Calla the Blind Duck
Our family has ordered Welsh Harlequins from you on several occasions. Living where we do in Kentucky, our birds are pastured, and have the run of the neighborhood during the day, but are locked up at night against predators. They love being able to forage and swim in the creek!
We typically don't have any problems, but one day, we found that they'd wandered out to the road, and a passerby had hit a couple. One poor gal had a verrrry swollen head, but was still alive and sitting upright. We decided to treat her, and hope for the best.
I cleaned her head and eyes with Vetericyn, and kept her inside with another duck for company. (The other duck was decidedly unhappy about this, though!) The swelling around her head went down after the first two days. At that time, it was obvious that she'd lost her left eye, as it was flattened and distorted. We weren't sure about the other, so we continued to treat her.
During this time, she'd get regular swim time in the bath tub, and would drink readily enough, but wouldn't eat. That wasn't a large concern for us at first. As with people, water is most important for survival, but by the 5th day, it was time that she got something into her for energy. We did need to force feed her the first few times. I used some bits of boiled veggies and meal worms for protein.
It soon became obvious, though, that she couldn't see at all. The right eye's pupil never changed in size, and she didn't move at all when anything was brought near it. She was also becoming depressed (listless) without her flock. Now that the wounds had healed, we decided to at least let her in the run and coop for the evenings. In the smaller space, she was able to figure out where the food and water is by following the other ducks and feeling about with her bill. We were pretty amazed at how well she seemed to do in such a short time!
And that's when we decided that she needed a name. Someone suggested Calla, because the calla lily signifies death and rebirth. We thought it had an appropriateness, and so it stuck.
We had a problem, though. We have young children, ages 5 and 6. They are not necessarily the most diligent when going in and out of the run. We had 3 occasions when the kids let Calla out with the rest of the flock. She went out and foraged with the rest, but then, it ended up that the other ducks forgot to watch out for her ("I thought it was YOUR turn to watch her!" "I thought YOU had her!" lol...) As a result, she ended up a quarter of a mile away one day, out in our neighbor's field. Then - twice - she ended up in the creek by herself. The first time, we got the rest of the flock to her, and they helped her find her way up the bank. The second time, my husband went hip deep into cold water to snatch her out (bless him, yes! :) ).
This obviously wasn't going to work.
So, we happened to have a cat harness in the house. Yes, I know that they make duck harnesses, but - I had this readily available. Calla got the harness on with no issues. It actually fits quite well, and is hidden by her feathers. We then got a long coated wire lead - Wire because the run and surrounding areas can get muddy, and we needed the durability. Calla now has a 40' radius that she can use both inside and outside the run. She's learned where things are in that radius, and gets about very well! The other ducks are with her for part of the day, but yes, they do go off on their foraging sprees, at which point she gets left behind. She just finds a place to settle, and quacks after them occasionally.
We've been amazed at how well Calla has done, and how she gets about. We sometimes take our birds into local daycares and schools - one of which works with differently abled children and adults. Calla is going to be our gal for that, going forward!
Thanks for all that you do regarding ducks and geese! You're not just breeders, but wonderful educators as well.