I've been keeping a close eye on gentle Mr Goose. He's not been right.
So am delighted to discover that he'd just been dejected. Our young Appleyard X drake had chased Mr Goose away from the group, leaving Mr G to sit around alone clearly feeling sorry for himself. Until then he had led the ducks on the daily progression around the grounds. Mr G, I should mention, due to an early identity crisis, has always thought of himself as a duck - well a drake I suppose. But married life has never been for him. Which has made him perfect for us. This new drake, less so I think......... We'll see.
Mr G is a sensitive creature with a long history of caring for the young, especially young birds. In the past - well over 10 years ago - he took up arms against a a predatory young "beast of Exmoor". Earlier that morning a neighbour had climbed up to the top of his barn to throw down a bale when he disturbed an animal that he described as small, though larger and different from a domestic cat: hooked end of tail, round ears, different gait, but it was all so unexpected and quick that he/we really couldn't be sure. Whatever it was, Mr G had to defend the hens against it, but not before a few were lost. He sustained a substantial wound to his wing pit when he had clearly made a charge against the attacker. The wound healed well in the three days or so you would expect, but Mr G was burdened by what had happened and low for weeks afterwards.
But he recovered well from that ordeal and is now recovering from the latest turn around. While he was lonesome recently he took comfort from sitting next to a pet rabbit in an outdoor pen. Now our ancient Aylesbury duck has returned to his side he's feeling more himself so is happy to knock on a cottage door where he knows some fresh soft bread will be waiting for him!! Happy days.