Ducks, revisited

Once upon an earlier time, on another occasion when my better judgment had abandoned me for a few minutes, I  fell prey to colourful little dyed chicks. They were being sold ridiculously cheap and I thought Amu would get a kick out of them. At the time, I didn’t think that the chicks would eventually grow normal feathers, would stop being cute, and that we would eventually have to think about getting rid of them. I mean, chickens in a small 6th floor apartment? Really Mun?

Mazzy was shocking pink and Zally was bright green. We kept them in a little cage and allowed them to run around the house a couple of times a day, pooping wherever they went. They pecked frenziedly at their ‘bajra’ at feeding times and had the cutest way of dipping into their water and glugging it, raising their beaks to the ceiling.

To cut a not-very-long story shorter, I gave them away to eldest Sis+nephew, who in turn gave them away to their neighbour, where they were attacked by cats. Alas…the ways of the food chain.

Did I learn a lesson? Apparently not, since fast forward a year or two and I now had two ducklings on my hands.

Hill Park with its duck pond could have been perfect, but ultimately I couldn’t just leave them there. I suppose we were more concerned about their well being since they had stuck around longer and raised more hell than the chicks. I had no desire to inflict them on any of my family or friends knowing how much trouble they were. But no matter what, I couldn’t let Apple and Cherry become cat food. Even though I’m more a cat person than a duck person.

A not-too-distant memory crept into my head. The preschool Amu went to a couple of years ago (when she was 3) had a big cage in the corner of its garden. Had there been ducks in there? It was only a vague recollection, but it was worth a shot. 

Mrs G was the principal, the dragon lady of the montessori circuit, known for her stern disposition and no-nonsense demeanour, since her preschool was one of the most-sought-after. This was where Amu cried inconsolably on her first day, spent a year learning her phonetics, colours, patterns and shapes. This was where she learnt to share a sandbox with other children, and where she learnt to pour water from a jug and how to colour within the line. Parents queued up to have their babies registered here while they were in the last weeks of pregnancy. This way they could at least make the waiting list. It was alleged that babies from Mrs G’s school had a greater chance of getting into The Most Sought After School in Karachi. (Amu did.)

I mustered up the bravado that propels a lot of my actions (I am intimidated by people in positions of authority) and called Mrs G to meekly ask if her bird cage would accommodate two adorable ducklings, and wouldn’t the preschoolers be fascinated by the new additions? I wasn’t sure how I expected her to respond but I am predisposed to pessimism, so when she said I could drop by and talk to the gatekeeper (who was in charge of the birds) and see what he said, I could scarcely believe my ears. I thanked her most profusely and hung up, grinning as I looked towards the balcony where Apple and Cherry cheeped nonstop.

The chowkidar was friendly and helpful and led us over to the bird cage in the corner of the garden. It was actually more of a fenced in spot with wire mesh, a roof and a door rather than a cage. It housed two ducks and a magnificent rooster. One of the ducks seemed to have laid eggs and was busy nesting. We let Apple and Cherry out of their basket to have a look-see. The rooster was long of leg and fleet of foot, and at least five times the size of Apple (the bigger of the duo.) He seemed a little edgy. I didn’t trust him one bit and kept a close watch, alert for any untoward action. Where the other ducks were least bothered, Rooster paced up and down and all around, his coxcombed head cocked dangerously towards the newcomers, his beady eye flashing. All of a sudden he darted straight at them and Apple and Cherry ran for their lives! It was most melodramatic.

In the end however, the chowkidar reassured us that our duckies would be fine and the rooster wouldn’t hurt them, apparently it just had a bit of an attitude problem. We decided to trust his experience and left them there, but all of the rest of the evening my mind kept going back to Apple and Cherry, wondering if they were alright.

We went back to visit them early the next day, and indeed, not only were they safe and sound, they had taken to their new home quite blithely, with plenty of food and space and even a little pond to mess around in. They didn’t come running to say hello though. Hmph.

Did I mention that Apple was the prettier, more extroverted of the two? Cherry always looked pale in comparison and I had read somewhere that the male of the species was always more striking, so I figured Apple must be male and Cherry female.

A few months went by, during which we were regularly given news of Apple and Cherry’s welfare through my brother in law, who went to drop his little one there every day. When I went to see them again a few months later it was startling to see how much they had grown. But what came as a beautiful surprise was Cherry, who had grown the most iridescent blue and green and sleek dark brown tail and wing feathers. No longer was she a mousy yellow. Apple still had a black patch on his head and looked more or less the same, just bigger feathers. So maybe I got their genders mixed up 🙂

When the bird flu scare hit Karachi, I heard Mrs G sent all the birds away for a while. I lost track of Apple and Cherry after that and never saw them again.

This and the last blog post are dedicated to Graham and Heather. I thought I should write about them (Apple and Cherry, not Graham and Heather!) because Graham commented on Heather’s blog mentioning a duck that tossed a proffered salad leaf back at him. Because of my alacrity, I have been gifted a cyber duck—-> (*)>  for luck! Hope it makes me blog more often 😉


  1. grahamatlinc says:

    Thank you very much for the mention and you don’t have to blog more often, just enjoy it. 🙂

    1. Munira says:

      My pleasure! And yes, you’re absolutely right 🙂

  2. Haha, cute things rob you of your senses. All rational reactions disappear. But that’s the fun of life, eh ? Lovely couple of duck posts.
    The abiding comment that I’ve always heard from Duck Keepers is that they poop EVERYWHERE and CONSTANTLY. Good work moving them on. Neat. 😉

    1. Munira says:

      Good times, good times….. 😛
      Thanks for reading Al 🙂

  3. Love it, Mun. Seems like Sara and I are all too often engaged in animal rescue–just this past week being a case in point. Won’t share the details here. Gonna blog about it later this week, so stay tuned.

    Hugs from Ecuador,

    1. Munira says:

      I’ll look forward to reading about it Kathy! 🙂

  4. Heather says:

    So amusing that you had previously had outlandish chicks! I’m glad your fruity ducks had at least a moderately happy ending. I’ll choose to think they ended up on a nice farm somewhere 😉 Also, thanks for the shout out. I’m happy to read any blogs you write – whenever you’re inspired!

    1. Munira says:

      It’s all amusing IN RETROSPECT! 😛
      You’re welcome for the shout out Heather, though I should have mentioned something more about your blog! I’m afraid my blogging etiquette needs some refinement. But I love having you as a regular reader of my irregular blog 🙂

      1. Heather says:

        Etiquette schmetiquette! A wink and a nudge are plenty 🙂

  5. I would *love* to see little dyed chicks. They sound so adorable! I can totally understand why you would want to take them home.

    1. Munira says:

      Indeed, they are most eye-catching and irresistible. 🙂
      Long time, no see Miranda the minimalist! (Interesting coincidence: I’m currently watching a very funny British sitcom called Miranda. 🙂 )
      Hope you’re well.

  6. So glad you found them a good home 🙂 Enjoyed this little foray into fowl-land 🙂 Looking forward to more such…

    But those dyed chicks…that’s just very weird!

    1. Munira says:

      I was glad AND majorly relieved, yet there was a sense of sadness at parting ways. I felt so responsible for them, but I guess that’s natural! Isn’t it???
      And the dyed chicks….think Pygmy Puffs H! 😀

      1. Absolutely natural M!! Pygmy Puff Chicks – bas ab yahi dekhna baqi tha 😉 😛

  7. satsumaart says:

    Oh what a lovely outcome to this story. 🙂 Wow… Pygmy Puff chicks. Amazing what people will think of.

    I’m also astonished that this competitive-preschool-entry thing is not just an American issue! I was shocked the first time I heard of mothers here putting down their children’s names to wait lists before the kids were even born… and now I learn it isn’t just here! What a world.

    1. Munira says:

      Good grief…I thought it was just a Karachi thing!! Never thought Americans would have such a weird issue! This is crazy 😛
      Glad you agree about the outcome. I was rather pleased myself! 🙂

      1. satsumaart says:

        Oh, Americans do all these kinds of things. ;b This is the country, after all, where someone gets trampled almost every year in the hordes of sale shoppers after the Thanksgiving holiday!

  8. sueslaght says:

    Humans just cant help themselves around small cute living creatures. 🙂

    1. Munira says:

      I can’t help but agree, Sue 🙂

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