Once the ducks grew to full size, I forgot they’re really still very young. We’ve had them for just over two months, and they’re still three to five months from producing a single egg. They’re sort of like Tom Hanks in Big: appearing full-grown, but actually nowhere near mature.
So while they’ve avoided orthodontia and Clearasil, there are some tell-tale signs that their duck bodies are… changing. Their sweet and constant peeping has turned into full-on quacking, which initially scared all of them when one would let loose, unexpectedly, with a deep-throated adult quack. And lately their sleek chests, which seemed fully covered in adult feathers, have started looking mangy, as what I believe to be their underlying fluffy baby feathers have started working their way through the adult feathers and onto our lawn.
They spend an inordinate amount of time every night grooming themselves, after which our lawn looks like there was a cougar attack on a chicken ranch.
Of course, I’m guessing that they’re just molting during their awkward teenage years. My duck books say nothing about this teenage molting. Just like the books made no mention of why, when their wing feathers were coming in, both Sophia and Diamond bled from their feather tips down their sides in a Walking Dead display that made me, for the first time, question the wisdom of backyard ducks.
I’m bracing myself for them to ask for the car keys.