Sunday, March 1, 2015

On the Roller Coaster & Mating season 2003

Many question marks – many worries.
Because Pipke had already so many health problems the previous years,

to make the winters more comfortable for her, my hubby made her a new little cottage. 

This time, it became a luxurious place: one with a heat lamp on the ceiling.

On the floor we installed her food tray and a small bowl with her drinking water.

From the moment it got cold, we switched on the lamp.

 Her new cubby-hole.

You could see she really enjoyed the warmth.  
She always remained underneath it until … one day … one of our neighbors their cat had discovered the warm place. On a very cold freezing morning we found Pipke in her half frozen pond – while the cat slept under the warmth lamp!

The rascal! Why did she not sleep at her home!

Now we had to do something to prevent this. This wasn't the cat's sleeping place but Pipke's. So we took action.

The very same day we went to the garden center to buy nets (those that are used for covering fruit trees) and we covered the whole pen with it.

Now she could be at ease and sleep where she wanted.

It was now end December 2002, and for the third year in a row we were visiting the vet again.

He still couldn't find out what caused her problem.

We asked him: “what do you think will happen in the next mating season” and he told us: “that she would no longer lay eggs”. The hormonal treatment had made this irreversible.

Actually – we were very surprised to hear this!

We were in the assumption that the injection was only effective for one year.

In fact, we'd misunderstood this and only now we realized that she would never lay eggs again.

We were now very worried. How would she behave now that she couldn't lay eggs anymore.
We hoped this would not change her attitude towards us. 
Mating Season 2003.

It was Spring now and although, this new season, her situation was completely different, we were very surprised to discover that it seemed as if nothing had changed.
Already from the beginning – she started to make nests like she had done before. She wanted to mate, so – I had to cuddle her a lot.
We were wondering if an egg would follow now.
And just like all the years before, we made nests together and she went to breed on it.
We made many nests – and while she sat there brooding – you could hear her chatter away. It seemed as if she was trying to lay an egg – we even saw her pressing.

Our heart ached when we saw and heard this. She tried so hard – but without result.
Afterwards, you could see that she'd become really disappointed and even discouraged.
I tried to comfort her then. I spent as much time with her as I could – but at the end of this mating season she really became almost apathetic.
Ho … we felt so guilty now. We almost regretted that we had agreed with the hormonal treatment.
Now she was no longer “exhausted” from laying eggs – but she'd become “frustrated” that she could no longer lay eggs.
On top of that there was also the moult who followed each time shortly afterwards the breeding season. 

Moult: tough time!
It came all in such a short  period of time.
We couldn't have foreseen this. We had only done what we thought would be in her interest!
That August … the same thing happened ... and for the rest of her life – August and January - would become very stressful months for the three of us.
Every time around the same date – the same thing happened, we almost lost count of the visits to the vet, but we could follow it very well with the vet's bills.

Better times 
When (a few years later) acquaintances  of ours heard the amount of the bills they said: “but - you could have made a beautiful journey with that sum!” Oh, they would rather have done that, than having to spend so much money on a silly duck!
We didn't react to this comment – we said nothing – we just had our own thoughts about it!
Of course they didn't know Pipke, and surely, not everyone loves animals as much as we do.
Now I know one thing: the attitude of people towards animals shows “who” they really are, and believe me, there exist very selfish people.
In this respect James Herriot could not put it more beautiful and better into words. I quote:
 “If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of people”.

With these words he hit the nail on the head!

(From now on, I am going to try to skip as much as possible all the next illness periods, I don't want them to predominate her story. Maybe it was already too much. There were also good periods and happy times in her life.)

Luckily Pipke was healthy again, but then - suddenly a new problem of a whole different magnitude appeared on the horizon.
It became one of an enormous magnitude, it would have the whole world in its grip.
What that problem was I will tell you in the next chapter. 
Then I continue with: A Dangerous Invasion on Top.

Thanks for reading     

Bye, bye!

Click on this link above please?


  1. Oh, I am so happy to come here and find a new post! The story is becoming sadder and sadder; as do all stories about greatly-loved animals, for we who tell the stories have inevitably outlived our much-loved pets. -sigh- Anyway, thank you for telling the story, regardless of how sad! I think of Pipke everytime I see ducks or geese or any of the other waterfowl which are frequently seen around where I live. What fascinating creatures!

  2. Hi Terry, glad to see you here again!:)
    I have been 'very busy' but it doesn't mean that I don't think of Pipke every day!
    She's always on my mind. I'm sure it will not surprise you but, you are not the only one who's touched by Pipke's story!
    I've added especially for you a PS in the '*post above' these comments.
    Look what an influence Pipke has. Click *there on the link entitled: 'message to Terry'. It will reveal what I mean with 'influence'.
    Thanks to my blogger friend Ruxandra, other waterfowl will get help when they are in distress.
    It gives me solace!
    Thanks Terry for keeping Pipke in mind, it means a lot to me!
    Kindest regards

    PS: although it will be less frequent, I will go on with Pipke's story!

  3. Very, very cool, indeed! I think that learning more intimately about our fellow creatures (even if we do not have "personal" experiences with them, as most of us "city-dwellers" cannot have) helps us to realise our responsibility to try to care for the other members of the planet. So, your blog, Fran, is important in that way, too.
    Take care.

  4. She was your baby... How tense the time of her illness must have been for you

  5. That will remain on my mind forever! You can't imagine what a fearfull period that was!
    In such period the outer world didn't exist. Not one minute Pipke was out my mind.