Thelma’s gone, and Louise is looking for her. Thelma and Louise, two nearly 15 year old Indian Runner ducks that were the start of my runner flock. This is Thelma, taken two springs ago. I’ve been expecting her death, watching for it, looking out the window to check on her often. Thelma and Louise seldom mingle with the khaki campbell ducks. They live, eat and drink together, and it ends there. They seldom go to the pond, forage for grubs, bugs and grasshoppers, or wander to the brush pile to nap together. Lately they’ve been further apart as the runners moved closer to the old hen house to sleep in the sun. They moved further apart as Thelma got weaker, no longer snuggled up side by side but never more than a few feet apart.

Indian Runner Duck, old ducks, how long do runner ducks live
RIP Thelma

All of the birds were here when we left for a ride Saturday afternoon. I put them in when we got home, still light out and easy to see, and did a quick head count. Two barred rocks, four red hens, five buff silkies, Sweetie the white silkie, one white duck. One white duck. Thelma is gone.

Looking for Signs

We looked all over. There isn’t any blood or runner feathers anywhere. No bobcat or coyote tracks to be found. There aren’t any duck prints leading to or from the coop. She didn’t get into the old pen and slip into the old coop through the hole in the bird door. There haven’t been any birds of prey around except for barred owls, and I know what they leave behind when they’ve killed one of the birds. The hawks haven’t come back yet and the bald eagles haven’t been here for months. She’s. just. gone. I suspect she’s under the hen house. Steve had to get her out of there one night last week when she went under and couldn’t find the high spot to get back out. If that’s where she is, we can’t see her.

Looking for Thelma

Louise quacked loudly and waddled around the hen house in search of Thelma on Saturday night. I heard her off and on all night. Early Sunday morning she stood in the open door, looking all around and quacking, first quietly and then loud and long. Her sister did not answer.

It’s Monday and I’m still looking out the window, checking on Louise, hoping Thelma as appears as mysteriously as she disappeared. Louise is quiet again and sticking close to the khakis and chickens, no longer needed to keep Thelma company in her last days.