Nanaimo man befriends duckling after his dinner unexpectedly hatches
Khim was planning to cook a Cambodian delicacy for dinner — a duck egg. But instead of his culinary plan hatching, his wife discovered a duckling had.
“He was out of the egg,” Leanne says, before showing me a video of the baby bird’s head poking out of the shell. “So it was like, no eating him!”
The couple decided to keep the duck and named him Tiny.
“He was so cute,” Leanne smiles, recalling how the bird would fit in the palm of her hand or perch on top of one her children’s heads.
Her husband Khim woke up at five o’clock every morning to care for Tiny. He would spend three hours with the duckling before work, hand-feeding him a breakfast of bugs on a stick, before allowing him to cuddle near his neck.
“I got to really take care [of him],” Khim smiles. “[Be] gentle [with him].”
One of the best times with the bird was tub time.
“He was so tiny in the bathtub,” Leanne smiles, before showing video of Khim leaning over the tub’s edge protectively watching the duckling swim. “But he got bigger! So his bathtub had to get bigger!”
And when Tiny outgrew the kiddie pool, Khim started taking the duck for rides in the truck. The now full-sized bird rides shotgun on their way to have fun.
“They have a very special relationship. Tiny only wants to be with Khim,” Leanne smiles. “They go fishing on the boat together. They go out on the lake. They go for walks.”
I first noticed the dynamic duo walking along the beach together. Tiny follows Khim everywhere. No matter how many times the man turns, the duck is close behind.
“He’s stuck on me!” Khim smiles, looking down at Tiny. “It feels really good!”
But perhaps the best thing about walking together is how it inevitably turns to talking together.
“He makes this special noise,” Khim says, before imitating the way Tiny quacks at him.
Khim learned to how to respond to Tiny in a way the duck seems to understand and uses the sounds to give directions when the bird gets distracted.
“I go, ‘Quack, quack, quack,’” Khim smiles. “Then he starts coming back.”
And now there’s no turning back to Khim’s original culinary quest.
“No more eating [them]!” Khim smiles. “Because they come out smart like a human do.”
Instead, Khim says his goal is to care for Tiny the best he can. It’s what parents do.
“I’m his mom,” Khim laughs, before Tiny waddles off to their next adventure together. “And his dad too!”
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