Sadie, the Muscovy Houdini Duck

This is Sadie. She is a Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata). I have written the binomial name in italics but I can’t remember if I did them correctly. Her species is tropical in habitat. She is very social & likes to toss her head back and clap/click her bill when we talk. She loves grubs, snails & bread for treats. She broke her leg & was given to Karin for healing which worked because she can now walk. Karin has clipped her wings a few weeks ago so that she can’t fly. I have worked on getting Sadie’s trust (after letting her loose & chasing her) and she now lets me pick her up.

Lately Sadie has taken to flying out of her pen (enough of her feathers have grown back, length-wise, to hold her weight) and has shown up under Karin’s porch looking for grubs and worms. One day she flew into the chicken’s compound which set off the head rooster but Sadie staked out her side and didn’t mingle and the rooster let her stay. Then Sadie got bold and walked all around the fence pulling grubs out between the slats, wherever she went the chickens stayed a couple steps ahead – they didn’t know what she was looking for but they intended on being there first!

Sadie doesn’t ever exchange any conversation with Karin’s calico ducks, she simply won’t stay in the duck pen with them and makes quite a racket to be let out. I don’t think that she thinks of herself as a duck. Sadie lays an egg a day but she is NOT a duck thank you very much. Perhaps she thinks she is a chicken – I have heard her softly clicking her beak making soft sounds like a chicken as she paces around the porch. But Karin’s chickens are imported French chickens and don’t parle-duck.

This morning, as I was contemplating breakfast (Cheerios or Sadie-scrambled-egg) Karin came into her kitchen looking completely frazzled. “Sadie’s gone! Her pen door was wide open and she is gone! I think a raccoon got her. Help me look for her.” “I checked on her this morning and she was in her cage pacing back and forth,” I said, looking out the window at her empty pen. “Don’t raccoons sleep during the day?” I went out to look for Sadie with Karin, I went around the house one way and Karin went around the other … when we met up I told Karin I hadn’t seen Sadie, she said, “What do you mean? Sadie is walking right behind you!” I turned around and sure enough, Sadie was looking for the lost duck, too!

Sadie represents as an independent lady duck. She has excellent eye sight and a high level of intelligence. She nips Nikki when he gets too close and the the rabbit keeps coming back for repeat nips. Sadie enjoys sitting on a person’s lap being patted, and she purrs (whoever heard of ducks purring like cats?). Plus Sadie has developed a new talent: picking locks! She can get out of her cage in a Houdini-minute! No one has witnessed this feat but the fact that her cage is empty is proof enough!

When Karin approached Sadie, Sadie scooted under Karin’s tenant’s porch and made a nest against the cellar wall. “I think that she plans on laying an egg, maybe she wants it dark and quiet, or maybe she is rooting for grubs,” it wasn’t too off the mark to think this way since I’ve only acquired my duck knowledge off the web.

Karin crawled under the porch and got Sadie out, who objected strenuously about it all the way. “I’ll make her a better pen tomorrow, I have my grad course work to finish today,” Karin explained. So now Sadie is pacing in her pen, back and forth, calculating her odds of breaking out again, getting rid of the shackles that restrain her freedom. I think that she’d be better off with the crazy chickens – at lease she can speak their language but they see her as a bossy duck and to them ducks and chickens don’t mix.

And here I was thinking that Karin’s Vermont life was bucolic.

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