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  • Faith

    Meditations from Adopted Ducklings

    June 14, 2012

    One of our hens, Gloria, took it upon herself to sit on four fertilized duck eggs until they hatched. They are now more than twice the size they are in this photo, and she still thinks they’re hers. Gloria is so fiercely protective of her adopted “chicks” that she sustained an eye injury and has bald spots on her head from fighting off other hens who get too close.

    The other day the ducklings went near the edge of the pond, and Gloria put herself between them and the water, clucking until they got her fervent message: “Others may but you may not!”
    How terrible! Stifling your kids like that, I thought about the over-protective mother hen. Someday you’re going to have to let them go. 

    I mentioned my concern to my fowl “expert” daughter Anna, and she explained that until the ducklings’ oil glands mature, their down isn’t waterproof. They’re too young for the water to just “roll off their backs.”
    “Then how do newly hatched ducklings do it?” I asked. “You see them swimming in sweet little lines behind their mothers early on!”
    Anna said that mother ducks’ preen oil rubs off on their ducklings as they brood over them, giving them enough protection to be safe in the water.
    I’m thinking about that this morning after a tiny comment from someone got under my skin. I felt judged, and wanted to fire back a little. Just enough to put that person in his/her proper place.
    Sigh. I need more oil on my feathers. I need to sit under Someone’s wings for a while and let His love rub off on me until these tiny offenses will roll off like…
    …you guessed it.

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