A few weeks ago, I was really excited when someone posted a photo of their baby ducklings on Facebook. It suddenly occurred to me that I’d always wanted ducklings. I hadn’t even realized how much I wanted them until I saw it was an option. At first, my husband was against bringing baby ducks into the house. We already have three kids, a dog and a hamster who is constantly escaping from his crate. But let’s be honest: weeks of social distancing left my family in need of something to be excited about. These ducks were it.
I contacted Karen at CritterVisits.ca. While she usually provides hatchlings and baby ducks to schools for educational purposes, regular families like mine began contacting her with requests to foster ducklings during COVID. She’s been busy ever since, and it’s no wonder: Karen says that caring for ducks is therapeutic, and not just for little kids, but for teens suffering from depression during COVID, too. We were sold—especially since you’re only allowed to keep the ducks for a few weeks before returning them to the farm. (Apparently, it’s not legal to have pet ducks if you live in a city.)
Before I knew it, the boys and I were driving home from Karen’s farm with a cardboard box and three day-old ducklings huddling together inside. They were fluffy and cute and light as cotton balls. We named them Larry David, Leon and Oreo (my step-daughter isn’t a Curb Your Enthusiasm fan, I guess!). Even our dog seemed to like them and adjusted pretty quickly to the tropical chirping that now fills the house.
The ducklings don’t require much maintenance—just a box with bedding, duck food, water, and a heat lamp. Karen provided us with everything we’d need to foster the ducks, plus a book of instructions. The kids are thrilled with their little chirping friends. We hold them, let them swim in the bath and run around on the floor. We even dressed one up as Little Red Riding Hood for a school project. My step-daughter holds them and talks to them for hours. They’ve also been a great talking point on Zoom calls. The kids show off their ducks to their friends and classmates online. Several of their friends have called Karen, too. I’m happy these little chirping cherubs can bring joy to other kids, too.
Now it’s almost time for the ducks to go home. The house will seem quiet without their happy chatter, but they belong on a farm, not in our bathtub. When we look back on this time and remember how hard it was to be in the house, I hope the kids remember our ducklings and realize these many weeks of confinement had some highlights, too.
Sounds like something you’re interested in too? Learn more and apply for a foster booking here.