We had found someone to take the ducklings, but they wouldn’t be living with us. But we knew this was the best option: for the ducklings and us.

So, the next day, we went to the farm and released the ducklings. Hopefully, one of the adult female ducks there would take Donald, Daisy, Huey, Dewey, and Louie under her wing (literally and metaphorically).

As the next month went by, we visited the ducklings every week, until they had grown to their full size. We knew that it was only a matter of time before they flew away to start a family. So we said goodbye to them, and returned to our daily lives…so they could begin theirs.