A duck for din­ner

A sick duck­ling takes to in­door life bet­ter than you’d ex­pect.

NZ Lifestyle Block - - A Country Life - David Brid­son

Cheeky was an ugly baby. When she hatched she was cov­ered in a cot­ton wool coat of golden down. She had orange feet like flip­pers and her beak was long, flat and cream in colour, in stark con­trast to her chicken broth­ers and sis­ters.

Her ban­tam mother fussed ten­derly over Cheeky and her own chicks. They snug­gled un­der her wings and ea­gerly gob­bled up the food that she crunched up for them in her beak and then spat out on the floor of the cage.

But one morn­ing we found one of the chicks ly­ing mo­tion­less. Cheeky was on her back, her feet kick­ing in the air. When Heather stood her up, one of her feet seemed to give way and she fell over again.

Heather moved the ban­tam and the three re­main­ing chicks into a new, clean run. But no mat­ter what she did, she could not stop Cheeky from fall­ing over so we brought her in­side to nurse her back to health.

On the floor of the lounge, Heather laid out tow­els and propped a col­lapsi­ble ta­ble and flat­tened card­board boxes to make a

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