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ADOLESCENCE IN THE DUCK WORLD

14 Aug
They are now 3 months old and there have been significant changes in their social development. The presence of their mother is less apparent and recently they decided to invite ducklings from another brood to eat with them. ‘Our ‘ ducklings recognise the call of ‘Quack,quack’ human sound and the tapping of the tin but the new brood don’t know the call.
 
 Our family came up the usual way waddling up the bank to the feeding dish and they are unperturbed by the clanking sound of their beaks against the  dish but the newcomers are wary and anxious but typical of adolescents they deal with this awkwardly either by timidly staying clear or out and out bullying so with head down one of the newcomers charges at our ducks and tries to prevent them feeding.one poor duck has been wounded in the process and is now limping. It has eased the situation by putting out another dish!
It was such a surprise to see this behaviour.
They are not sure and neither are we  if they are male or female as they apparently don’t develop their distinctive plumage until the breeding season. They don’t communicate in a friendly way infact they bully to get their own way.
Adolescence is tough and a hard transition process.
Bullying has been something that has been highlighted recent weeks and the exposure of cyber bullying is proving to be a new concern
If you want to learn more about how to recognise or deal with bullying you may find either of these websites useful

imagehttp://www.bullying.co.uk/
http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/bullying/pages/bullyinghome.aspx?WT.mc_id=101001

Those of us who have read ‘Lord of the Flies’ remember the account of bullying which makes us realise that unfortunately it can be part of society unless we can find ways of identifying it and finding ways to prevent it occurring.

One of my memories of being a young teenager is when I was practising for my Bronze Medallion Life Saving in my early teens and I was unfortunate to be partnered with a 13 year old boy who rescued me  by an unsophisticated stranglehold approach, got me out of the pool  as if landing a large fish and grunted something that I wanted to believe was ‘are you all right’ but was probably something else! At this age social interactions are often awkward and clumsy.

13year old boys particularly are confused about their development and sometimes they turn up in surgery usually with their mothers, unable to get a word out and the look on their face that tells me what’s coming.
They are developing breasts, have a flabby belly and their penis is the size of a party sausage and  they are not sure what is happening and they look petrified wondering what an earth is going on.
Their look of relief when I explain it is normal and  related to the production of male hormone.
Before they go I manage to get something out of them by asking which football team they support, something which makes them look up and respond by saying which team they support or how they hate football!
But now I see them years later and see them  growing into well balanced, good looking individuals with a normal physique.
Adolescence is tough and it seems that in the duck world it is no different…
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