The Foxinator foisted some ducks on us (see Homestead Update #2). The ducks were idiots (see Homestead Update #3). Like most stupid things they wound up dead (see Homestead Update #4). There was one sole remaining clueless idiot survivor duck that Mrs. Curmudgeon pushed identity issues on (in Homestead Update #1). (She did this by shouting at it: “You’re a chicken understand? Just accept that you’re a chicken.”)
It seemed to work. The surviving duck, which had the size, shape, and intelligence of a bowling pin, started hanging out and acting like the chickens. Thus, his newest name, Bowling Pin Chicken. It really did seem to follow the lead of our wily seasoned veteran survivalist chicken (ironically named Fluffy).
The longer the stupid duck lasted the more I grew to like him. Each morning I found him standing around the back door begging for cat food. I’d be sipping my coffee and he’d greet me with a cheerful wag of the tail and a unique warbling sound that was his odd combination of duck quack and chicken cluck. He’d learned, under the tutelage of our hardened wilderness chicken resistance, to keep the noise down and try very hard to not sound like a duck.
Weeks passed and I grew fond of the little moron. He hung out under my smashed birdfeeder and quacked angrily at feeder raiding chipmunks that zoomed past him at twice his speed. Meanwhile the chickens (and the chipmunks) discovered a gold mine. The pigs!
Pigs are as lazy as teenagers and as sloppy as college students. Much of their feed ends up spread all over creation instead of becoming bacon (a waste that makes me fret). Fluffy figured this out early and started raiding errant feed from the pig pen. The other chickens took a month or so to figure it out but finally got the memo. Eventually I wound up with four pigs running and playing in the pen while a half dozen chickens hopped the fence and hoovered up any spare feed. (A sufficiently loosely run homestead is something of a self correcting system; wasted “bacon” feed was now becoming “eggs”. Cool!)
Bowling Pin Chicken, too dumb to figure out the fence, stood outside and looked sad for a week or two. One day his six brain cells fired and he followed the chickens, hopped over the wire, and started stealing pig feed.
A new balance ensued. Four pigs in the pen 24/7. Fuffy’s grizzled core of survivor chickens silently infiltrated the pen at dawn and vanished at dusk. The egg layers noisily joined the party when I let them out of their pen after my first coffee. In the middle of it all, a very confused duck with identity issues decided to become a pig.
Bowling Pin Chicken totally rejected the chickens and decided he was pals with the pigs. He had become Sub-Bacon. The pigs, each weighing a hundred times the duck, ignored him. The duck decided that a pig wallow was a perfectly cromulent place to swim and wound up with a mud colored bottom and an absolutely buoyant personality. He liked his new home and his pig buddies. He stopped leaving the pen. Why should he? Raccoons and such never mess with pigs. The pig ignored him. Plus the fence required too too many brain cells to navigate. His warbling odd pseudo-clucking noises went back to being a big loud quack. It reminded me of a combination of Gilbert Godfrey and Fran Drescher… but a very happy sound nonetheless.
I’d check on him over my morning coffee. He seemed to be thriving but I felt he was out of his league. Pigs are smart and they’ve got so much tonnage…
Sub-Bacon got more and more comfortable with the pigs. When I brought them a treat, the pigs would come thundering over with a quacking moron left in the dust but chasing them earnestly. The pigs would form an impressive mosh pit, pushing and shoving to get whatever morsel I’d tossed. Fluffy and her raiders stood back and waited for the dust to settle. The idiot duck darted right in. Watching the cheerful little two pound mental nullity waddle around in a half ton of charging bacon was too much. The little idiot was going to get trampled!
…and then eaten? Pigs will eat anything. The pigs ignored Sub-Bacon like sharks ignoring pilot fish but I just had this feeling that sooner or later a pig was going to reach for a mouthful of feed, find a duck’s foot and…. slurp… there would go my cheerful little duck.
One day I grabbed Sub-Bacon and heaved him over the fence. This pissed him right off and he spent the rest of the day quacking angrily at my truck.
The next morning he was in with the pigs again.
Then… nothing. It has been three days. I see no errant feathers. No sign of a struggle. No duck bits. The pigs aren’t talking. I have no idea what happened.
I miss the little moron. Bummer.