This morning, we found that our 10 year old duckie, “Dawn”, had peacefully passed away in her sleep.  What a lucky duck she was. She’s been with us for a decade and even laid eggs last summer for us. Because she was my buddy for so long it’s particularly hard. It feels like it’s the passing of an era for me — personally.

I’m grateful for having learned from her — one of the first pair of Urban Homestead duckies – and for having the opportunity to share my knowledge of ducks from her with others. She has kept every single batch of young ducks in line and I’m going to miss her “grandma ways” when I get new ducks soon.

For those of you who have met her or have received advice from me about ducks, I hope you have benefited from her life as well.

Although she was gimpy and gray-feathered towards the end, she still was right in the midst of things — chasing the pitchfork as we dug up worms.

It was so reassuring to see her — a constant and long-time presence in the coop. She was goofy, talkative, silly, demanding and so very serene all at the same time.

Sometime ago, I came across this poem and I remembered it today because although the words may seem anthropomorphic, you have to realize that there is God in everything and you just have to see and recognize it. There is always something to learn from every single part of creation.

Dawn was such a longtime presence… she was there as the Urban Homestead grew and changed, as people came to visit, as the media came and went and as I changed, learned, and dealt with the changes around me.

No matter how often people commented with either favor or with hate and vileness about our so-called “fame”, Dawn was there to cock an eye at me with a permanently silly grin and bring me back to the joy and innocence of the animals.

With a bit of luck
A duck
Will come into your life.
When you are at the peak
Of your great powers
And your achievement towers
Like a smoking chimney stack.
There’ll be a quack,
And right at your feet,
A little duck will stand.
She will take you by the hand
And lead you,
Like a child with no defense;
She will lead you
Into wisdom, joy and innocence.
That little duck.
We wish you luck.
~ Michael Leunig


  1. Heather says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. It is so difficult losing a member of your family, whether human, feathered, furry, or fishy. Even if you know it’s coming, there is that empty gaping hole that only time will ease. You have my sympathy and shared sorrow.

  2. Lisa Burbank says:

    I am so sorry to hear about Dawn. I have 4 Khaki Campbells because of Dawn & Co., having fallen in love with them through your website and “Homegrown Revolution” DVD. I wouldn’t trade Duncan, Dweezil, Dixie or Delilah for anything. Again, so very sorry for your loss! Animals bless our lives so profoundly; it hurts to lose a beloved family member like that. I am glad, at least, that her passing was one of peace. God bless you & yours!

  3. Jackie says:

    Aahhh, she was so pretty. She’ll always hold a special place in your heart.

  4. Joy Giles says:

    Our feathered and furry friends capture a piece of our heart when we get them and take it with them when they go. Fond memories and funny stories help ease the pain and fill the hole they leave behind.

  5. V Schoenwald says:

    My most sincere thoughts are with all of you. It is hard, no matter what species or in what body each creature take the form of.
    May healing thoughts and healing enter your homestead and bring peace to all.

  6. Ann Marie @ CHEESESLAVE says:

    Awww she was so cute! I’m sorry for your loss.

  7. Chris V says:

    Jordanne & Dervaes Family ~~ My heartfelt condolences. Your post and poem are just so eloquently stated. Any animal that is part of your beautiful homestead is just so blessed, but I know they are so blessed to have you all to care for and love them. My words just do not seem adequate, but ~ again ~ my heart is with you.

  8. Karen says:

    I am so sorry about Dawn. What a beautiful duck. You gave her a wonderful life and spoiled her with love and attention. I have learned so much from you and my ducks are happy and healthy because of your generous blogging. Thank you for sharing your experiences and her life with us.

  9. Victoria says:

    I am so sorry to hear of the passing of your Dawn. It is very hard to lose a beloved animal. She had a wonderful duck life with your family and I am sure she had a lifetime of happy duck moments and making wonderful memories with you.

    I know exactly how you feel because we lost our beloved chicken, Dottie, last summer at age 11. Sometimes it just seems like they will be there forever. Dottie was a silver spangled hamburg and wasn’t particularly friendly or a good layer. She was small, but was never afraid of the bigger hens and they all seemed to know she was the boss. Each summer would lay about 2 or 3 eggs per week, up until last summer. Of course she would take about 8 months off from laying each year, but that was ok. It was a shock to go out one morning and find her gone. But she had a good long chicken life and as a chicken keeper, her longevity proved that we did something right. Same with your dear Dawn. I hope your memories will provide you comfort.

  10. Sarah says:

    I’m sorry to hear you lost a good animal and pal. The poem you posted was very sweet and vey true. With all animals we care for really. It seems that when you least expect it and when you most need it, your animals are right there. Completely unassuming, always forgiving, and they always give you that look as if to say ‘I know’. It’s weird, but true animal husbandry can change you. Here’s to all the Dawns out there!

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