It will be a short post. I can't think too much about this without becoming a shivering wreck so typing a lot about it is pretty much out of the question. Sometime in the early morning hours on March 14, 2012 a predator, or several of them, got into our back yard and killed three of our ducks. They were Trout Runner ducks, the only three we had, and among the dead was probably my favorite drake in the whole wide world, TBA, also known as Teebs. He was one of two ducks from my first successful hatch and the younger by about 24 hours. He was my first Trout colored Indian Runner - his hatchmate is a white runner - and is the reason why I fell in love with this obscure (by American standards anyway) color. Of course with my luck the moment I decided I wanted to have more Trouties, Holderreads had discontinued breeding them. Persistence in the art of Google found others who could be persuaded to sell me hatching eggs from their existing flocks and that's how I ended up with Mistress Page and Beatrice (characters from Merry Wives of Windsor and Much Ado About Nothing for those of you who have the slightest interest). The rest of their hatchmates went to other homes since we are a suburban lot and can't have as large a flock as I might otherwise want. Because I was already stocked to the gills with as many birds as we are legally allowed to have, I wasn't saving any eggs for future hatches. And now they're gone. We think it was one or more coyotes who got over our fences but we'll never know for sure. There were three eggs I hadn't washed and put away for future omelets, one from the white runner, one from one of the Trout females, and one unknown so they've been popped into the incubator as a sort of last forlorn hope. It's too soon to really know for sure, but it looks like the Trout/white cross might be developing.
The geese made it through without harm. The two Saxony/Trout cross drakes (Teebs was an ambitious fellow!) are fine. My tiny chicken flock was in a tall dog run so they were all right. And Sir Edmund, TBA's hatchmate and despite the name very much a female, is my only surviving runner duck. She keeps looking for her flock. She keeps looking for Teebs.
I have a line on more hatching eggs. I'm about to spend money we don't have getting more secure runs in place. I keep moving and I keep planning because if I don't, I think about that gallant little bird and I dissolve into tears. He always tried to take such good care of his little flock and I let him down.