The Personality Series: Mr. Clyde



His name is Mr. Clyde. I call him a Doodle along with the rest of The Doodles, which is a generic term for duckies. Mr. Clyde arrived in a box with seven other eggs, a bid I won last winter on eggbid.com for six beautiful black Indian runner eggs (breeders usually include a couple of extra eggs to improve hatch rate). Clyde was born about a day and a half before Ming, who was also part of this clutch, incubated beneath a broody hen in my back room. Clyde pipped the egg with his egg tooth and i was surprised to see a black bill with a yellow pattern on it that reminded me of the markings on a paint pony. He was a wet little guy and once he emerged fully from the egg, I could see his orange and black feet. Another egg hatched, but the little one died. It was different than Clyde, all black, smaller, just like Little Ming, who was born soon after. From the beginning, however, I was confused about Clyde's markings--those orange and black feet and bill and the large white spot on his chest. He was spunky, pecking at Ming and darting back and forth across the living room floor, nibbling the video camera.

     Ming and Clyde have been best buddies, or brothers, since hatching. Whenever there is something up, Ming runs up to Clyde and jabbers to him--as if Clyde can fix the situation. Clyde was named by my sister, Brianna. When she first saw him she said, "Promise me you'll name this one Clyde." and so he came by his name. Unlike Ming, Clyde has never had any unfortunate things happen to him and he's never been an underdog. He's always been confident and, as I soon found out, is a lady killer.
     My friend M. brought his trio of saxony ducks over for a night. M.'s drake is huge--far bigger than Augie and definitely massive compared to Clyde. The pullet in M.'s trio began making eyes at Clyde, who returned the flirtations. She would flirt with Clyde, he'd inch close to her, both their heads bobbing, and then M.'s huge drake would notice. Suddenly, the pullet would wax cold and shun Clyde, turning her attention to her own drake. She would begin roughing Clyde up as if he were harassing her. Then, they'd put distance between them and it would all start over again.

     The runner and Cayuga ladies also like Clyde. I believe he has good genetics, because, as I had suspected, he's half wild mallard. This happened because his mother, as reported by his breeder back in Oklahoma, was not returning from the pond to be put away for the night, so the breeder had to round her up. Well, Clyde's mother was out later and later and was finally discovered with a mallard beau. This explains Clyde's distinct markings and low-rider duck style--which is quite unlike Ming's tall Indian runner posture.
     Everyone is quick to exclaim, "That one is beautiful!" when they see Clyde. The feathers behind his legs have the penciled pattern common to mallards. He also has a deep red brown splashed about his body, almost as if he is rusted or frosted in mahogany. He has a white patch on his chest, white wing tips and a little white around his bill and eyes. And he has the most brilliant green head of all of my ducks. There are feathers on his back that are a gorgeous hue of grayish brown.

     Clyde has always been mild-mannered and calm. He has been on several road trips, including a Memorial Day camping trip to a remote campsite with a creek where he swam with Lucy, Ming, and Clyde. He has also, when he was only a month old, been on a road trip to Kalispell, Montana where he, Lucy, Ming, and Augie spent time eating dandelions in my cousin S.'s yard and accompanying me on a drive around Lakes McDonald and Five. They went on a second trip to Kalispell for the weekend of the fourth of July.

Ming and Clyde in Montana. April, 2009.

Clyde enjoys dabbling in mud.

Clyde and Ming are like siblings (they came from the same farm in Oklahoma).





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