I used to worry about my mismatched flock of geese and ducks, especially during the colder months. I can't count the times I'd rush out with fresh warm water and scoops of high protein feed because I feared they were in desperate need of it. They weren't. They didn't appreciate it at all, and even went as far as actually turning up their noses...bills, I mean.
After freezing my tail off time after time all because I was afraid their tails would do just that, I finally realized they were fine without me. In fact, they seemed to like the winter weather! They'd rather bury their beaks deep into the snow drifts and root around for a frozen blade of grass than eat the bowl of cracked corn staring them in the face. They'd happily gobble down big gulps of icy snow instead of dipping their beaks in the bucket of warm water I religiously hauled out every day. And their shelter, which I'd carefully wrapped with insulating Mylar to trap heat and block drafts? They wouldn't even set one webbed foot in it. To my amazement, they preferred to spend the nights huddled together beneath the big maple tree, rejecting the nice straw beds I prepared for them and instead nestling down amongst the tangled, snow covered roots.
I was confused at first at this behavior, and a little bit frustrated. For goodness sakes, if somebody babied me like that, I'd eat it up! But I guess that's what separates the birds from the broads. They are, after all, farm animals. (I'm not, just to clarify. No matter what you've heard.) And no matter how domesticated they are, they still have that natural survival instinct. They are basically self-sustaining creatures, equipped with an unbreakable survival-of-the-species urge that surpasses any human effort I can dish out. They automatically know what they need, and they prefer to find it themselves...without any help from me.
Once I finally accepted this fact, I was thrilled. I love anything low-maintenance, and that was exactly what these birds were. Far be it for me to argue! Especially when the wind chill is below zero, several inches of snow are covering the ground, and the sun seems to be hiding out on the other side of the world. In situations like this, I'll just stay inside...thank you very much. And Will and I will keep right on peeking out the window. On our side of the glass, it's nice and cozy. On their side, not so much. But still, everybody is happy and the world is a better place. At least on this little snow-covered homestead!
P.S. And I think the snow is pretty...unless it's yellow. Happy Winter!